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Lights back on in the Santa Clarita home improvement industry

Deckers Electric says business returning slowly, steadily as homeowners begin to reinvest in homes

Posted: May 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Randy Deckers, left, and son James Deckers of Deckers Electric assemble a light fixture in a Saugus home. Strong gains in homeowner remodeling are expected this year.

 

Operating Santa Clarita-based Deckers Electric since 1999, Owner Randy Deckers said business is probably up 10 percent this year.

As home prices increased, raising equity levels in homes, homeowners are slowly beginning to reinvest in their homes, according to the LIRA - Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

LIRA expects strong gains in homeowner remodeling spending this year.

Of course, that’s after the 30 percent freefall that hit the family-run firm in the housing crisis during the recession.
“It (recovery) comes in waves,” Deckers said. “But it’s been slow and steady.”

Home remodeling business improved 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Inquiries and requests for bids were up nearly 4 percent.

When first launching his business, Deckers said the first thing he did was place an ad in The Signal – where it’s been running daily for more than a decade.

And over the years, he made a lot of contacts through church and school programs, he said.

“There were so many contacts out there; it helped a lot,” he said. “That’s the small, local electrician way of doing things.”

As his children attended local schools, Deckers Electric donated a lot of labor to local school athletic programs with projects like providing security lighting for the outdoor game fields and games, he said.

“I also provided electrical services for the William S. Hart Baseball and Softball complex, the Pony league, maintaining lights and electricity around whole complex,” Deckers said.

On the commercial front, the business has done a lot of work for the industrial businesses locally, he said. But, 90 percent of his work is residential-based.

More new homes would help in the recovery, Deckers said. When he started his business homes were being built throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and people were “spending tons of money” to make upgrades, install ceiling fans, and more, he said.

As homes aged, Deckers Electric has also kept busy by making electrical upgrades, he said.

Older homes needed electrical panel upgrades either to make room for more appliances as kitchens were being remodeled; or to upgrade amp capacity from 100 to 200 amps on the much older homes.

“There are also some worn out, faulty panels out there that inspectors frown upon,” he said. “We replace a particular panel that inspectors complain about.”

Local Realtors have also referred business to the company as they represent sellers and buyers during real estate sales.

“I met Randy 17 or 18 years ago,” said Michael Rescigno, co-owner Intero Real Estate Services in Santa Clarita. “I’ve seen a lot of electricians in my selling homes for 25 years and run into a lot of big and small companies.
Randy seems to be the most conscientious.”

David Hoshaw with Keller Williams agrees. He refers sellers to him to make repairs – code violations or other issues that come up during a home inspection. Deferred maintenance issues can deter potential buyers and lower the value of the property, he said.

“I’ve been working with Randy about 12 years,” Hoshaw said. We refer buyers to him to make upgrades, hang lamps or add other electrical features in their home.”

Deckers prides himself in taking any size job, he said. It’s helped build his business and opened doors to more work.

Troubleshooting has also kept the business going the last few lean years, he said. Sometimes it’s a bad breaker, plug, or lose wire but he troubleshoots any problem from small homes to big, custom homes, he said.

And while his company has created many repeat customers over the years, Deckers has had one long time customer he’s never even met, he said.

“I just did a small emergency electrical repair,” Deckers said. “The guy owns about 20 houses and has been calling me for 15 years but I’ve never even met him. I just send him a bill and he pays me.”

 

 

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