Looking for a way to promote your remodeling skills and expand your business? Simply enter the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s annual Contractor of the Year Awards contest. NARI’s annual CotY Awards are a perfect way to market the hard work that you as a remodeler put into all of your projects.
Not only will NARI issue press releases announcing regional and national winners to publications nationwide, but the organization also hosts an “Evening of Excellence” recognition gala annually to highlight all the winners. While at the event, attendees can take the opportunity to network with others in the industry and see some great remodeling work get the recognition it deserves. CotY winners can take that free press one step further by touting their award winning projects to current and existing clients, and through their own marketing efforts. Taking the time to enter the CotY Awards competition also helps remodelers reevaluate jobs completed, and find ways to improve their own internal processes for remodeling projects moving forward.
NARI members from across the United States vie for the coveted CotY Awards annually by completing NARI’s online entry forms and submitting presentations of their best projects. To help you get a leg up in the competition, the following tips will help you create an award-winning presentation for one of the multiple CotY categories that remodelers can enter.
One never knows which remodeling project will be worthy of submission for the annual CotY Awards until it’s finished. Because of this, it’s imperative to take before and after pictures of every single remodeling project that your company undertakes.
It’s also a good idea to keep track of and organize all notes taken before, during and upon completion of a renovation so that you have something to refer to when explaining your project in your presentation.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: PERSPECTIVE
The adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” holds true for an award winning CotY presentation. Good presentations include before and after images taken ideally at the same angle so that judges can better visualize the transformation. Some projects are completed within the same footprint and it’s easy to determine what was done. Other projects include the removal of walls and windows to open the space, moving rooms to a different space, or the building of an addition. This changes the whole look of the space. Transformations shown from the same angle also add to the wow factor of the final product.
Of course standalone shots of the final project at different angles are welcome, but remember your presentation has a 30-page limit. In addition, we recommend that you only include images of the renovation in progress if the pictures can give judges a better perspective on the transformation.
Take it one step further and don’t include images of people in your before and after shots. They are an unnecessary distraction from the project you are touting. In addition, make sure your company’s name or your clients’ names are not visible in the images because that information is withheld from the judges during the judging process.
Make sure to save the images as high resolution files. At a minimum, images should be at least 300 dpi and 4”x6” in size (1200 x 1800 pixels) and no larger than 12 MB each. Since you can only upload up to 20 images total for the project (these images are for NARI use), select images that enhance the project entry. Blurry, low resolution images do not help create an award winning entry.
THE WRITING: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Entries should be written in a clear and concise manner. When writing about the project, avoid using jargon and simply state what was done to complete the renovation. In addition, include captions with your before and after images that describe what’s being looked at. For example, in one of last year’s projects, a remodeler removed a chimney in a family room and put the new kitchen in that space. The remodeler provided captions that helped guide the judges through the before and after shots to better explain this dramatic change.
ENTRY FORMS AND GUIDELINES: FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS!
Hundreds of remodelers from across the United States enter NARI’s annual CotY competition, so you don’t want your project to be eliminated because you failed to follow the rules. Entrants must fill out an online application that requires information such as signed photo release forms and contractor agreements, and team member information if applicable. CotY’s online form also requires entrants to upload up to 20 high resolution before and after images and a PDF of the presentation itself. Your presentation must be submitted in PDF format and can be up to 30 pages long. This presentation is your opportunity to showcase all the great work you’ve done on the project you’re entering and, incidentally, it’s the only document that the judges will see.
When creating your presentation, make sure to include the following elements:
- A project statement
- Before and After images with descriptive text or captions
- Drawings or renderings
These elements will help the judges analyze and understand the details of the transformation. In addition, give yourself enough time to complete a rough draft of the presentation so you can step away from it for a few days and review and finalize it with a fresh set of eyes. The end result could be a CotY Award for your business!