Alair: Where Are They Now?
Alair: Where Are They Now?

A year later, the Client Control method remains the brand’s biggest differentiation point.

You’ve probably heard the adage: as the housing market goes, so goes the economy. For rapidly growing home and commercial building franchise Alair, both are going toward new heights.

Last year, when Alair was named in 1851’s 25 Brands to Watch List, the homebuilder had recently crossed the border, aiming to leverage its booming growth in its native Canada and take advantage of the expansion opportunities presented by the fragmented U.S. housing market. One year later, those efforts in America are already paying big dividends.

Since implementing aggressive American development plans in late 2015, Alair has quickly added to the success it built in its initial U.S. foray in the Phoenix market last year, adding offices in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and additional offices in Arizona in just the last 12 months. The brand also recently launched a new recruiting team focused on using Alair’s proprietary Client Control™ method to convert already successful local contractors to join the brand.

“We have seen great success by focusing on those conversions with those who already have established themselves as quality contractors in the markets they serve, and we think that’s the most effective way Alair should be growing,” said the brand’s chief development officer Rob Cecil. “That could even be in adjacent industries like architecture. Combining that experience with the credibility of Alair and the proven success of our business model is a winning combination that is helping us to already surpass our develop goals going into 2017.”

Alair, which marked an impressive greater than 100 percent increase in its year over year top line revenue in 2016, is poised for an even larger surge of U.S. growth in 2017, with plans to have at least 50 open American offices by the end of the year and 100 open locations by the end of 2018.

“That’s aggressive for a brand that has 82 offices open now, but that’s how fast we are seeing these come in,” Cecil said. “We are seeing extremely rapid growth on both sides of the border driving this. In Canada, the explosion of interest and projects in Greater Toronto alone is staggering. We’re seeing the same in Vancouver, Winnipeg and many other major metro areas. Many of our existing regional partners have already committed to adding new offices in 2017 in order to take advantage of the building boom we’re seeing.”

As was the case when Alair made 1851’s 25 Brands to Watch list in 2015, the Client Control method remains the brand’s biggest differentiation point. Through a combination of transparency, proprietary design software and unparalleled communication, the brand empowers clients to control each and every stage of the construction process, providing data down to the cost mark-up level that competitors simply choose not to share.

“We have seen the proof that putting the power into the hands of our clients ultimately makes for a stronger brand connection. Those connections are critical, because the reality is: there is pent up demand for housing across the country. Millennials are buying and building much more than people predicted they would. They’re buying old and immediately renovating, so that’s providing a huge opportunity for growth in the renovation market. It’s supply and demand, particularly in urban markets, and we are tapping into that massive growth in a way no one else is,” Cecil said.

Cecil also points to a recovering U.S. housing market as reason for even stronger optimism for the year ahead.

The S&P Homebuilders ETF has been on a steady rise since a mid-November report showed U.S. housing starts surged to a nine-year high in October. Housing starts, which measure the number of new residential construction projects in a reported month, are a leading indicator of strength in the housing sector, and October estimates thoroughly beat expectations, landing more than 25 percent above the September measurement and 23 percent above October 2015's rate.

“The market itself is growing, and those who are ready to take advantage of that are primed for quick success,” Cecil said. “Alair is in the perfect position to grab new market share, and make 2017 the best year yet in our push to build new growth.”