From An $8k/mo Subcontractor To a $50k/mo Self-Reliant Window Installation Business

Case Study: Windows For Life, window installation company in Gallatin, TN

Table of Contents

The Background

Meet Nathen Kemper, the man behind Windows For Life. Nathen has been working as a subcontractor installing windows and doors for Andersen and Window Nation.

By the time he decided to kickstart his own contracting business, he had installed more than 20,000 windows.

He wanted to build something of his own but feared what many other contractors do: making a name for himself in an industry of giants.

Nathen Kemper from Windows For Life talks about working with Contracting Empire

Nathen doesn’t work as a subcontractor anymore but runs a successful business, all while working less and making more.

When he first reached out to us, Nathen wanted some literature about windows that he would take on in-house visits. 

The more we talked, the more we saw the need to help him put his brand out there and create a clear differentiation for his business. He needed much more than a flyer; he needed to carve out space for Windows For Life.

The problems Nathen was facing were very familiar to us. We’d seen other contractors battling the same demons before.

…It’s not just a day off — it’s money slipping through your fingers and opportunities lost.

But what if there was a way out?

What if your business had predictability and revenue pouring in that would allow you to take a month-long vacation without worrying about the company surviving?

We believe that every contractor deserves the chance to build a business that works for them — not the other way around.

Being your own boss doesn’t have to be a dream. 

It can be your way of life.

Our marketing systems are designed to create sustainable growth in any contracting business, so your company can survive even when you’re not in the trenches.

The Challenges

Limited Marketing Budget

With only $3,000 to invest in marketing efforts, Nathen was understandably concerned about whether he could compete with larger companies that had seemingly endless resources at their disposal.

We get it.

When you’re just starting out, every dollar counts and the thought of pouring money into marketing can be downright terrifying.

Risk is actually the difference between a contractor who’s looking for a cozy job and a contractor who wants to build a business. I’ve talked to hundreds of contractors, and everybody wants the result, but there’s rarely some that want to put in the work to get the result.

Everybody wants to make $5 million dollars, but nobody wants to invest $250k – $500k to make it happen. These conversations are quite funny. Everybody sees Bezos, Gates, or Musk as pillars of success, but what they don’t see is the suck that went behind building those giant businesses and the huge investments they made in their respective companies—both time and money-wise.

The shift for Nathen came when he realized that you need to spend money to make money. All he needed was a trusted partner that turned that money into more money.

Marketing is one of the core components needed to lay the foundation for your success. It builds a connection with homeowners and helps them make you their best choice.

$3k is far from something that can get you to compete with multi-million dollar corporations. So you have to look at marketing through a different lens.

Single-Page Website

Your website is like GPS navigation system, providing turn-by-turn directions that guide the driver from their starting point to their desired destination efficiently.

A single-page website is like a basic, one-page map that doesn’t have enough details or updates to help you find your way easily, making it harder to get users to reach your final goal.

From a search engine’s perspective, it’s even worse. Search engines like Google rely on complex algorithms to crawl, and index website pages, and single-page sites offer little to no context.

And if your website isn’t showing up in search results, you might as well be shouting into the void.

It’s important to have a website with a clear user journey that provides an excellent user experience. According to the law of consistency, the easier it feels to navigate your website, and for users to get what they want from it, the easier it’ll feel to do business with you.

Unique Value Proposition

Here’s the thing: every business has something unique to offer; it’s just a matter of finding it and showcasing it in the right way. In Nathen’s case, we helped him uncover his hidden advantage: himself.

In a world where consumers are bombarded with aggressive corporate tactics, when everything’s discounted but double-priced, one of the things that gets small businesses off the ground is the owner.

Having the owner show up to the appointment and genuinely care about solving the problem instead of a sales rep with commission breath gives you an edge.

Sure, it’s not scalable, but you can easily take your business to 1 million dollars a year in revenue just by setting and closing the appointments yourself. That will create enough leverage to continue to grow your business.

The usual delegation path is marketing → sales → leadership. First, you do it all yourself. Gradually, you hand off marketing tasks and then sales activities once you’ve mastered them. Finally, delegate leadership roles, stepping back from daily operations to let your team handle the work.

The Strategy

Most marketers would be out of a job if they told you how much marketing you can actually do yourself when you have more time and less money.

You see, marketing doesn’t just offer knowledge, access to data, and extensive market research – it also buys you time

But when you’re first starting out, time is abundant until you get the projects to pour in, and the budget is more limited until you have some cash flow.

In Nathen’s case, we talked about how he could build his local reputation just by having premium business cards and knocking on doors to introduce himself and put himself out there as a window installer. 

Here are some of the offline assets we built for him.

1. Professional yard signs that highlight the unmatched lifetime warranty Nathen offers with his window installation service.

2. Professional promotional flyers that Nathen can hand out in the neighborhood

3. Gorgeous, high-quality business card that doesn’t go unnoticed

Naturally, you’re just one person and can’t knock on all doors, so you would still need to build an online reputation at some point.

But many marketing agencies take the same approach for every business, selling everyone the same package. 

The reality is that marketing has to meet your business in its current stage, and something that works for a million-dollar remodeling business will not work for a window installer who just got started.

Sometimes, you need to push out more content. 

Other times, you need to invest aggressively in ads. 

Online efforts should be combined with offline marketing. It’s never a one-size-fits-all.

For Nathen, we had to get started on putting him out there as the best windows installer in his area. We knew what had to be done, but we also needed Nathen to play his part and make a name for himself offline.

Even when we do all the heavy lifting of digital marketing, you also need to play your part and give us that edge we need to bring your business the best results:

When you pull your own weight with these things and have a partner invested in your success like we are, your business grows exponentially.

For Nathen, the 10,000 foot view on strategy evolved into 3 phases:

Phase 1:

Phase 2:

Phase 3:

The Results

After Phase 1 was completed, Phase 2 was where the rubber met the road. 

We took Nathen’s one-page website and turned it into a complete window installation eco-system, with multiple pages meant to tell both Google and homeowners that Windows For Life is the optimal choice in Gallatin, TN.

Dominating The Local Window Installer Scene

When Nathen became our client in May 2022, his business was lost somewhere on the third page of Google’s search results.

When was the last time you scrolled to page three when searching for a service or product?


Most people don’t have the time or patience to sift through pages of search results. 

They want quick answers, instant solutions, and they trust that Google’s algorithm has already done the heavy lifting to present them with the best options upfront.

We know how to leverage Google’s algorithm and send it the right signals to position your contracting business as the top local choice, just like we did for Windows For Life.

As you can see above, we started off with just a few green dots in the vicinity of Nathen’s main office.

By the end of 2022, Windows For Life was already dominating his city, so we had to expand the map to reassess our efforts and plan the growth of Nathen’s business.

In less than 8 months, we turned a business that homeowners (and Google) had never heard of into the number one result for anyone looking to install new windows.

Fast forward to today, this is what Nathen’s map looks like.

What you see above is a 15×15 grip map with a 3-mile distance between points. That’s a local domination of at least an area of 2,025 square miles.

This is just a glimpse of what’s possible when you put in the work and partner up with people who understand all the moving pieces of marketing and know how to combine them.

Outranking Competitors

One of the biggest struggles when starting your own contracting business is outperforming the guys who have been doing this for years.

Businesses that have lots of 5-star Google reviews.

That served hundreds of homeowners.

That have 6-figure websites and invest millions of dollars into their marketing.

These established players have built their empires over the years, if not decades, cultivating strong brand recognition and trust among their user base.

This was one of Nathen’s largest concerns. How could he ever make it when these giants overshadowed any new windows installation business?

The pain of brand awareness for a new contracting business cuts deep.

But if you take the right actions and have a realistic timeline, you can win the game.

Ranking in May 2022

Ranking in December 2023

By the start of 2023, Nathen’s window installation company was outranking competitors that had been in business for decades.

This just goes to show you that even with all that business longevity, you can still get outranked in the search results if there’s a smarter marketer on the other side.

We leveraged the power of data and local SEO to propel Windows For Life to the top of the search results. 

We rewrote the rules of the game, and while Nathen’s competition is investing millions in ads, we found an edge where we’re always 3 steps ahead because we track, innovate, improve, and implement on a constant.

This is the power of long-term marketing with an agency that knows its stuff.

The Money And Path to Freedom

Once Nathen understood that he needed to spend money to make money, he took $3k/mo from the $8k/mo he was making as a subcontractor and decided to invest it into himself and his business for the following year.

His goal was to invest $36,000 in 2023 and make $300,000 in return

Having decent margins for window installation, that would give him a level of financial freedom that he never experienced.

This was his initial math that would set him up for financial freedom.

But plans change, and people evolve. 

When Nathen started seeing the results we’re getting him and he had more cash flow coming in, he started diversifying into Google Ads with us as well. 

We started hitting marketing from all angles: branding, SEO, local SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads… This is how you build a marketing system that creates predictability in your business.

In 2023, he brought in more than half a million dollars in revenue. We love blowing goals out of the water, and Nathen definitely did his part.

Sure, he’s spending more than $3k/mo now on all his marketing, but he’s on track to make a million dollars in revenue in 2024 and has over $150k booked already for March and April, and it’s only the end of February.

I’ll let you be the judge if it’s worth spending money to make money.

Key Takeaways

Starting a contracting business often comes with limited resources, fierce competition, and brand obscurity. 

We took Nathen’s company from humble beginnings to being the top window installer in his area.

Today, Windows For Life:

If you’re ready to spend money to make money, grow as a person, and put your business in the spotlight, we should talk.

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