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The Difference the Right Employees Can Make For Your Construction Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jan 14,2016 @ 05:30 AM

The Difference the Right Employees Can Make For Your Construction Business

 
choosing good construction employeesHaving the right employees at your business can make a huge difference to your business in so many ways.
It should not be left to chance. In addition to your construction company's profitability the right employees can also make a huge difference for your customers and the way they view and or will share their experiences with others. In this article I share my experience with one United Airlines employee who helped make my experience and day way better than I had come to assume it would be.  I bet by sharing it you can use my experience as a guide to better seek, choose and train your employees.
 
Over the holidays this Christmas season I went on an annual goose hunting trip in Illinois with some contractor buddies.  My first return flight was delayed and I was at risk of making my connection to get back home. I was obviously bummed out.  But, thanks to just one exceptional airline employee, I made the connection and got back in time to celebrate the New Year with my family.  Here's what that employee did and why you should seek, choose and train your employees to be just like her.
 

First off she had a great attitude and presented herself well

The woman who checked me in was well dressed and well groomed.  Sure she had to wear a uniform (and so should your employees), but in addition to wearing professional attire she obviously also had a lot of self-respect and presented herself well.  Unlike others I observed working around her she was professionally groomed, interacted with a genuine smile and spoke with a professional vernacular. I suspect someone raised her to be that way and I could tell it was natural for her, not an act.  In my opinion hiring her was a great investment.

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Next, she managed my expectations and offered proactive assistance

how to choose the right construction employeesAs she checked me in she made me aware that my flight was likely to be delayed and therefore making my tight connecting flight might be at risk.  I had never had anyone else at any airline do this at check in.  She also told me why it might be late before I had chance to ask her why.  By doing so my attitude about my situation was already less stressful.  She then helped me make a "Plan B" in case I missed that flight.  By doing so I went to the gate in a much better frame of mind than the frame of mind I would have been in if I discovered my possible dilemma at the gate.  
I soon found out the flight was expected to be delayed by at least 30 minutes, I was now assuming "Plan B"
 

Then she was at the gate and was working hard to mitigate potential challenges

Yes, the same woman who checked me in soon came to work the gate, and was all by herself.   I suggest, like a small business, the gate at that small airport could not support additional overhead.  She was obviously cross trained by her employer to perform a wide variety of tasks and to do so very efficiently.  For that I not only credit her employer for properly training her, but for also hiring an employee with the right cognitive abilities and a desire to learn.  For that I can probably also credit her as well as whoever raised her and or mentored her in her formative years.  With her actions, knowledge and a professional demeanor she got the incoming passengers squared away, prepped things for my outbound flight, and very efficiently got us all boarded faster that I have ever experienced before.  And I travel a lot!  She minimized the potential delay big time like it was second nature.

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The good news was that I made my connection to get home. 

how to hire the right employeesThe better news, for me and her employer, is that she restored my faith in her company as a preferred option.  The next time I have a choice when deciding between available airline options to serve my traveling needs my experience that day with her will definitely become part of my buying decision.

I hope sharing my experience that day will help you make better hiring plans and decisions.  For additional help and insight check out his article titled "One Simple but Powerful Tip for Hiring the Right Employees”

 

Topics: Hiring and Firing, Worker Training, Recruting, Team Building, Differentiating your Business, Culture, Customer Relations, Creating Referrals

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

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Aug 10,2015 @ 01:01 PM

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

How a contractor does businessMost contractors can't explain how they do business, they just make things happen.   In a smaller remodeling business, say up to about $5-700K of installed work, this may get you by.  But as you grow your business, particularly if you want to grow past $1M in installed remodeling sales, the list of people below will want and or need to know how you do business.  

Would you be able to explain it to them?  Or will you let them tell you how it will happen?

To grow a successful construction business these people in your path will need to know how you do business: 

Prospects:  
If in the past they have had a bad or good experience with another contractor, savvy remodeling customers already know what worked or didn't work for them and their project. Before they hire you they will want to know how your business operates.
Customers:  
If they have already bought from you without knowing how you do business they may have bought on price and have already assumed how you will do business. It’s probably not the same way you are assuming.
Employees:
lead carpenter system workshop click here If employees don't know how you do business they will be challenged to take on responsibility as the business grows because they will never be able to assume what you want them to do or say at job sites and or with customers.  If they take the risk of doing so, and then you chastise them for what they did, they will probably never take that risk again and or may look for a different job.
Recruits:
Finding good employees these days is challenging.  Finding a real lead carpenter or production manager is near impossible.   Try this example.  You find a real lead carpenter, and while interviewing that candidate starts asking you questions about how your business and your lead carpenter system work. Will they gain confidence in working for you or will they come to realize they should look elsewhere?   Good lead carpenters know what they need from the business and how it should happen so they can actually produce projects on their own, from the job site.  (Check out this Lead Carpenter System Workshop for business owners)
Architects:  
Explaining how you do business to an architectBe careful here.  If you don't explain how you do business before winning the bid on an architect driven remodeling project you might just be told how you will do business.  Examples include how and when you will be paid, what will be considered a change order vs. what you should have assumed to be included, what margin you can earn on change orders, and what hoops you will need to jump through before receiving progress payments and final payments.  Be sure to carefully read any AIA Contracts before signing them.
Sub Contractors:
Good trade subs are hard to find. If you find a good one but don't clarify how you do business with your subs before you hire they will likely be telling you what they expect after you are already committed to them.  At that point you may have no other choice than to suck it up if you want to keep your job on schedule and your customer happy.   A lack of clarity and consistency regarding your payment policies is probably the most common reason subs will lose interest in working with you on your next project.
Vendors:
Again, be careful here. Be sure to explain how your sales process works and how you price materials before sending prospects and clients to vendors to pick things out.  By doing so they can become part of your sales team.  If you don't, in a sincere effort to help you, they may actually create problems for you.  Examples might include quoting wholesale prices, giving pricing breakdowns, or suggesting products you prefer not to use.  If the prospect never even shares you sent them there, and you didn't let the vendor know they were coming, the vendor may even recommending a different contractor just so they can be sure to get the sale.

 

Can't explain how you do business?  

Thinking of growing to or past $1M and need a defined way of doing business that works for you?  Consider joining our upcoming Construction Business Owner Peer Group and Education Program.  By participating in the 4-month program you'll get structured education to help you as well as great insight and suggestions from your peers.  

 

Topics: Working with Vendors, Business Management, Recruting, Employee Advancement, Business Growth, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Marketing Considerations, Prequalifying, Breaking $1Million

Key Differences Between Carpenters and Great Lead Carpenters: Part 2

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jul 09,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Key Differences Between Carpenters and Great Lead Carpenters: Part 2

Skills to be a lead carpenterAs I pointed out in part one of this article skilled carpenters are assumed to have the trade skills needed to do the work at hand and to understand construction. But just because a carpenter has these skills doesn’t necessarily also mean he or she has the rest of what it takes to be a successful Lead Carpenter. In the first article I listed the basic skills and thinking skills a carpenter must possess to be eligible to become a Lead Carpenter. Below is the second half of a list of key skills a carpenter should have or will need to acquire to become a great Lead Carpenter. We will be covering these topics and others at our Lead Carpenter System Workshop for business owners coming this summer.

 

This second list describes the people skills and personal qualities a carpenter must possess before becoming a great Lead Carpenter. These are skills that can be learned and mastered while working as a carpenter. Training, supervision, mentoring and coaching by the business owner and or other leaders in the business can help the right carpenters acquire these very important skills. Before investing in a carpenter in these areas make sure your Lead Carpenter to be has the demonstrated cognitive ability and willingness to learn and apply such skills.

 

People Skills needed to be a Lead Carpenter

  • Social: Has a natural ability to show understanding, friendliness, and respect for the feelings of others, but at the same time is able to assert oneself when appropriate. Also takes genuine interest in what people say and why they think and act the way they do.
  • Negotiation: Ability to assess and identify common goals among different parties and at the same time clearly present their and the company’s position. Can also examine possible options and make reasonable compromises.Lead Carpenter skills
  • Leadership: Can appropriately communicate thoughts and feelings to justify a position. Can also encourage or convince while making positive use of rules or values. Demonstrates the ability to have others believe in and trust in them because of demonstrated competence and honesty.
  • Teamwork: Contributes to the team offering ideas and effort, but also does his or her share of the work to be done. Has the ability to encourage other team members and can resolve differences for the benefit of the team. At the same time can responsibly and appropriately challenge existing procedures, policies, or authorities for constructive purposes.
  • Cultural Diversity: Works well with people having different ethnic, social, or educational backgrounds and understands the cultural differences of different groups. Can also help the people in different groups make and embrace cultural adjustments when necessary.

 

Happy_lead_carpenter-wrPersonal qualities needed to be a Lead Carpenter

  • Self-Esteem: Understands how beliefs affect how others feel and act. Can identify irrational or harmful beliefs they may have and understand how to change and or adjust them when needed.
  • Self-Management: Honestly assesses his or her knowledge and skills accurately. Proactively sets specific and realistic personal as well as professional goals and can self monitor progress toward those goals.
  • Responsibility: Works hard to reach goals, even if the task is unpleasant. Will consistently do quality work and maintains a high standard of attendance, honesty, energy, and optimism.

 

Click here to see a Job Description for a Lead carpenter

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Click here to read part one of this article

 

lead carpenter system workshop click here Other articles to help contractors and construction business owners choose and grow the right carpenters into Lead Carpenters

Helping Lead Carpenters Become Managers Benefits Them and The Business

Is He Or She Really A Lead Carpenter?  Probably Not!

Interesting Considerations For Putting The Right Employee On The Right Job

Getting Employees to Think Like Owners

 

Topics: Hiring and Firing, Worker Training, Careers in Construction, Recruting, Team Building, Production Considerations, Lead Carpenter System, Mentoring/Coaching, Culture, Leadership

Key Differences Between Carpenters and Great Lead Carpenters: Part 1

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jul 07,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Key Differences Between Carpenters and Great Lead Carpenters: Part 1

Creating lead carpentersSkilled Carpenters are assumed to have the trade skills needed to do the work at hand and to understand construction. But just because a carpenter has these skills doesn’t necessarily also mean he or she has the rest of what it takes to be a successful Lead Carpenter. Below is the first half of a list of key skills a carpenter should have or will need to acquire to become a great Lead Carpenter. We will be discussing this list at our Lead Carpenter System Workshop for business owners to help carpenters and construction business owners improve their chances of success developing Lead Carpenters and a true Lead Carpenter System.  

 

Skills to be a lead carpenter

 

This first list describes the basic skills and thinking skills a carpenter must possess to be eligible to become a Lead Carpenter. These are skills that should be inherent to the carpenter already, learned from an early age through schooling and practical application as a person evolves from childhood to adulthood.   If a carpenter does not already possess these skills the chances of success as a Lead Carpenter will be greatly compromised.

In my next article I will discuss the people skills and personal qualities a great Lead Carpenter must learn and develop.

 

Basic skills needed to be a Lead Carpenter:

  • Math skills for a lead carpenterSpeaking: Ability to speak clearly including selecting language, tone of voice, and gestures appropriate to a specific audience.
  • Listening: Listens carefully to what people say, noting tone of voice and their body language, then can respond in a way that shows a true understanding of what is said.
  • Reading: Ability to identify relevant facts and locate information in books or manuals. Ability to find the meanings of unknown words and use computers to find information.
  • Writing: Ability to write ideas completely and accurately with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Also able to use computers to communicate information in writing.
  • Mathematics: Ability to use numbers, fractions, and percentages to solve problems and communicate solutions.

 

Thinking skills needed to be a Lead Carpenter

  • Carpenter_framing-wrCreative Thinking: Has the ability and is not afraid to use imagination freely to combine ideas or information in new ways. Can easily make connections between ideas that seem unrelated to others.
  • Problem-Solving: Can easily recognize a problem, identify why it is a problem, create and implement a solution, and naturally watches to see how well attempted solutions work so they can be revise as needed.
  • Decision Making: Can identify goals, suggest alternatives and gather information about them. Can identify and weigh pros/cons and choose the best alternative along with a plan to follow through.
  • Visualization: The ability to imagine, strategize and sequence the construction of a building, object or system by looking at a blueprint or drawing.

 

Don't miss Part-2 of the list

Subscribe to the Design/Builders Blog Be sure to come back here to find the second half of this checklist to learn about people skills and personal qualities a great Lead Carpenter must learn and develop. It will be published in a few days.   To be automatically notified via email when new blogs are published simply subscribe to the Design/Builders Blog.

 

Click here to see a Job Description for a Lead carpenter

lead carpenter system for business owner workshop click here

Other articles to help contractors and construction business owners choose and grow the right carpenters into Lead Carpenters

Evolve From Being A Contractor To Being A Construction Business Owner

Afraid To Hire Production Employees For Fear I Would Run Out Of Work For Them

A lead-carpenter system helps both the business and the employees to grow

Compliance Checklist: Will You Be Ready If OSHA Visits Your Job Site?

 

Topics: Worker Training, Careers in Construction, Recruting, Employee Advancement, Production Considerations, Lead Carpenter System, Mentoring/Coaching

Checklist for Getting Ready to Hire Your First Remodeling Salesperson

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 30,2015 @ 07:00 AM

Checklist for Getting Ready to Hire Your First Remodeling Salesperson

checklist-wrI have been working on the content we will be sharing with the attendees participating in our Construction Business Owner Education and Peer Group Program scheduled to begin in Bedford, MA in September at Middlesex Community College. One of the very important things that hands-on contractors who seek to become construction business owners need to get ready for is bringing on sales staff to help the owner sell an adequate volume of work as the business grows.   Below is a 10 item checklist contractors can use to help them get ready for this critical step in the growth of their businesses. From my own experience of hiring my first remodeling salesperson many years ago number 10 is the most important.

 

Contractor’s Checklist: Getting Ready To Hire Your First Remodeling Salesperson

  1. Make sure you already have a Marketing System already in place that generates enough quality leads for you and your new salesperson before you hire.
  2. Make sure you have decided on and have already implemented a Standardized and Documented Sales Process so previous customers and their referrals will enjoy a consistent experience and you can manage your new salesperson’s use of your system.
  3. Make sure you do a budget to determine the Markup and Margin you will need to sell and produce at to cover the cost of your new salesperson as well as the additional business overhead that comes with the changes.
  4. Hire a remodeling salespersonEstablish Sales Goals and a Performance Based Compensation Strategy you can share with candidates as you interview them and your business will use once they are hired.
  5. Make sure your financial system is setup as needed so you can accurately measure produced gross profit margins on sold jobs. It should also be set up to help you and your new salesperson accurately calculate sales commissions earned.
  6. Make sure you have the ability to perform Estimated to Actual Job Costing so you can be sure jobs are being properly estimated by or for your new sales person. Commission based sales compensations plans are impossible without this ability.
  7. Be clear on who will do the Estimating and how it will and needs to be done (formatted) so your production team gets what they need to build sold jobs on their own.
  8. After you do all of the above write a detailed and clearly explained Job Description for your new salesperson position so you can use it to attract, evaluate and manage your new hire.
  9. Have Quality Audit Forms ready to go that you can use to capture feedback about your new salesperson’s performance from the prospects who do not buy as well as the customers who do buy.
  10. Establish the “Go-No Go Criteria” you will use so you have predetermined how as well as when you will make the absolute decision to keep or replace your new hire.

 

As I indicated above I decided number 10 proved to be the most important consideration after debriefing my learning experiences with hiring a first salesperson. As one sales seminar speaker once quoted at a seminar I attended early in my career:

“Never carry an employee longer than his/her mother did!”

 

 

Topics: Sales, Remodeler Education, Success Strategies, Recruting, Business Growth, Sales Considerations, Breaking $1Million

One Simple But Powerful Tip For Hiring The Right Employees

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Aug 11,2014 @ 06:01 AM

One Simple But Powerful Tip For Hiring The Right Employees

Hiring the right employees for a construction company

 

 

Many contractors complain about employees not doing their jobs as expected, don’t fit in with other team members and or are not performing their individual work tasks as expected.   These are common problems to be recognized and unless addressed can cost the business a lot of money and can compromise customer satisfaction.  However I find that in many cases the employee is not the one at fault, but rather the construction or remodeling company that did the hiring hired the wrong person. 

 

So why does this happen and what can construction business owners do about?

A big mistake I see many contractors make is creating the job description for a new hire after he or she has already been hired.  Think about that for a second.   Whether written down or worked out inside your head, figuring out the job description for a new hire after the fact may just be a way to rationalize your hiring decision.   Done after the fact the job description is only a documentation of who you hired and what you got; not necessarily who you should have hired and what that person should be able to contribute and deliver as an employee.


Instead, here is a radical idea

Using job descriptions to help with hiringWhy not write job descriptions before you seek to hire! 

By creating a written job description you can make sure any new hires will have the skills, personality and previous experience to fill the job’s position within your organization.  

When putting the job description together I suggest you consider and include not only the desired trade skills, but also the expected outcomes if the employee performs properly.  To make sure the person will fit in well with the position, as well as the rest of your team, also include a profile of the candidate's desired attitudes, behaviors and disposition.  If you think this through and express it in writing before you hire, you can use what you put together as your guide and as a checklist when interviewing and considering candidates.

 

Here are a few example considerations by job position

  • Carpenter: Do you need someone who can preplan the project including making materials lists and setting up sub contractors in advance of starting projects or are you OK with a good carpenter who can figure things out well enough as he goes, but can’t preplan? (Click here for a Lead Carpnter Job Description)
  • Bookkeeper: Do you want someone who can set up and use QuickBooks to track financial information and create business reports from the information, or are you OK with a data entry level person who just follows someone else’s instructions within a QuickBooks file that was created by your business coach or accountant?

 

You can either hire for what you need or settle for what you get

Investing in the right employees for a construction companyI hope you can see by my examples offered above that if you don’t define what you want in advance you may not get what you really need.  If fact, hiring the wrong person can cost you a lot of money due to wasted time and lost opportunities while you seek out and onboard a replacement candidate.  

Hiring the right employees should be looked at as an investment.  With the right employees the business can grow faster and generate a lot more profit.  Hiring the right employees can also help put you on a path towards a comfortable retirement so you won’t have to work until you die.


How about you? 

Are you a business owner who figures things out as they happen, or will you plan ahead and set up what you want to have happen when it comes to growing your business and hiring the right employees?

 

Topics: Hiring and Firing, Success Strategies, Recruting, Culture

5 Ways to Take Your Remodeling Business From Less To More

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 12,2014 @ 06:00 AM

5 Ways to Take Your Remodeling Business From Less To More

Remodeling business owner burnout

 

It’s real easy as a construction or remodeling business owner to get burned out as you try to keep up with everything.   This is particularly true now that the remodeling market is picking up.  After downsizing to stay in business, and putting in lots of extra effort and hours to make a profit during the recession, many business owners are once again trying to grow their businesses.  However many of them are still using the "do more with less" mentality they used during the recession.  Maintaining this mentality as they seek to grow will definitely add to the burnout they are already experiencing.

For a good number of these business owners doing more with less may have made sense as sales shrunk and overhead expenses had to be cut back.   To clarify things the idea was to do more of what you were already ready doing with less.  Now that the economy seems to be improving if you want to do more business than you have been doing you'll need to do and add more inside your business to support that growth, not less.

 

Five things remodeling business owners can do to take their businesses from less to more:

Get serious about your management style

Advice for remodeling business ownersIf you have lost focus or lack the discipline to put business systems in place and stick to them it’s time to commit to and practice new attitudes and behaviors.  Before you grow your business consider the adequacy of your financial system to predict and measure results.  Do you have a formal marketing plan to guide you or are you winging your marketing?   Do you have well thought out job descriptions you can use to recruit, qualify and hold new hires accountable to?  Have you established benchmarks for the performance of your business systems?  If you don’t have or do these things what example are you setting and what type of employees will join and or stay with your business?

 

Don’t spread yourself too thin

If you plan to grow your business it and your employees will need your attention and guidance.   If your focus is being watered down by other outside activities like a second business, community activities, politics or even involvement at your church; the leadership and oversight needed at your business may be compromised.   There’s nothing wrong with being involved in outside activities, but make sure you put qualified middle management and business metrics in place first.

 

Be sure to think and act like a professional

OSHA for remodelersA growing business that wants to attract and keep good employees needs to act professional.   This means having a proactive and strategic marketing plan in writing.  It means preparing a financial operating budget and staying within it.  It means investing in training and mentoring your employees to be the future leaders your business will need.  It means creating a profit sharing strategy and or compensation strategies based on performance. It also means operating legally and safely.

 

Develop organizational charts, career paths and improve your recruiting process

If you think it’s expensive to train your employees only to have them leave and go elsewhere, think of how expensive it will be if you don’t train your employees and they stay.   If you plan to invest in training your employees make sure you can share your business plan with them.   Your business plan should show how you plan to expand your organizational chart and the opportunities they have if they are willing to grow with the business.  Your goal should be to offer opportunities that are mutually beneficial to the employee as well as the company.

 

If you want to step back make sure your business and the new leader are ready first

Remodeling company leadershipBefore you as the leader can step away from your business the business needs to have a new leader already in place.   Many business owners are forced back into leading and managing their businesses because the person they hired to do so did not have adequate leadership skills and or wasn’t yet seen as the leader by the other employees.   Don’t make this mistake at your business.  Before you step away make sure there is a successful transition of leadership from you to the new leader; in the eyes of the employees as well as your customers.  Also, make sure you have a way to measure the performance of the business and the leader before you pull away.   Again I suggest you have this in place and confirm it is working before you transition out of your office and your roles at the business.

 

 

         

Topics: Business Management, Worker Training, Recruting, Business Growth, Business Planning, Leadership, Sage Advice

Do You Do A Better Job Picking Lumber Than You Do Picking Employees?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jan 14,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Contractors: Do You Do A Better Job Picking Lumber Than You Do Picking Employees?

Lots of contractors these days complain that they can’t find any good help.  Others complain they can’t get the help they do have to do good work and or be conscientious employees.  These contractors claim their workers just don’t have the skills, attitudes and or behaviors the business owner desires.  It would seem, at least in my opinion, that these contractors are rationalizing why it’s their employees who are at fault for this, when in reality it’s the business owner who interviewed and hired the employees.

 

Hiring good construction workers

 

Here’s an analogy for you. 

Choosing employees is a lot like choosing lumber.   Like lumber, employees are available in different grades.   If you want good quality lumber you need to know where to go to get it and you will have to accept the fact that the better grade will cost more money than the lower grade.

 

Are you making do with what you have in stock?

Hiring construction workersIf you buy straight, clean and clear lumber, decking for example, you can quickly install the decking because you won’t have to straighten out each piece as you go.   Also, you won’t have to worry about trying to hide any imperfections like loose knots, wane or checks.  On the other hand if you buy (hire) a lower quality decking (employee) you will need to do the best you can with what you bought (hired).   And, with low quality employees or lumber, you ultimately won’t know what finished quality you can expect until you are done doing the best you can with what you have to work with.

 

Does this make sense to you?

Why is it then that so many contractors make personal trips down to the lumberyard to pick up and pick out the specific materials they want to build with, but spend little time or effort choosing the right employees?   Why will a contractor buy the best materials for the job but then make do with poor or average quality labor to install those materials?

I think it’s mostly because contractors have no idea how to recruit, interview and hire properly.   These same contractors learned how to hold up and “eye” a piece of framing lumber.    A similar concept can be used to qualify and pick out the right employees.


Shouldn’t you be committed to being a business owner, too?

Hiring a carpenter

 

For the most part contractors gain and master all the required trade skills because someone first taught them the skills and because they have purposely practiced those learned skills with the honorable desire to become craftsman.  In my opinion this same process and commitment should apply regarding learning business skills; like hiring employees.   A good business manager must first learn the skills required to properly recruit, interview and hire the right employees.  Then, they must have actual experience using these skills so they can apply what they have learned and eventually become successful at doing them.  


So, like lumber, you can bring low quality or discount employees onto the job.   But, if you do, you will also have to spend extra time trying to “straighten each one out” and to make sure you “hide their flaws” so they will look acceptable when the home owner comes around to see how things are going.

As a construction business owner the quality of your employees, just like the quality of your work, is your full responsibility.

 

Related Articles:

Is He Or She Really A Lead Carpenter?  Probably Not!

Successfully Grow Your Business By Creating a Ladder of Opportunity For Employees

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to Contractors:  Start Hiring Convicted Felons!

Mentor Me, Please - Gen Y Business Owner Offers Peers Advise on How to Learn From Craftsmen


Topics: Hiring and Firing, Recruting, Team Building

All I want for Christmas… Is a Real Production Manager!

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Dec 19,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Steve St Onge

 

Guest Blogger:  Steve St. Onge founded RI Kitchen & Bath, an award-winning design/build residential and light commercial remodeling company located in Warwick RI specializing in kitchens, baths, and multi-trade interior renovation projects.  Steve contacted me about help finding a production manager, so I convinced him to do this guest blog as a way to find a good candidate.  Steve can be reached via email at Steve@rikb.com

 

 

All I want for Christmas… Is a Real Production Manager!

Dear Santa Series

 

OK, so why is it so hard to find a complete package???

I want an employee who has:

  • A complete understanding of residential construction including knowledge about the challenges of older homes – say built before 1940, and also a working knowledge of current building code. 
  • A person with field installation experience so they understand just how long a task should take and what a quality fit and finish really looks like.
  • A people person – someone who can assemble and motivate a team of skilled professionals to complete projects on time, as well as maintaining a professional, respectful and solid working relationship with the architects and sales and design team that brought the project to us in the first place, with the ability to overcome challenges of missing information or changes, along with that all important trait of empathy for the client’s experience.
  • Production Manager wantedA communicator -someone who can exchange ideas, and be open to other’s solutions in addition to being able to clearly articulate their ideas through verbal and written channels in a timely and responsive manner.
  • A problem averter, not just a problem solver, because once there is a problem, it is too late.  This has to be someone that has vision and can plan and then implement that plan.
  • A detail person, someone who is organized, doesn’t lose the details and can create spreadsheets and collate data to analyze the stats and make adjustments to stay on schedule or increase efficiencies.
  • A tech savvy person, who understands how to leverage technology and use it in new and creative ways to manage multiple projects and tasks at the same time.
  • A student- someone who wants to continue to learn, and grow and accept new challenges.
  • A teacher- someone who is willing and able to share their knowledge to help others.
  • A happy person with good manners and a pleasant demeanor - someone you would invite to dinner.

Is this too much to ask?   I’ve been good….  Really.

 Production manager wanted

 

This is the second blog article in the "All I want for Christmas" series here at the Design/Builders Blog.

If you would like to contribute a guest blog for the Design/Builders Blog email Shawn with your suggest topic.

 

Topics: Fun Stuff, Hiring and Firing, Recruting, Production Considerations, Guest Blogs

How Joe Is Keeping Customers Happy As The Remodeling Economy Rebounds

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 25,2013 @ 06:00 AM

How One Contractor Is Keeping His Prospects and Customers Happy As The Economy Rebounds

Busy Contractor

 

As the remodeling marketplace picks up the amount of work a business owner must get done is also picking up.  The challenges of keeping up can become multifold depending on the type of work you sell.  For example, for many full service remodelers, not only is the number of projects increasing, so is the average project size and therefore the number of details to be handled for each project.  If you downsized your staff during the recession to control costs you might want to consider staffing up again if you want to keep your customers happy and help your prospects make quicker buying decisions.  Another good reason might be that you want to have a social life again someday.


One contractor’s success story

Joe Levitch of Levco BuildersOne of my coaching/mentoring clients, Joe Levitch of Levco Builders LLC in Boise ID, recently shared with me that he was having challenges getting prospects to pick out products and make decisions during the design phase.  This prevented him from finishing up their agreements in a timely manner and getting new jobs started.   He was also having problems finding the time for ordering and procuring products during production as well as closing out jobs due to the number of small details to be managed at the end.  All of this was getting in the way of Joe growing his business and being able to keep up with the pace of sales.   He shared with me that worrying about getting everything done was often times getting in the way of being “fully present” at meetings with clients and prospects. Joe referred to it as feeling like spinning plates in the air.  He said he didn’t want to get to a point where he dreaded another new lead phone call coming in and wanted to be sure he served his clients in the best way possible.

To address his challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of a recovering marketplace Joe created a job description detailing the help and skills he was expecting and used it to recruit and hire the right person to add to his team to work with him and his clients.  By working together with his new hire Joe reports that he now has time to work on the future while his new office person works on the current. 

So far so good

Creating happy remodeling customersThe changes Joe has made provide a better level of service and attention to current prospects and customers, and, at the same time, gives Joe the time and ability to also fully focus while meeting with new prospects for the first time.  By sharing the workload with the right person and using the right process Joe has improved the service his company delivers and his customers are very happy.  He says he now looks forward to working with new prospects as their calls keep rolling in.

 

 

Topics: New Business Realities, Success Strategies, Recruting, Business Growth, Sales Considerations, Mentoring/Coaching, Customer Relations