20 Questions with Danny Lipford
By: Mike Dumas
Even though the Today’s Homeowner television show has just entered its 20th season, Danny Lipford has been empowering homeowners to make their dreams come true for nearly twice as long. In fact, his remodeling company, Lipford Construction, is now in its 40th year. Danny started that Mobile, Alabama-based company when he was just 21 years old.
About 10 years later, Danny began hosting a local cable-access call-in show, Better Living. That would evolve into the national Today’s Homeowner show we all know and love.
As the years rolled by and Danny became more widely recognized as America’s home improvement expert, the questions started rolling in. In airports, restaurants – even at gas stations in places like Olympia, Washington, and Beaufort, South Carolina – folks across the nation wanted to know more about the man from Marianna, Florida, and Today’s Homeowner Media.
It’s well known Danny enjoys chatting with, and showing appreciation to, the people who make everything he does possible as members of the Today’s Homeowner audience. But there are only so many hours in the day, and the endless stream of questions has increased tenfold in the social media era. And Danny is a hard man to corral once he’s buckled his tool belt and started work on a project.
But in honor of the landmark 20th Season, we took some of the most popular questions the audience has asked over the years and sat down with him to get some answers, which we’ll be revealing here over the next several months. We’re calling it “20 Questions with Danny Lipford.” Thank you for your curiosity, and for joining us for this exclusive chat!
Remodeler to Local TV Star
- There aren’t a lot of 21-year-olds who own their own companies, especially those in the field of construction or remodeling, like Lipford Construction. How did you make sure yours was a top-tier company from the start?
I immersed myself in trade magazines and trade shows. You have to remember, this was way before websites. And I always looked at what others were doing in other parts of the country so I could keep up. I felt another thing to give me an advantage was to educate myself on exactly what I’m doing.
I wanted to go to every single seminar I could find. And I’ve been to, and paid for, hundreds of them. These days, when I go to a show like the International Builders’ Show, I’m on the exhibit floor all day long. When I was first getting started I never went down to the floor. I was at the 8:00 and 9:30 seminars, and the Lunch and Learn, and I got something out of every single seminar I went to.
Plus I talked to people from all over the place, who were good enough to give me advice. When you’re going to a convention, these really aren’t your competitors, they’re your colleagues.
I immersed myself in what it takes to not only have that level of professional quality, but how to run a professionally managed company. It was the management part of those seminars I really got a lot out of. I wanted my name to be synonymous with quality remodeling and that’s the best way I knew to do it.
- The very first show you hosted was called Better Living, and came on Mondays at 8 p.m. How does a remodeler with a company in Mobile, Ala., become a national TV star?
The intention was never to be a national TV star. It all started as a marketing vehicle for my construction company. When a TV opportunity came up on a local show, that seemed like a perfect way of separating myself from the pack – being the only person in town that was a remodeler and on television.
Cable access stations were very popular during that time. They made it possible for almost anybody that wanted to have a TV show, to have a TV show. I was going to be a guest on Better Living, but the host backed out at the last minute and they asked me to host it a week before it was supposed to premiere.
Originally it was supposed to have a female host, and was going to be more about decorating and interior décor. The management at the station was thinking that Monday Night Football was so big, all the guys would be watching football and all the girls would be watching this show at 8 o’clock. But with me doing it, it gravitated back toward remodeling the home and remodeling ideas. And I had lots of experts joining me to answer questions.
- So you went from the job site to the studio. Was it a culture shock to host your own show?
It really never was that hard, because once someone knows you’re in the construction business, they’re going to have questions. You’re going to be answering questions, and making homeowners feel comfortable, from day one, regardless of if you’re in someone’s home or on their TV. You know where they’re coming from. And immediately I started being recognized. And also, the mindset seemed to be, “That guy’s on TV, he must be an expert and he must be good.” So my business tripled overnight. It was a very big success, you could not beat it.
To commemorate Lipford Construction’s 40th year, Danny Lipford stopped by the office to share a few memories. Check out the video below.
Continue reading Part 2: Taking the Show on the Road.
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