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Remodelers: Can You Answer These Questions About How You Do Business?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Oct 05,2017 @ 05:00 AM

Remodelers: Can You Answer These Questions About How You Do Business?

How should a remodeler do business

 

One way I help my clients remodel how they do business is to first get them to actually document how they already do business.  For most they think they know how they do business until I start asking clarifying questions as they attempt to explain.  I did this exercise one time with a $3M+ remodeler and his management staff.  The owner told me before we started how impressed I would be with how they do things and work as a team.  About 30 or so minutes into the meeting he came to realize only he knew how to explain it and none of his staff were on the same page as he.   He then, in a frustrated tone, asked his staff: “How does anyone around here get things done if none of you can explain how we do business?” 

One employee quickly jumped in and said something like: “Well we have to ask you every time and it seems you have a different answer each time so we stopped assuming and decided to just ask every time rather than risk being wrong”.

How a remodeler does businessBelow is a list of considerations regarding how you can do business as a remodeler.  The list starts with an initial inquiry from a prospect and is broken out by typical steps of the process up through wrapping up a remodeling project.  There are lots of things to consider related to each step depending on the type of work you do, who your target customer is and how you do or will decide to do business.  Keep in mind your decisions in each step can or will affect other steps.  Please assume it to be a partial list.  I hope you find the list to be a helpful way for you to get started thinking through how you do business. 

 

Steps related to selling and completing remodeling projects:

  1. Original contact:
    • How will prospects contact your business and then how will your business respond.
    • You will need ways to respond to inquiries from email, Voice Mail, showroom/office drop-ins and or your web site’s contact page.
    • One goal of this step should be to manage prospects’ expectations about what will happen next and when.
  2. Initial phone conversation
    • Who will call the prospect back and when?
    • Should it be a trained gate keeper or the salesperson?
    • What are the purposes of the initial call: for the prospect and for the business?
    • How will the business decide whether to agree to a first sales call?
    • Will your business establish and agree to an agenda and purpose for the meeting before you commit, or will you figure that out when you get to the prospect’s home?
  3. First sales call
    • Will this be at your place of business or the prospects home?
    • Who has to be there besides your business and how will that be decided?
    • How long will the first visit take and why?
  4. Decision time:
    • Remodeling business best practicesWhat does the business need to know about the prospect and their project?
    • Will you have them make a decision about whether your company is a good fit before or after you commit to and invest hours of your time developing an estimate and or proposal?
    • Will you require them to share their decision making process about the project and price before you attempt to get them to make a decision, or will you deal with all that at the same time you are expecting them to make a decision?
  5. Deciding if the prospect and project are qualified and if so for which service the company offers
  6. Design/Preconstruction agreement with a fee or free estimating and proposal generation
  7. Proposal presentation meeting
    • Who has to be there and if not there will you automatically reschedule and take your package with you?
    • Are you expecting a decision at the meeting? If so, what should/will your business do to help them make a decision?
    • If not expecting a decision at the meeting how long is your proposal and price good for?
    • If you charged to prepare the information will it be applied to the project price or is it considered a separate fee and service?
  8. Pre-construction and pre-staging
    • Backordered Stamp-WR.jpgWill you expect all product selections be made before offering a fixed price?
    • Will you schedule the job if there are any open selections to be made?
    • Will you get enough money at deposit to pre-stage the job with required materials, will you use your own money to pre-stage, or will you wait until you start the job to gather the materials?
    • Will you require clients attend and participate at a preconstruction meeting?
  9. Construction
  10. Project wrap-up
    • Is the final payment due on completion or substantial completion (do you know the difference?)
    • Will you allow a punchlist or require a precompletion list?
    • Do you have a process and supporting form you and your customers can use to both agree and confirm the project is complete?
  11. Warranty
    • Best business practices for remodelersWhen does the job end and the warranty begin? (What does your contract say about this now?)
    • Have you clarified warranty responsibilities depending on who provides the materials?
    • Will making the final payment be a condition of doing any warranty work?

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Topics: Business Management, Differentiating your Business, Customer Relations, Business Planning, How You Do Business

An Adult Daughter’s Thoughts About Growing Up A Contractor's Child

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Oct 01,2017 @ 05:00 AM

An Adult Daughter’s Thoughts about Growing up a Contractor's Child

Katelyn McCaddenMy dad asked me if I would write an article for him about the value of being raised as a contractor’s daughter, and how that might differ from other people’s experiences. I can’t actually imagine what it might be like to not be a contractor’s daughter. My childhood was filled with the smell of sawdust flying through the air, and classic rock crackling in from a dusty radio. Many of my earliest memories are of playing with my sister at the office around proudly branded displays of windows and shutters, and pretending to be mermaids in the basement storage. It shaped who I am.

 

My ambitious driven father, tempered by my fiery compassionate mother, expertly juggled raising us and running the company. Custom Contracting was as much a home to us as any other; a spot where our family worked together towards earning our place in the world. It made our family unit a team capable of moving mountains.

Growing up as a contractor's childMore than once I watched my father and his brothers build a house or barn. I cannot begin to describe to you the lingering feeling of awe which this type of undertaking inspires. With synchronicity honed their whole lives, they would take a wooded hill and a stack of reclaimed lumber, and create monoliths to my child’s eyes.

Not every moment was filled with awe and inspiration. My sister and I cleaned and helped renovate rental properties, we split hauled and stacked firewood, and we slaved through endless yard work. We hated (nearly) every minute of it. But we took great pride in our accomplishments, and the warmth of our house in the winter. I find that, as a young adult, I am not only more capable than my peers, I also believe myself more capable. I can hammer a nail and fix a sink better than most people I know, male or female. Because I am so confident in my abilities, I never think twice about taking on the world.

Life as a contractor's daughterAs the dust settles on my wild adolescence I have carried with me a foundation of values on which to build my adult life. Now it seems I just can’t shake the need to buy my own house and some dirt to sit it on. I find that less and less of my down time is spent scrolling Facebook, and more and more is spent Googling the cost of putting in a septic system and what contributes to real estate values. As I drive down the street I find myself judging the quality of people’s roofs and cringing at water damage where proper gutter installation is begging to be.

So, I can’t imagine what life must be like for someone who was raised in world without wet paint and sawdust, without a family who builds monoliths and moves mountains, or without pride in the woodstove thawing my frozen fingers. I am defined by so many of these things. Being a contractor’s daughter created a world for me screaming with potential and teeming with possibilities, and a hard earned confidence to succeed at even my wildest dreams.

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Guest Blogger:  Kate McCadden is the oldest child in the McCadden family.  She’s the one in the family with the creative artistic abilities.  She is working on her career to become a writer and plans to get rich writing a book everyone will want to read. 

Topics: Fun Stuff, Mentoring/Coaching, Guest Blogs, Generation Y

The Importance of How You Do Business as a Remodeler.

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Sep 27,2017 @ 05:00 AM

The Importance of How You Do Business as a Remodeler.

contact us in hand-WR.jpg

How you do business as a remodeler serves certain customers.   And, just as there are many different customer types there are also many ways to do business as a remodeler.   For example does your business charge for design or does it do it for free?   Does your business help consumers pick out their products and colors or does it expect customers will research and find their own products?  Do you offer fixed pricing, cost plus, T&M or all three?   So, have you decide how you will do business and then stick to it as you prequalify prospects, or have you decided to do business whatever way those who buy from you want?  

If you are fortunate enough to get referrals from past clients, do you want to do business with their referrals in the same way you had to do business with them?  If you do business differently each time, will you even remember how you served the referring customer so you can repeat it?   Is that what the referral is expecting or do they have their own plans for how they want you to do business with them?

 

Choosing how to do business as a remodelerThe importance to your brand

Deciding how you will do business is one way to define the brand of your business and therefore the type of clients and project types it will attract.   For example if you offer professional design, and charge for it, people who value design will likely do business with you and be willing to pay for it.   On the other hand if you do design for free some consumers will like free and may be attracted to your business.  However my experience as a design/builder was that people who want free design also expect other things for free.  Which customer would you prefer to attract?

 

Become a specialist rather than a generalist

If someone asked you how you do business what would you say?   Have you already decided and defined it?  Or, would you be at a loss to explain it in a logic order?   If you do business differently, depending on who you take on as customers, what will you decide to say next time someone asks you?  Will your answer attract or detract the prospect you are in front of?  Are you hoping they just won’t ask?

Juggling oranges-WR.jpgManaging one way of doing business is hard enough.  Do you really want to manage an unlimited number of business methods?

Rather than think you need to serve everyone why not decide who your ideal client will be and how you will do business, to both attract them to your business and serve them like they have never been served before by any other remodeler.

Remember, if you are just like all the other remodelers you will become a commodity and will be forced to compete on price.   If you stand out as different, and customers want different, they will have little choice but to pay the price to get different.

Who’s running your business anyway?

 

Related articles:

Contractors and Remodelers: Decide Your Niche and Then Go Get It!

Three Ways To Get Fewer Leads But Close More Remodeling Sales

If One Of These People Asks, Can You Explain How Your Remodeling Company Does Business?

How A Contractor’s Web Site Marketing Can Speed Up The Sales Cycle

Topics: Business Growth, Differentiating your Business, Customer Relations, Creating Referrals

Commercial and Industrial Painter Safety Practices Everyone Should Keep In Mind

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Aug 14,2017 @ 05:00 AM

Commercial and Industrial Painter Safety Practices Everyone Should Keep In Mind

Painter-WR.jpg

Painting is a great way to enhance the beauty of a home or office but it can also be a job that can result in some serious chemical contamination if you aren’t careful. Do yourself a favor and act to protect yourself while painting on a professional basis. As an industrial or commercial painter, you’ll want to follow the following steps to limit your exposure to unhealthy substances while doing your job.

Protect Your Skin

It’s bad for you to get paints, solvents and sanded materials on your hands when working as a painter, but you’ll be handling the substances daily. That’s why it’s important to get some long-sleeve shirts, some pants, closed sneakers and strong nitrile gloves (can be found online at websites like BulkNitrileGloves.com) to protect yourself while working. Ensure that waterproof protective equipment is worn and that you are fully protected against all the risks that you’ll face while painting.

Dust MaskKeep Particles out of Your Lungs

Use a high-quality dust mask when you’re sanding or painting with strong substances. The mask will keep particles out of your lungs and help you stay in good health over time. It’s important to realize that even the best masks will miss some of the smallest particles, so keep the area ventilated as well when doing something like sanding down walls and other surfaces before painting the area.  Rather than a dust mask, a respirator may be required depending on the materials you are disturbing. 

Ensure Excellent Ventilation

When working with solvents and most paints, be careful to work in well-ventilated environments. This will reduce the risk of working with these materials and the health hazards that they cause. Open windows and doors and rely on fans or other devices to keep fresh air flowing through the space. This helps remove any harmful odors and chemicals in the air, keeping the space nice and clean.

Safety Glasses on floor-WR.jpgProtect Your Eyes

While painting there is always a risk of hurting your eyes, especially when painting up above the head. That’s why it is so important to invest in safety goggles to protect your eyes. Get a good pair of goggles or glasses to cover your eyes, or rely on a face mask to keep particles out. This will keep your eyes in good shape and you’ll thank the protective gear the first time that paint splatters or drips over top of your eyes.

Safety Doesn't Happen By Accident:

Follow the above steps and you shouldn’t have too many problems with your health while working as a painter. Always follow OSHA requirements should they apply to the work being done.  Just be careful that you don’t skip any of the safety precautions, or you’ll risk letting paint, solvents and other substances through all your protective measures.

 

Other related articles you might find helpful:

OSHA Compliance Checklist: Will You Be Ready If OSHA Visits You?

RRP Conundrum: To Test or Not to Test for Lead Paint.

 

Tom Masters

 

Guest Blogger:  Tom Masters has been working in the construction industry since he was a child. Lately he prefers the business end and writing about the trade. He is currently working with Contractors Today

Topics: Contractor Training, Guest Blogs, Paints and Painting, Tools and Supplies, Safety

3 Tips for Prepping Your Vehicle for the Job Site

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Aug 09,2017 @ 05:00 AM

3 Tips for Prepping Your Vehicle for the Job Site

Unloading the pickup truck 2-WR.jpg

 

As someone who works in construction, you already know about the importance of having the right equipment to stay safe on the job. From installing scaffolding to access certain work areas to making sure everyone is properly trained on using heavy equipment, you pride yourself on having safe work sites.

If you use your own car or truck as a work vehicle — and routinely drive it to construction sites — it's important to treat it like any other piece of work-related equipment. That's why many contractors as well as their employees make sure their vehicles are properly maintained and prepared to be on any job site.

With this in mind, check out the following tips that will help keep your car in good shape on any and all job sites:

Maintain Your Tires

Construction sites can be muddy and filled with sharp objects that can puncture tires. With this in mind, regularly checking your tires is a must; after all, you'll want rugged tires that can handle slick and rocky conditions — and you'll need to catch and fix any damage before any tires go flat.

Tires for contractor trucksBefore heading to work each day, check the treads and condition of your car or truck’s tires to make sure they're safe to drive on, and then conduct the same practice before heading home at the end of the day. When it's time to replace the tires on your truck or SUV, consider an all-terrain variety like the Nitto Ridge Grappler from an online retailer like TireBuyer.com.

TireBuyer.com stocks a wide variety of sizes of the Grappler tire, which can easily handle driving over uneven and muddy construction sites. The Grappler features shoulder grooves, which will clear mud from the tread, along with stone ejectors that can help keep your treads clear and damage-free.

Stick to a Maintenance Schedule

To ensure your vehicle is in proper working order at all times, adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Driving through construction areas can wreak havoc on air filters and other parts of the car that collect dust and dirt, so making sure your car goes in for regular tuneups is essential to control repair costs as well as fuel costs.

If you have to tow or haul a lot of heavy equipment, or if you drive long distances every day traveling from site to site, you may want to bring in your vehicle more often for maintenance. To help stay on top of your car’s maintenance needs, consider downloading the free AUTOsist app, which let's you keep detailed records of all of your oil changes, brake jobs and tire rotations. You can even set reminders within the AUTOsist app to bring in your car for a tuneup based on mileage or date.

Always Keep Safety Equipment in Your Car

Safety Glasses for contractorsIn addition to maintaining the outside of your vehicle, what you keep inside it should also prepare you for safely spending time at a job site. Keep your personal safety equipment in your vehicle at all times and double check you have everything before leaving home in the morning.

ISHN.com suggests keeping safety glasses and/or a face shield and eye protectors on hand, along with a hard hat, heavy gloves and an extra pair of steel-toe work boots. Experts also suggest keeping a checklist of all of your safety equipment and storing everything in a bin that fits into the trunk.

Finally, check your hardhat and other gear regularly for cracks or other damage; if you notice anything amiss, replace it immediately.

 

Alison StantonGuest Blogger: Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.

Topics: Production Considerations, Guest Blogs, Personal Protection, Tools and Supplies, Safety

How to Choose the Appropriate Finish for Stained Woodwork

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Mar 17,2017 @ 05:00 AM

How to Choose the Appropriate Finish for Stained Woodwork

Wood finsihing options for contractors

 

Stain can be a beautiful addition to any wood product.  As a general contractor or a flooring contractor, you have undoubtedly had many customers ask which stain would be best for their flooring, cabinets or other wood surfaces. When choosing which finish to go with, it is essential to consider some pros and cons of the available options.  With this information you help your customers make a more informed decision.  It can also help you identify and schedule the right services necessary for the work you need to complete.

Finishes can provide a protective outer layer, while keeping the look of the natural grains throughout the wood planks and pieces. Each individual finish will vary in appearance and some work better with certain woods while others do not.

Some options can be used as both a stain as well as a finish depending on the material you are finishing. When explaining to your customers the various finishes available for the work at hand, be sure to detail some of the following so they better understand the products available and can make an informed decision when choosing a finish.

 

Varnish

Wood finishing product comparisonOne of the most common choices to go with, varnish provides a protective glossy overcoat. It comes in stained colors or clear. You can choose from water based or oil based and a small quantity can go a long way. The best part about varnish is that you can use it on wood both inside and outside of the home. Varnish can be very flammable so it is best to keep it away from open flames.

 

Beeswax

Beeswax protects the outside of the wood and when buffed down can provide a shiny outer coating. It should however only be used on wood materials that will be inside the home. Beeswax is available in both an oil and water based mixture. This is an eco-friendlier option if looking for a coating that is non-toxic to the environment.

 

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil finish on wood-WR.jpg

When used on wood water will not penetrate through the linseed oil surface and it provides a smooth, slick outer shine that other choices might not give. It should only be used over unsealed wood.  It too is highly flammable, so it should always be kept away from open flames. Linseed oil can be used both inside and outside for multiple wood projects and can easily be applied by someone with experience working with wood products

 

Wood Preserver

Wood preservers are available in both oil and water based.  Preservatives provide a way to protect the wood against insects and other intruders. It provides a clear, glossy coat over the wood that hardens and protects. It is recommended for exterior use. Wood preserver comes in a clear coat or can come in stained color.  

 

Wood Finishing Tips

  • Contractor Wood finishing tipsStay away from safflower oil and carnauba oil, since both are not highly rated for finishing stained wood.
  • Check for VOC ingredients on the label to find out if the finish you choose is eco-friendly. This will be extremely important for your customers who are trying to, or already have, decided to go green with their home or business and want eco-friendly products only.
  • Read the product label to find out what types of wood the product should not be used on. Even with years of experience, it’s easy to get various products mixed up and make mistakes.
  • Follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer to achieve the best result on the wood you’re sealing.
  • Always stain and finish the wood in a well ventilated, open area. Allow for plenty of time for the fumes to dissipate after the work is finished.  
  • When applying finishes protect yourself and workers from breathing harmful vapors. Also, make sure the homeowner and pets will not be closed in with the fumes when you leave.

 

Tom MastersGuest Blogger:  Tom Masters has been working in the construction industry since he was a child. Lately he prefers the business end and writing about the trade. He is currently working with Contractors Today

 

Topics: Remodeler Education, Green Considerations, Guest Blogs, Paints and Painting

Networking & Dating: How the Two Go Hand in Hand

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 14,2017 @ 05:00 AM

Networking & Dating: How the Two Go Hand in Hand

Networking guide for remodeling contractors

Not sure how to get started using networking to help grow your business?

Building a professional network can often feel like dating: putting yourself out there to strangers, not knowing what to say and carrying that fear of rejection. But just like dating, there are ways to make networking much easier. Here's how.

 Getting Out There

The first step in professional networking is simply putting yourself out there, but many of us don't know where to being — it's not like there is a Tinder app for professional networking, right?

Actually, there is. Shapr works just like Tinder, where users swipe right and left when matched up with others in their field. Many young professionals enter a room with little to no information about anyone inside, so Shapr takes the guesswork out of the equation by only pairing you with people you're interested in meeting.

But if a Tinder-like app is just too close to dating, there are always more established sites, like MeetUp.com, to connect with others in your business.

 

Networking options for contractorsMaking an Introduction

While apps like Shapr make it easier to find others, there is no avoiding introducing yourself in person every now and then. If that sounds intimidating, just remember that you're not alone in this endeavor — some of the world's most reputable entrepreneurs stood in your shoes, and found themselves not knowing anyone in the professional world.

Tim Terriss, speaker and author of Tools of Titans, spoke to a crowd at the South By Southwest Conference and Festivals about building a world-class network from nothing. He goes into extensive detail during his presentation, but the core of the story is very much like dating: be yourself, don't be afraid to say hello and ask people to tell you about themselves — people love to talk about themselves.

 

The First Date

You have a match! You met someone in your industry and the professional sparks are flying. It could be tempting to sell your service or product on day one, but you wouldn't propose on the first date, so the goal here is to take things slowly.

The best way to create a long lasting relationship — and make the sale — is to give, give, give and then ask, says investor and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk. A good example would be a graphic designer offering marketing advice for a company or group he or she knows. After some time, if the advice has value and the graphic designer gains credibility, some will eventually become customers willing to pay.

 

Going Steady

Networking tips for contractorsIf you've ever played the game "The Sims," you know that maintaining relationships can sometimes be harder than starting them. And like dating, you often have to take the initiative to keep the relationship strong. Treating clients or close professionals to gifts or flowers will never go out of style, and many find the extra effort is appreciated by the recipient.

Once you've established a relationship, going back to the beginning can always be a pleasant surprise. Just like taking an old girlfriend or boyfriend to the place where you first met, a young professional remodeler might go back to their first industry conference to brush up on basics, or set up a few coffee dates with friends in their networking groups to chat about the market.  Many great business idea can come from chatting with peers over coffee or a cold beer.

 

Jim Burch

 

Guest Blogger: Jim Burch - Jim is a copywriter from Phoenix and avid admirer of alliteration. His goals are to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, see all 30 baseball stadiums, and eliminate the improper use of "literally," but he figuratively can't even.

 

Topics: Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Lead Generation, Guest Blogs, Creating Referrals

3 Financial Strategies for a More Scalable Construction Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 07,2017 @ 05:00 AM

3 Financial Strategies for a More Scalable Construction Business

Scaling a construction companyAs 2017 dawns, the outlook for the construction industry is optimistic. Despite setbacks experienced during the Great Recession, the industry is set to add 790,400 jobs over the decade of 2014 to 2024, accounting for the majority of new jobs in the goods-producing sector. Real output will grow 2.8 percent annually during this period. In 2017, total U.S. construction starts will increase 5 percent, reaching $713 billion, anticipates Dodge Data & Analytics.

For contractors, this is great news, but it also presents the challenge of scaling up to meet growing demand. Scaling up requires not only hiring more workers and buying more material, but also adjusting your financial strategy to cover your increased overhead expenses without hurting your cash flow and profits. Here are three financial strategies for successfully scaling up in 2017.

 

Scale up Revenue while Scaling Down Costs and Expenses

A scalable remodeling business model is designed to allow you to increase revenue while holding both job costs and overhead expenses down. To be scalable, your financial plan should aim for gross profit margins of 40 percent or more (minimum of a 1.67 markup).

Scaling a remodeling companyTo achieve this level of gross profit margin, one fundamental strategy is increasing your revenue. The key to increasing your revenue is improving your marketing and sales. One of the most efficient ways to improve your marketing is by improving your positioning through a better unique selling proposition (USP): a brief statement that summarizes what you offer customers that your competition doesn’t.

To refine your USP, narrow down your ideal target market. For instance, is there a certain neighborhood or a certain type of building that would be more profitable to specialize in? Research what your target market is most seeking in a construction contractor. For example, are they price shoppers or are quality or service bigger priorities for them? Craft your USP to emphasize what your target market most values and make sure all your marketing material reflects your new USP.

Along with increasing your revenue, the other half of keeping a high profit margin is keeping expenses low. Many construction businesses fail because they can’t cover the cost of overhead. Finding ways to reduce the money you must pay for running your business is key to minimizing your expenses. Taking the time to research different organizational charts, industry best practices, project management methods, business management software and employee compensation strategies based on performance.   Investing in these areas now can help your business reduce overhead through efficiency of operations as well as economy of scale as the business grows.

 

Maintain Efficiency through Automation

3D Automation for remodelersAnother effective strategy to lower job costs is automation. Automation can help you lower the costs of materials by helping you plan more precisely to avoid unnecessary waste. J.E. Dunn has partnered with Autodesk and Microsoft to develop Lens, a cloud-based software tool that combines 3-D virtual modeling with instantly-calculated cost estimates for each component of your building project.

Although not common yet in residential remodeling, another way automation can help cut materials costs and waste is by using 3-D printing. 3-D printing allows you to select from a wider range of cost-efficient materials, while speeding up the building process. Last year, Chinese company Huashang Tengda was able to assemble a 3-D-printed house in just 45 days.  Remember, many said nail guns would never catch on!

 

Keep Costs and Expenses Down with Outsourcing

Outsourcing for remodeling contractorsOutsourcing is another proven way to cut labor costs both in the field as well as the office. Many successful large companies outside our industry have used outsourcing effectively to streamline their labor expenses. For instance, Google relies heavily on revenue from pay-per-click advertisers who pay to have their results featured in search engine rankings. Maintaining its advertising revenue requires a large sales support team, which Google has outsourced. Amway is another company that outsources its sales, relying on a distributor model to promote direct sales.  In our industry many contractors already outsource activities such as design, engineering, building permit procurement, sales, lead intake and prequalification, RRP demo, specialty trades and even general carpentry.

As these examples illustrate, you can outsource functions that are part of your core business if it is more efficient to delegate them to specialists than to maintain in-house talent. For instance, there is no need to pay for the expense of in-house 3-D drafting when you can easily outsource it. With the right plan and system you can also easily outsource routine peripheral functions such as bookkeeping and payroll.

 

Topics: Margin and Markup, Technology for Remodelers, Success Strategies, Cash Flow, Marketing, Guest Blogs, Marketing Considerations, Prequalifying

Elements To Consider To Achieve The Right Construction Office Design Layout

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Feb 02,2017 @ 05:00 AM

What Are The Elements To Consider To Achieve The Right Office Design Layout?

Modern desk for contractor office layoutThe layout of your workplace is extremely important, because the wrong layout can restrict staff and hinder productivity, while the right layout can help your team to carry out their tasks more effectively and boost productivity and even creativity. For this reason, it is important that you plan your layout carefully and make the right choices.

In this article, we take a look at some of the most crucial elements you and your office design company will need to consider when planning the layout of your office space.


1. The Size of Your Team

In terms of pure office space planning, one of the single most important considerations is the size of your team. If your team consists of around a dozen people, a small, shared space may suffice, but your needs will obviously be rather different if you are employing more than 100 people.

Where possible, you want to try and make sure your layout is future proof too. This means taking into consideration the potential for growth and, therefore, the addition of more staff members.


Office space planning for contractors2. The Nature of the Work

Next, you need to think about the nature of the work carried out by your business. If you primarily require people to stay focused on individual tasks, an open plan design may damage productivity, because staff may become distracted. Instead, it would make sense to try and give staff access to quiet spaces.

However, if you require constant collaboration between employees and teams, the open plan design may be better. If you have a mixture of needs, or if you have staff who work on a variety of different devices, you may want to create a design that allows people to move freely between different spaces.


3. The Views of Employees

One of the best ways to ensure you get the right design is to speak to staff during the office space planning stage of the process and ask them for their opinion. What do they like about your current layout? What do they dislike? What could you introduce to make them happier, or better able to carry out their daily tasks?

Some of the suggestions you get back may not be feasible, but you may also get some great ideas and become aware of problems that you weren't previously aware of. The main people you hope will benefit from a great design are your employees, so it pays to give them an input.


4. The Personality of Your Team

The final element to consider is the personality of your staff members - how they think and what they enjoy. According to John Holland, employees generally fit into one of the following six categories:

Office space layout for contractors

  • Conventional - Organised, orderly, enjoy working with numbers and records
  • Enterprising - Ambitious, competitive, enjoy selling and persuading
  • Artistic - Non-conformist, expressive, enjoy creative work
  • Investigative - Analytical, intellectual, enjoy studying and problem solving
  • Realistic - Physical, practical, enjoy working with machinery or tools
  • Social - Supportive, conscientious, enjoy helping other people

Identify the personality types in your building and work with your chosen office design company to create a layout that suits their needs. If you have a lot of artistic people, you might consider an unconventional layout, but if you have mostly investigative types, they will need conventional private spaces for concentration.

 

Reno MacriGuest blogger:  Reno Macri is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, event branding, modular exhibition stands design, office space planning and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.

 

Topics: Business Management, Team Building, Business Growth, Guest Blogs, Culture, Business Planning

Only For Contractors Who Want to Use Marketing to Help Them Make Tons of Money

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Jan 29,2017 @ 05:00 AM

Only For Contractors Who Want to Use Marketing to Help Them Make Tons of Money

JLC LIVE 2017In March I will be presenting two seminars for contractors at the JLC LIVE trade show in Providence RI.  Both seminars will be marketing related and although they certainly will have value individually, the two are very complimentary towards creating an effective web site for your business.  Additionally, both are offered on the same day making it easy and cost effective to improve your marketing knowledge all on the same day.  Below I share the seminar descriptions as well as why I am offering these topics.  If you want to get better qualified leads for profitable projects, from your ideal customers, I invite you to join me.  Better yet, think of it this way.  If you are not there you better hope your completion isn’t either!

Both seminars will be held on Thursday March 23, 2017 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI.

 

JLC Show seminars by Shawn MccaddenSeminar #1: 7:30-9:00 AM

The first seminar, titled “Web Site Bootcamp for Beginners” will be an overview of how to get started and what to include if you are planning your first web site.  I put this session together because I see way too many contractors get sucked into paying for worthless web sites that might look good, but don’t do a dam thing towards causing qualified leads or profitable sales.  It will also be very helpful if you are not happy with your current web site and or are trying to figure out why it doesn’t help create lots of business. At this JLC seminar I will also share what I consider to be the “secret weapon page” you should have on your web site.

 

Seminar #2: 1:30-4:40 PM

Mccadden Seminars at JLC LIVE 2017The second seminar is actually a 3 hr. workshop with plenty of time built in for questions and interaction.  The workshop is titled “Choosing and Targeting the Right Customers and Project Types for Your Business”.  I put this JLC Marketing Workshop together to help contractors become much more strategic about the marketing they do and how they do it.  If you plan to do any marketing this workshop will help make sure you and anyone else involved has a clear understanding of exactly what you are trying to solve and or accomplish with your marketing.  That way you can make sure your employees and or marketing provider you work with can be held accountable to the purpose of the marketing they help you with, not just pay them for doing it even if it doesn’t work.  I’m even including a sample marketing plan in the handout so we can review and discuss it together at the workshop.

Scroll down to see the full description and learning objectives for the two seminars.

I hope I will see you there!

 

View JLC LIVE 2017 Show dates, location and hours

View the 2017 JLC LIVE Conference schedule

Register for JLC LIVE

 

McCadden Seminar Descriptions for JLC LIVE 2017

Web Site Boot Camp for Beginners (90 Minutes)

Every remodeling business can benefit from a well done website if it wants good customers to find and buy from it for reasons other than price.   If you have been putting off doing a website for your remodeling business because you have no idea where to start, this boot camp is for you.  Don’t worry if you don’t know what SEO means or you don’t know the difference between HTML and a URL.  This will be a down to earth presentation using language and examples every remodeler will understand. 

Learning objectives: By attending this seminar you will:

  • Identify what you need to know and consider before going forward with your website.
  • Learn to identify what you can and should do yourself and where you will need help
  • See how easy it can be to maintain and add to your web site if you have the right tools
  • Learn how to get the right people to find your website and tell others about it

 

 

Choosing and Targeting the Right Customers and Project Types for Your Business (3 Hours.)

Many remodelers and builders have come to realize that their businesses can no longer be all things to all people and that trying to do so makes it almost impossible to differentiate themselves in today’s marketplace. Smart consumers don’t want generic. They want different and they are using the internet to find, research and prequalify which businesses they will work with.

By strategically targeting specific customer types and project types your business can benefit in many ways and increase profitability at the same time. This seminar is designed to help you understand the many factors that you and your business can take into consideration if you want to successfully and profitably target, market to and attract a strategic niche.

Learning objectives: By completing this class you will:

  • Learn several powerful areas to explore and consider when identifying your target customer and niche
  • Learn how earning gross profit can depend on what you sell and how you sell it.
  • Find out how the internet and your website can help the right prospects find you and your business

 

Topics: Contractor Training, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Web Site Related, Lead Generation, Marketing Considerations