Stefan Dahlen credits his father with instilling the work ethic that has allowed he and his brothers to build Siding Vancouver into a successful company. While the three brothers work together now, Stefan initially started the company on his own while his siblings were still working for their father. He was twenty years old in 2005 when he started working for himself, initially as a subcontractor. He was working seven days a week, he didn’t have time for his family or much else outside of work, but he was successful. Within two years, he had moved into doing his own contracts. At that point, he had built up an inventory of tools, equipment, and, perhaps most importantly – knowledge.
For the next three years he ran his own small company, then in 2008 he was joined by his brother Chris. Chris took over the day-today operations of the business, freeing up Stefan to focus on sales and marketing. The business continued to grow, especially after Stefan purchased the domain “www.sidingvancouver.com,” a move he credits for increased sales and visibility in the market. Stefan focused heavily on developing the website, especially on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and it paid off. Shortly after, the third Dahlen brother had joined Siding Vancouver. Martin, the eldest of the brothers, brought with him experience in managing crews, a skill needed as their staff began to grow.
Siding Vancouver doesn’t use subcontractors. Instead, all of their workers are actual employees of the company. When they hire, Stefan says they aren’t looking for people to just do siding. They are looking for people who want a career, who are diverse carpenters, willing to learn all aspects of the trade. As a result, the company has a strong workforce and can offer a diverse range of exterior work.
While Siding Vancouver focuses mainly on single-family exterior renovations, they provide a variety of options and styles for siding. They do fiber cement (James Hardie), vinyl, longboard, stone veneer, and much more. They’ve replaced everything from old vinyl to wooden siding, and are willing to work with homeowners to figure out exactly what works best for their property. One tool that has been extremely helpful for Siding Vancouver in working with clients is digital rendering software. The software allows Siding Vancouver to take some ideas, enter them into a program, and show homeowners what the outcome will look like before they commit to any work. This gives them the opportunity to change materials or styles before dropping tens of thousands of dollars on a home renovation.
Siding Vancouver’s name may not say it, but the company’s work does extend well beyond just siding. They do a full range of exterior renovation, including roofing, gutters, windows, and even deck rebuilding.
The business model has proven successful. Siding Vancouver has the largest market share in the region, and is poised to expand even further. Stefan says that the home exterior market is a large market with endless opportunity. As the housing market in Vancouver continues to explode, preventing many families from buying new homes, many people are renovating their current residences, bringing more business into the renovation industry.
Though Stefan sees plenty of opportunity for growth, he doesn’t have any formal plans for the company’s expansion in the immediate future. Right now, they are focusing on the systems they have in place and providing the best quality product to their customers. Eventually, though, Stefan would like to see the company expand nationwide. If their regional accolades are any indication, they certainly have the product, knowledge and service to operate nationwide.
Siding Vancouver has won the Homestars.com Best Of Award for both 2016 and 2017, and hopes to continue that streak well into the future. They’ve also been honored as a James Hardie Preferred Remodeler, increasing their visibility and credibility with potential clients.
James Hardie is a major manufacturer that Siding Vancouver has a strong relationship with. Stefan says an important part of the construction and contracting industry is maintaining and valuing all relationships. At Siding Vancouver, they are always working to engage and strengthen relationships with manufacturers and suppliers, a practice that has helped build their success.
With employees and a goal of nationwide expansion, Siding Vancouver has come a long way in its twelve years in business. No longer is it just Stefan, working seven days a week with no time for his family. Now, it’s a full-fledged business and all three brothers can afford to take time off and have weekends with their families. That, to Stefan, is an incredibly important part of their growth. Siding Vancouver evolved into a family business, and it remains a family affair, but it is poised for strong growth thanks to the work ethic instilled in the Dahlen brothers by their father.