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12 Hard Questions: Do You Own a Remodeling Business or a Job?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Dec 02,2016 @ 05:00 AM

These 12 Hard Questions Can Help You Decide if You Own a Remodeling Business or a Low Paying Job

Contractor or construction business ownerAre you pretending to be a remodeling business owner but in reality you are actually just a "job owner"?  The questions below are tough and may make you feel real bad about yourself depending on how you answer them. But that’s not why I assembled them. Don’t kid yourself. If you are not cut out to be a business owner recognize that reality now. Don’t wait until you lose you all your money, your home and maybe even your family.  If being in business is not your calling keep in mind the industry is desperate for good employees.  Real remodeling business owners offer good jobs with great pay and benefits.  Answering these questions might just be the best thing you do for yourself this year.

 

  1. Are you one of about 85% of remodeling business owners who have no clue regarding how to calculate your required markup and gross profit margin (WAG)?
  2. Are you one of those business owners who uses a convoluted scheme for marking up different things at different markups even though you have no idea whether you are buying or selling jobs (WAG)?
  3. Remodeling Business accessmentAre you one of those business owners who doesn't know the difference between markup and margin, or worse you think they mean the same thing (WAG)?
  4. Are you one of about 80% who do marketing without a marketing plan?
  5. Are you one of those business owners who has no idea whether you made or lost money until your taxes are done in March or April by your “historian accountant” (WAG)?
  6. Are you constantly getting tax filing extensions because your books are a mess and or because you don't have the money to pay the taxes you were surprised to find out you owe (WAG)?
  7. Is your business up to its eyeballs in debt and you have no idea how or why you got there, or how you will ever get it paid off (WAG)?
  8. Are you, or will you be, one of the 52% of Americans ages 62-65 who have less than $25K saved for retirement?
  9. If you divided your total pay Wage plus net profits) by the number of hours you worked this past year are some or all of your employees making more per hour than you?
  10. Are you able to still say you’re still in business because of your wife’s job and health care plan?
  11. Do you brag that you do no marketing and totally rely on referrals but at the same time complain about the jobs and customers you get?
  12. If you answered yes to most or all of the above are you ready to do something about it?

 download free business assessment worksheet

 

Topics: Business Financials, Margin and Markup, Careers in Construction, Retirement Planning, Cash Flow, Marketing, Business Considerations, Taxes

Checklist: Is Your Remodeling Business at Risk of Becoming Mediocre?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, May 21,2015 @ 10:12 AM

Checklist: Is Your Remodeling Business at Risk of Becoming Mediocre?

Improving a remodeling businessAs you grow your business day to day management and leadership considerations can quickly creep up on construction business owners.  Profitably growing a remodeling business to any volume, but in particular growing past the $1M threshold in produced work, definitely requires advanced business skills.   Growing and running your business by the seat of your pants is a sure way to create a mediocre business that will never generate maximum profits. This article offers several ways business owners can determine if they and their businesses are headed for mediocrity.  It also offers options to help you and your business get back on track.

 

Mediocrity Definition

 

Here is a checklist of indicators that your business is becoming mediocre:

  • Your business lacks written policies and procedures.
  • Even if you have policies you do not have predetermined consequences for violating them and or you do not enforce them.
  • You complain about things customers and or employees do or don't do; but then do nothing about them.
  • Concerned employees point certain concerning things out and you do nothing to address and or correct things.
  • Your employees point things out to you and you actually make them feel guilty for doing so or that they are annoying you by pointing them out.
  • Your customers offer feedback or complaints and you make excuses for why things happened, rather than embrace their help and use what they share with you to make improvements or corrections.
  • Long term customers stop doing business with you and you don’t bother to ask them why.
  • You create artificial harmony by ignoring culture deficiencies and or tension between team members and pretend everything is OK.
  • When something happens you always find a way to make it someone else's fault rather than take responsibility as the leader.

 

If these things are happening at your business you have two options

Construction employee complaintThe first is to let them keep happening.   If you allow things to continue you will likely lose customers, compromise your brand, have high employee turnover and you will never fully achieve creating a successful and profitable business.   Eventually, when your family and others ask you why you never really succeeded in business, you will again have to resort to rationalizing why it was someone else's fault.

Your other option is to recognize these things are happening and start addressing why they are happening.  Only until you know and recognize why they are happening will you be able to work on preventing them from happening.  

 

Preventing these things from happening may require two different solutions

The first is to stop certain things from happening all together by no longer tolerating them.   Put your big boy or girl pants on and be the leader you should be.   To hold others accountable make sure you create and follow through on consequences.

The other is to change how you do things so they just don't happen anymore.  Put policies in place and make sure they are enforced.   Those policies should also include clear consequences for violating them.

Lots of remodeling businesses are becoming mediocre as they try to grow in this improving economy. Will you join them or will you stand out from the crowd by becoming the reference standard for what it means to be a professional contractor in your marketplace?

 

Want help growing your business in a profitable and manageable way?

Options:
Consider joining our Construction Business Owner Peer Group Program scheduled to begin in September to be held at Middlesex Community College in Bedford MA.

 

 

If you prefer on-on-one help specific to your business email Shawn now to set up a time to discuss your business and the help you are looking for. Or call Shawn at 978-726-6531.

 

Topics: Employee Relations, Business Management, Success Strategies, Business Growth, Sage Advice, Business Considerations, Breaking $1Million

Contractors, Is Your Pricing Really Fair?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Apr 10,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Contractors, Is Your Pricing Really Fair?  

Fair pricing for construction servicesI often hear contractors say they offer fair pricing.   When I ask them what they mean by that most really can't provide a logical answer, or their answer is subjective. It got me to thinking about what fair pricing really is.  I came up with three considerations I think make a contractor's pricing fair to their customers, but also to their business as well as their employees.  Let me know what you think.

 

#1: Your markup is established using math, not a Wild Ass Guess (WAG)

Your pricing will be fair if the markup your company uses to price your projects is based on a budget that identifies your true overhead costs for running a professional operation and a respectable net profit.   I suggest if you run your business, but don't work in the field, you shoot for a salary at 10% of your produced volume as well as a 10% net profit for the risk of being in business.  Remember, if you don't work in the field your salary is considered overhead.  If you do work in the field be sure to split your time and related salary appropriately between direct job costs before markup for your hammer swinging activities and the balance for your time under overhead for your business management efforts.

Your overhead will be fair if you include enough money to properly manage your business, market to the right customers and adequately staff your office so you’re not a slave to your business.  Therefore, your price will be fair if your markup is fair. Click here to read an article on how to calculate your markup using simple math.

 

#2: You pay and treat your employees as professionals

Fair pay for construction workersI would suspect most contractors work for customers who have good jobs offering decent pay for the job performed, workers compensation coverage, benefits like vacation and holiday pay so they can enjoy life, health insurance so they can stay healthy and retirement contributions so they can save for a comfortable retirement.  I bet if their employers took any of those things away from them “it wouldn’t be fair”.

Therefore your pricing is fair if it includes enough money to offer those same things to you and your employees.   Perhaps remodeling prospects who don’t think paying enough so you can offer those things aren’t being fair to you and or your employees when they hire contractors who pay their employees under the table or as 1099 subs.

 

#3: When consumers buy from illegal businesses they aren’t being fair to any of us.

Home owners who work with illegally operating contractors aren’t being fair.   If contractors ignore RRP requirements, that’s their choice, but it’s not fair to legal business, or to those who end up getting lead poisoning as a result.   When they buy from unlicensed contractors when licensing is required, or purposely do the work without a building permit, that’s not fair. And when they knowingly work with contractors who operate this way, then sue them because they can, that’s not fair either.

If you and your business comply with these things and many others such as OSHA regulations and payroll taxes at your business, and charge appropriately for them, it is my opinion that your pricing is fair.

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Are my article and my opinions fair? 

Question_of_the_day-wr

Let me know what you think. Did I miss some things you think should be considered regarding fair pricing?  Do you disagree with my thoughts? If you don’t share your opinions, maybe you’re not being fair either?

 

 

 

Topics: New Business Realities, Margin and Markup, Sales Considerations, Business Considerations

To Sell Your Contracting Business Someday: Should You Build A Spec Or A Custom?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 24,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Selling a Contracting Business: Are You Building Yours On Speculation, Or Is It A Custom?

selling a remodeling businessSince selling my remodeling business in 2004, many remodelers have asked me for help and insight about how I did it and how they too could sell their businesses some day. They ask great questions. The challenge is that there is no easy one size fits all answer. In this article I will share a few big picture considerations to help guide you.   In a follow up article I will discuss typical buyer types you can consider as possible prospects to sell to.

 

What kind of business should you build?

Most remodeling businesses were not designed, they evolved. Each business will be unique because each owner is unique and has unique motivations that drive the evolution of his or her business. In addition, each buyer will be looking for specific characteristics when assessing which businesses to look for and ultimately buy.   These are facts that became clear to me as I thought about and planned for the eventual sale of my business.

Rather than share specifics about what I did, I think you will find more value in the related considerations I discovered that helped shape the direction I eventually went in. Perhaps by considering my suggestions below, you can make a plan for and evolve your business in a specific direction to increase its potential salability and value.

 

selling a residential construction business

Begin with the end in mind

First, I suggest it is best to be thinking of your exit strategy now so you can keep your future options open. By planning now you can identify what you will need to do to get your business ready for sale in the future.  The idea is to always be getting your business ready to sell, even if you never sell it.  If you do it right, in addition to the selling option, maybe someday it will be worth keeping. If you keep it you can collect the net profits, while someone else leads the business and manages the day to day.

Put your strategy in writing

To get started, I suggest you write an ad today to describe the company you will be offering to sell some day.  When writing your description, think about the things that will make the business worth more money and at the same time more attractive to your target buyer.  By writing the ad I suspect you will be able to identify and list the positive characteristics your business already has and should work to keep. Then you should list those characteristics you will need to work on and or add to make your for sale ad valid by the time you want to sell. 

 

Consider who you will sell to

buyer for a remodeling businessIf you’re considering selling your business some day you will need to consider the types of buyers out there as well as their typical motivations for buying one business versus another.   In my next blog I will discuss the two typical buyer types you will want to consider as you make you plan and write your for sale ad.

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Topics: Success Strategies, Differentiating your Business, Business Planning, Sage Advice, Business Considerations, Selling your Business

Know Who You Are, Then Build a Contracting Business That Works For You

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Feb 16,2014 @ 01:10 PM

Peter Schneider

 

 

Guest Blogger: Peter Schneider, Peter Schneider Builder Contracor, Inc. has 20+ years experience and knowledge of residential custom building managing each project hands-on. He's been featured in national trade magazines and local publications and he's served on the Board of Directors of the Fairfield County Home Builders Association.  Peter offered this guest blog topic after reading my blog article titled: "Are You Less Of A Contractor If You Sub Everything Out?" I think Peter's message is a valuable one for contractors to consider.

 

Contractors; Know Who You Are, Then Build a Contracting Business That Works For You

Subs vs employeesUpon a little reflection I’ve realized there are a lot of ways to organize a contracting business, none of which are the “gold standard” and all of which either purposely or inadvertently express the personality of the owner.  At your inner core are you a manager or a craftsman? Are you a little of both? Are you neither?  Generally, I’ve noticed successful people have figured out who they are and how they add value to the equation.  Then they’ve set up a business system to capitalize on their strengths.  

If you are good with your hands, and want to be left alone to do your work, you probably will be a good one-man show type of contractor who can keep busy working for a few General Contractors. I work with carpenters, tile guys and drywall tapers that operate like this – most of whom survived the 7 year long down-turn OK.

If you can teach others a trade like framing, painting, drywall, etc, you can assemble a crew that will make you a nice profit, but you will need someone to run the “business” end of things, at your direction, leaving you free to estimate and sell and manage production. Profitably managing direct employees is a job unto itself and in my opinion is only appropriate when you have a crew that specializes in one type of work.

Peter Schneider Builder Contractor CrewIf you are excited about putting a team of specialized professional craftsmen together to construct a series of varied job types where organization & management are key elements of production & profitability, you’re a good fit for a general contractor operation. A GC set up is generally best for larger jobs like a custom home, a larger addition, or a whole house remodel job. Sometimes smaller jobs that require a higher level of craftsmanship like a special faux finish on walls, or custom built in cabinetry, or precision stone work are best left to the specialist sub contractor.  Higher end bath remodels are also a good fit for a GC with a loyal team of trade contractors. You absolutely must develop a team that you work with regularly so you can be assured of consistent quality and integration between trades.

For me, I’ve noticed the comparatively greater value of leveraging my time providing work opportunities for, and coordinating the activity of other professionals. 

There are inescapable sales, marketing and overhead costs of running a business not directly associated with performing your revenue producing activity. A good GC-Sub relationship takes this into account, or at least I like to think it does in my case.

 

 

Topics: Guest Blogs, Building Relationships, Subcontractor Considerations, Opinions from Contractors, Business Planning, Sage Advice, Business Considerations

Contractors; This Year Could Be The Turning Point In Your Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Dec 10,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Stars are Aligning for Contractors; This Year Could Be the Turning Point in Your Business

Remodeling industry improving

 

The economy and the remodeling marketplace finally seem to be improving.  It’s not happening as fast as we all might like, but it is slowly improving in what appears to be a sustainable way.  And, as a result, consumers have been gaining the confidence to once again spend money on and invest in their homes.   If the recession caused your business to downsize or slow down, now might be the time to decide whether you want to and will commit to improving and growing your business.

 

Indications that contractors and the supply chain are both optimistic

I am still being cautious about making such a statement about the marketplace, but a few key indicators have prompted me to do so.  

First, is the number of contractors not only contacting me for help with their business systems, but actually committing to the investment required to do so.  About a year ago I noticed the inquiries picked up, but after we discussed the typical costs to put business systems in place many contractors decided to hold off, citing concerns about short work backlogs and protecting their cash flow requirements.   Now, with a good backlog of work under contract, both the calls and the commitments have dramatically picked up. 

Contractor seminar speakerSecond is that the supply chain is finally spending money again on marketing to and investing in their remodeling contractor customers.  Although still not as busy as they used to be, trade shows this past year have grow in size again as more manufacturers and distributors are back participating at the shows.   Also, since about early this past summer, the number of manufacturers, distributors, dealers and trade associations contacting me about speaking at their events has also dramatically picked up.   The supply chain is once again spending money to educate their staff as well as their contractor customers, as a way to grow their businesses as well as their customers’.  The Rhode Island Builders Association Boot CampsThe Rhode Island Builders Association Boot Camps I was involved with is just one example of this trend.

 

Don’t get left behind

generic contractors

 

If you’re a contractor thinking about the future opportunities and potential for your business now is the time to act.   As I discussed in a previous blog titled “Generic Contractors Are Fading Away, Brand Names Are Shining”, those contractors who are investing in their business systems and their brand have been capturing good projects with good margins.   Those who have been and continue to protect “their status quo” are going out of business or continue to struggling financially. 

 

Here’s how I look at it. 

About 75-80% of remodeling consumers buy predominately on price.  Also, my experience tells me, about 75-80% of contractors are generic commodities in their market place.   That means that if you want to capture business from the 20-25% of consumers who select a remodeler for reasons other than lowest price you better get going improving and differentiating your business.  The idea is to build your market share, in your target market, before someone else does.

 

Here’s a quote by a famous baseball personality that I Improving remodeling marketplacethink sums things up

"There are three types of baseball players: those who make things happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens."     

 Tommy Lasorda

 

 

 

Topics: New Business Realities, Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Business Growth, Differentiating your Business, Earning More Money, Sage Advice, Shawn's Predictions, Business Considerations

All Plans and Specifications Will Be For The Exclusive Use Of …

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Sep 03,2013 @ 06:00 AM

All Plans and Specifications Will Be For The Exclusive Use Of …

Contractor does plans for free

 

Do you give your plans and specifications away to prospects for free, or do you only leave plans and specifications with paying customers? 

Remember, people who want stuff for free hang around with other people who want stuff for free.  How you decide to answer this question will have a long term effect on your business and future referrals. 

If you choose to not leave your proposal with prospects unless they commit to your company, this policy should be discussed with your prospects during the initial sales call.  By doing so it will not become a surprise to them when you come back to present your proposal. 

You are presenting, not emailing proposals, right?

 

Sample text

Here is some sample language you can consider using inside the remodeling proposals you create for prospects.  This information is for your reference only.  Be sure you have it reviewed by your own legal council before using it.

This proposal and any related plans and specifications shall be for the exclusive use of; and will remain the property of “Construction Company” until a Construction Contract agreement for the proposed work is reached between both parties.  The acceptance of this agreement will require the owners’ signature(s) and payment in full of the specified deposit.   If this proposal is not accepted at the time of presentation, owner(s) are welcome to view all plans and specifications at the contractor’s office at a mutually agreeable time.

 


selling remodelingThis language is best used at the beginning of your proposal

Include your policy in beginning of your proposal so you can remind your prospect about your policy very early during the proposal presentation meeting.  If they have a problem with your policy you can discuss their concerns and both of you can decide whether it makes sense to continue and present/discuss the rest of the proposal. 

 

 

By not leaving your proposal behind you are protecting your business as well as your prospect

The information you include in your proposal comes from your many years of experience and education.  For this you deserve to be compensated.   Also, because you and your team have expereince working together, I would suggest your proposal probably contains a level of detail adequate for you and your team to build from.  But, your proposal may not have adequate detail for others to build from.  If you allow other contractors to work from your proposal they and the home owner may be making assumptions about what is or should be included to do the job correctly and to building code or safety requirements.  By allowing such things to happen you may be putting other contractors, the home owners and or the success of the project at risk. 

 

How much risk are you willing to accept to sell a deal?

Should you leaving plans and specifications behindI also suggest you consider the possible liability you take on by creating specifications and or project plans and leaving them with a prospect that does not do business with you. By doing so you may have put yourself into a position where the prospect or another contractor actually works from them.  If they have challenges when building the project and decide those challenges were caused by your plans and or specs, they may have legal rights to sue you.  Regardless of whether you feel you are innocent or guilty, you will need to cover your own legal expenses if you get to court and most likely will not be able to re-coup your legal costs even if you are found innocent.  If you are found guilty you may even be required to pay the legal expenses incurred by the person suing you.

If you decide to take this risk, I highly recommend you obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance Coverage or Professional Design Liability Coverage.

 

Some big picture thoughts for remodelers to chew on before they decide:

  • I suggest you are in the business of selling remodeling, not designs.  Can you earn a living selling designs?
  • Avoid being used as an unpaid consultant.  How does that feel when it happens?
  • Don’t let your proposals, specifications and plans facilitate the ability for some guy named “Bubba” to get the job rather than you.
  • Not every lead you get should or will be YOUR customer.
  • If you work for the wrong customers, they will be referring you to people just like them!

 

 

Topics: Contracts, Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Legal Considerations, Prequalifying, Business Considerations, Plans and Specifications, Insurance Considerations

RRP Nightmare-GC and His Subcontractor Both Get Nailed By EPA

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Aug 15,2013 @ 06:00 AM

RRP Nightmare-General Contractor and His Subcontractor Both Get Nailed By EPA

RRP Nightmare

 

Unfortunately, complying with the EPA’s RRP rule is not simple.  And, attending the required RRP Certified Renovator Training class will not adequately educate a business owner on all of the business and production practices that must be put in place to keep the business from becoming yet another victim of the RRP Rule due to violations.  

 

Contractors need to keep in mind that ignorance about the details and requirements of the RRP rule are considered by EPA to be excuses, not reasons for non compliance.  An EPA RRP Violation press release about your business and the fines that come with it can be a real nightmare!

Click here for my EPA RRP Summary for Remodelers


What happened?

On Monday this week the EPA released a press release announcing that James J. Welch & Co., Inc. of Salem MA is facing a penalty of $28,125 for allegedly violating the RRP Rule’s requirements.

Child Occupied FacilityThe press release alleges that the violations occurred while James J. Welch & Co., Inc. was acting as the general contractor performing renovations on a project at the former Frisbee School in Kittery, Maine.  At the time of the renovation the Kittery site was a child-occupied facility and therefore was subject to Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

 


Three things stand out to me as things all general contractors need to be aware of:

  1. The violation was brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip.
  2. The work that was in violation was being done by a subcontractor.
  3. Both the GC and the subcontractor are facing separate fines for the violations

RRP anonymous tipIn Feb. 2012, after receiving the anonymous tip, the EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection performed an inspection of the site.  Based on the inspection, EPA determined that the general contractor did not ensure that a company hired as a subcontractor to replace windows at the school, New Hampshire Glass, was complying with the required work practices required under the RRP Rule.   (EPA press release about New Hampshire Glass violations and fine)


The violations included:

  • Failure to assign a certified renovator to the work site
  • Failure to cover the ground with plastic sheeting
  • And, failure to contain waste from the renovation activity

 

Learn from their mistakes

RRP and SubcontractorsThe nightmare both of these businesses are going through should serve as a warning for other business owners.   Both general contractors and sub contractors need to know each other’s responsibilities when it comes to compliance with the RRP Rule.   By understanding the rule the GC and the sub can then come to an agreement about who will do what and when they will do it to make sure that both of them are in compliance while doing the work, as well as creating and maintaining all required paperwork and documentation.   If you do not already have these things under control at your business I suggest you read my September 3, 2010 RRPedia blog titled: Contractors and Subs Doing EPA RRP Work Will Need to Work Things Out

 

Related articles:

If a Lead Test Indicates No Lead, Can A Non-Certified Firm Do The Work?

Do My Sub Contractors Need To Be RRP Certified?

Do my subs need to be EPA RRP Certified Firms?

Insurance Companies Rethinking Coverage Due to EPA RRP Rule

 

 

Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Production Considerations, Subcontractor Considerations, Business Considerations, RRP Related

Understanding and Complying With Home Improvement Contractor Laws

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 05,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Help Understanding and Complying With Home Improvement Contractor Laws

MA HIC videos with Shawn McCaddenMany remodeling contractors may be operating their businesses illegally without even knowing it.  In addition to construction supervisor licensing, most states now have some type of licensing or registration requirements for contractors who offer and or perform home improvement work.  Home improvement contractor licensing and regulations govern how contractors conduct business, not how they build or renovate at the job site.  Fines and penalties for lack of compliance can be substantial, including losing your right to conduct business.  The specific details of home improvement contractor laws and regulations are different from state to state, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of and understand requirements where you work. 

 

What states have Home Improvement Contractor Licensing requirements?

Click here for an interactive map where you can find out.  You or your remodeling customers can also use the map to check to see if a specific contractor is licensed.

 

Currently there are about 26,000 Registered Home Improvement Contractors in Massachusetts.

Recently the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation ("OCABR") released a series of five short videos to help Massachusetts home improvement contractors become aware of and learn how to comply with the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Registration law.  The videos are well done and are targeted to help Massachusetts contractors, but a lot of the information shared in the videos could also be very helpful for contractors doing businesses in other states as well.  Each video covers a topic that is regulated in some way or another by any state's home improvement regulations.

Home Improvement Contractor Law videos with Shawn McCadden

At about 17 minutes of total time, it’s worth your time to watch all five videos even if your business is not in Massachusetts.  

The first 45 seconds of each video is an introduction and is just about the same, so after watching the first video in full you can probably skip ahead in the other four.

 

Basic Rules for Home Improvement Contractors:

Video #1:  Registration

 

Video #2: Contract Content & Payment Terms

 

Video #3: Advertising & Estimating

 

Video #4: Performance of the Contract

 

Video #5: Arbitration & Enforcement

 

In addition to being an industry representative in the videos, I was also pleased to be able to offer input on the script.  Before, during and after the filming I worked closely with Steven J. Zuilkowski, Hearing Officer for the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.  During the filming I also worked with Jacqueline F. Chandler, HIC Program Coordinator.  Both demonstrated they were genuinely interested in helping contractors comply with the regulations and were seeking input to help ensure the videos served the intended purpose.  Recently Steve shared with me that the OCABR now also has a blog were he has written several posts for contractors regarding help interpreting the HIC regulations, check it out here.

I want to thank Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the OCABR for doing these videos to help contractors.  It was an honor for me to be asked to participate in the project and I had some fun too!

 

Steven J. Zuilkowski

       Steven J. Zuilkowski

Jacqueline F. Chandler

    Jacqueline F. Chandler

 

Barbara Anthony

  Barbara Anthony

 



Topics: Videos, Legal Related, Contracts, Starting a Business, MA HIC Regulations, Sales Considerations, Marketing Considerations, Business Considerations

How To Have A Rockin 2013!

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jan 29,2013 @ 06:00 AM

How To Have A Rockin 2013!

How To Have A Rockin 2013

 

A new economy and a new marketplace are both here now, and they are what they are; for now.   Old ways of doing business or just waiting for something good to happen for you in the New Year are strategies that are probably not going to help grow your business and or your profitability.  Here’s my list of three things remodeling business owners can do to make sure 2013 will be the year they set their businesses on a new path towards success in a constantly evolving marketplace.  Don’t miss the video treat at the end!

 

#1: Choose your niches: You can’t serve everyone or anyone

Mick JaggerWhen you serve anyone and are willing to build anything your business misses an opportunity to really stand out.  Lots of businesses already follow that model.   If you follow it too you will be just another one in the crowd.  Instead, by choosing specifically who you will work for and what work type or types you will concentrate on, you can then create and build a brand that attracts your targeted niche.  Make sure the niche market you choose to serve can support the required margins your business needs to do so and make sure to consider the skills required to sell to that niche.  Remember, the economy will be soft for at least several more years, so choose niches and work types that will be in demand in your market.   As Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones sings: ““You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need”

#2: Identify how you’re unique

Jerry GarciaDon’t be different in the same ways other remodelers are different.  Sounds stupid but why copy another business and call that being different.  Besides, when you’re just like all the other companies the only differentiator in the eyes of the consumer might be price.   Instead, be unique.  Find ways to really stand out from the crowd in the way you do things and or the things you do.   For example maybe you only hire female field staff to build your projects.  Maybe you and your employees always wear company uniforms and name badges with your picture on it whenever you and or they show up for a sales call, service call or the first day at a new project.  Or, maybe you will only install American made products (assume that is really possible these days!).   As Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead once said: “You do not merely want to be the best of the best, you want to be considered the only one who does what you do”

#3: Build the right team 

BTOYou can’t do it all on your own and still have a life.  As the legendary Canadian Rock Band Bachman-Turner Overdrive sang: “I've been taking care of business, it's all mine. Taking care of business and working overtime”.   If running your business requires too much time away from the things you actually work to have or enjoy, you need to change how you do business.

Building the right team requires some engineering.   First, identify the organizational chart of job positions and the number of employees needed; today and at other predetermined milestones as your business grows and evolves.  Then, find employees who complement your and current employees’ strengths and weaknesses.   When filling job positions consider whether the assigned employees should be global or linear thinkers.   If you want employees who think like owners, hire the right ones and then give them the same experiences an owner has so they can actually think like an owner thinks.  If you want to use a lead carpenter system then hire true lead carpenters, but first make sure your other business systems are already in place and designed to support a true lead carpenter system.

I hope you enjoyed the “rockin” theme of this blog post.  

What inspired this approach you might ask.  I recently went on the Rock Legends Cruise II and had a blast.  Here’s a video I shot on the cruise of the Lynyrd Skynyrd tune “Give Me Three Steps” performed by the Artimus Pyle Band.   Artimus is one of two drummers who played for Lynyrd Skynyrd.   What’s special about this recording is that Bob Burns, the other drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, is on stage and both Bob and Artimus are playing drums at the same time!  I’m not sure that has ever happened before.  I hope you enjoy this recording as much as I enjoyed it live!  Artimus really pulled together the “right team” for this tune!

 


Artimus Pyle Band with Bob Burns and Artimus playing drums at the same time!

 


Topics: Hiring and Firing, Success Strategies, Marketing Considerations, Business Planning, Business Considerations