The recession in the late 2000s affected businesses across the country.
The unemployment rate skyrocketed, and the vast majority of Americans lost any financial security they once had.
KLS Home Improvement in Rocky Ridge was born from that hardship, and they’ve been thriving ever since.
Father and son duo Jeff Sharrer and Kevin Sharrer have laid the foundation for quality home improvements over the past decade.
“We started out of necessity,” Kevin said. “We both got laid off in 2008, and we couldn’t find work. A lady I had been doing side work for suggested we go out on our own, and we did. We’ve been here ever since.”
The economy was in a turbulent place when the Sharrer family started their own business. There was a lot of uncertainty that came with such a huge risk.
“We were worried, but we were at the point where it didn’t really matter because we were going to lose everything if we didn’t make something happen,” Jeff said.
KLS has produced decks, home restorations, landscaping, and just about everything in between for Northern Frederick County and Pennsylvania residents for 11 years.
Jeff is a veteran of the trucking industry, and Kevin has worked in home improvement since high school.
“What’s kept us afloat all these years is being diversified in just about anything to do with home improvement,” Jeff said.
“It keeps it interesting because it’s not the same thing all the time,” Kevin said.
Many companies focus on one particular aspect of home improvement, whether it’s decks, doors, or landscaping. The KLS guys take pride in doing anything they can to give their customers the best experience possible.
“One thing we do that a lot of home improvement companies won’t touch is working on old houses,” Jeff said. “We’ve done some pretty nice restorations.”
From large jobs to small, KLS has built its name on coming up with solutions for the community’s home improvement problems, often taking on the jobs others can’t—or won’t.
“We get all the jobs that no one else wants, and to me, that’s the fun part,” Kevin said. “Just figuring stuff out.”
Since KLS got its start, the company has had its blend of new customers and returning customers. The returning customers stay for the quality work and great service, and many of the new customers stem from a familiar resource.
“We have a lot of repeat customers, as far back as when we first started,” Kevin said. “The Banner is all the advertising we do, and everything else is word of mouth.”
In addition to doing some local advertising, KLS is revamping its online presence with a brand-new website. They plan on offering customers an online portal to seamlessly pay invoices and to see first-hand some of the group’s proudest handiwork.
Jeff and Kevin have learned a lot over their carpentry careers, and the opportunity for new business is always available if you’re willing to push for it. The team has expanded into new avenues to keep jobs flowing in.
“One new thing we’re getting into is working with real estate agents and private sellers to restore or repair property to sell,” Jeff said. Connecting with real estate agents and homeowners can be a great two-way relationship.
Spending a little money ahead of time can put people in a position to sell a fixed-up property for a lot more money and much quicker. It’s become an investment that has picked up a lot of traction in recent years.
“We took care of a family’s house after they moved out, so we emptied the house out, and it needed lots of repairs,” Kevin said. “Those folks wanted to get it fixed up, so they could get the most out of it.”
While many commercialized home-improvement companies have goals of expansion into new markets and large-scale development, KLS continues to serve its community in more ways than meets the eye.
Kevin is the president of the Frederick County Students Construction Trades Foundation, Inc. He works with high school students to construct a new house every two to three years. Building the houses gives students a real-world, hands-on learning experience, and the foundation sells the house to keep funding for the program flowing.
In fact, since KLS started, the Sharrers have brought on multiple CTC students to learn and work with them as employees of the business.
“I’ve hired about five people from the career center,” Kevin said. “They come here, and I train them up.”
Jeff does most of the office work, and Kevin handles most of the day-to-day labor on job sites. Another CTC graduate will be joining the team in the near future to fulfill a crucial role for KLS.
“I would like to get to where I have three guys in the field. A lead, a carpenter, and a laborer. That way, I can float out there if I need to,” Kevin said.
Despite the uncertainty 2020 brought, the train keeps rolling for KLS, and the Sharrers are looking forward to a much brighter 2021.
“We picked up last July, and we’ve been full throttle ever since,” Kevin said. “We’re booked out until the middle of May.”
One thing is for sure, if there’s a carpentry challenge out there the Sharrers haven’t seen or conquered, Kevin is up for the challenge.
“If we haven’t done it, I’ll do my best to figure out a way.”
KLS Home improvement has provided locals quality residential work over the past 11 years. Pictured left is Jeff Sharrer with his son, Kevin Sharrer.