Phillip Gehrig traded climbing scaffolding for climbing the ladder of success.
Fresh out of high school in 2006, Gehrig helped renovate the roof of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Now, he’s the CEO of his own remodeling company: The Home Doctor, located on Grovedale Drive in Alexandria.
Gehrig’s hands-on experience helps inform business decisions for his company, which offers exterior remodeling including windows, siding and roofing.
“I like giving [customers] good quality at a good price,” Gehrig said.
Gehrig, 31, started The Home Doctor in February 2013 after previously working as a salesman for Window Nation. His staff includes 18 employees, plus more than 100 contractors that work on installations as needed.
Team members approach remodeling projects like medical doctors, meeting with customers to assess symptoms, and providing a prescription for needed work rather than a quote. Representatives sometimes even wear stethoscopes to round out the image.
In addition to working on job sites, The Home Doctor has a 3,000 square-foot showroom with remodeling options on display. Having a place of business “gives the customer the benefit of knowing that if there’s an issue, they can walk straight into the office,” Gehrig said.
That’s part of The Home Doctor’s goal of being “transparent and reachable,” Gehrig said. The 24/7 answering service and live chat feature on the company’s website provide other ways customers can quickly and easily get in touch.
“I always put my consumer hat on,” Gehrig said, explaining that he gets frustrated when the phone isn’t answered at a business he’s attempting to contact.
Paying attention to details like these allows The Home Doctor focus on one of its biggest challenges: standing out in what Gehrig calls “an incredibly saturated market.” The company’s approach is to offer lots of brands and models, rather than just one, Gehrig said. He also hopes The Home Doctor will continue to rise above competitors by doing quality work for customers.
“Everything that he’s done for me has been top notch,” Norm Fanning, a Home Doctor customer who lives in Kingstowne, said of Gehrig.
The Home Doctor uses high-quality materials and doesn’t cut corners, Fanning said. Employees also make sure customers understand what exactly what they’re getting. Most recently, The Home Doctor replaced Fanning’s roof and front door. Fanning has even recommended the business to his neighbors.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” he said.
The Home Doctor aims to help not just customers like Fanning but also others in the community. The business has donated to Habitat for Humanity in Alexandria and also supports charities such as Every Child Fed and the Boys & Girls Club.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Gehrig said.
The Home Doctor is also starting a partnership with Wincore’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink, which will donate $1 to breast cancer research for every window sold. The company will match this donation as well, Gehrig said.
Part of the reason Gehrig feels a connection to the community is because that’s where he’s from. Gehrig was born in Alexandria Hospital; he grew up off of Richmond Highway and went to West Potomac High School.
Gehrig’s ascent to owner of The Home Doctor didn’t come without struggle: He was raised by a single mother, his initial business partner sustained a career-ending injury in a car accident, and his former company attempted to file a lawsuit against him for violating a non-compete agreement.
Now that those obstacles are behind him, Gehrig has a better foothold on his business. His goal is for The Home Doctor to be a top-rated remodeling company, and he’d like to double his sales in the coming years. Additionally, Gehrig hopes to expand The Home Doctor into Maryland and eventually start franchises.
These days, Gehrig is more likely to be seen donning business attire than the harness he wore 13 years ago while scaling scaffolding for his first roofing job. But he’s still climbing.