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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

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

Three Reasons I’ll Be Attending The Professional Remodeler Leadership Tour

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Jun 01,2015 @ 12:35 PM

Three Reasons I’ll Be Attending The Professional Remodeler Leadership Tour

Eastern MA NARI MeetingMy Local NARI Chapter, Eastern MA NARI, will be hosting Professional Remodeler Magazine’s Leadership Tour this Wednesday night in Natick MA at the VERVE Crowne Plaza Hotel.   Always a good event with great food, this year’s tour is under the new leadership of Sal Alfano, the magazine’s new Editorial Director. Below are the three reasons I’ll be going again this year. I hope you will join me Wednesday night.

 

PR-LeadershipTour-logo-wr

 

Reason #1: Great food, door prizes and networking all at a great price

Attending the event is only $15. There will be some great door prizes and the food alone will be worth the price to register. However the networking might be the biggest value. This event attracts remodeling industry leaders from the area. It’s a great opportunity to hang out and chat with other remodeling industry professionals including contractors, trade partners and vendors. By networking with other attendees you can find the information and resources your business needs to stay ahead as a leader in the marketplace. Depending on who you are, you can find other people and business to buy from or sell to.   I find it is a great way for me to spend time with my current clients and get introduced to their referrals.

 

Reason #2: Great Education

In addition to vendor displays, where you can see new products and speak with the manufacturers, the event this year will include two speakers and timely topics.  

David Mayer, Director of Marketing for Houzz will share how new tools, like Houzz, have changed the way homeowners find and choose professionals and vendors, and how you can use Houzz more effectively to market and build your business. I for one am curious on how Houzz defines a “professional” and how they keep non-professionals off their site.

Mark Richardson, well know industry speaker will present "Creating a World Class Team" Covering such topics as: People are your greatest assets; Culture eats strategy for lunch; Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em; Become a magnet for talent; and Great businesses begin with great leaders.

 

Reason #3: Recognizing Remodeling Industry Leaders.

Sal Alfano

 

After some food, drinks, education and networking a good friend of mine, Sal Alfano, will be recognizing the local winners of the Professional Remodeler Market Leaders Awards which identifies the top remodelers in the major markets in the nation. Winners are selected through a combination of research by Professional Remodeler staff, publicly available data, and information provided by the remodeling firms.

 

The event starts at 5:30, or come early for the Kohler Bold Experience Tour!

The main event starts at 5:30, click here to register. Come at 3:30 PM and hop onboard the brand new Kohler truck in the parking lot to see their world-class products, including toilet innovations and performance showers with Choreograph Shower Walls and accessories. While there be sure to enter their drawing to win a free Kohler Moxie Shower Head or Touchless Toilet Kit.

 

 

Topics: Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Trade Associations, Leadership

Thoughts on Choosing a MA CSL Renewal Class and Instructor

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Mar 02,2015 @ 08:26 AM

Thoughts on Choosing a MA CSL Renewal Class and Instructor

Best MA CSL renewal classesChoosing your MA CSL renewal class simply by price or location may not be a good investment for some MA CSL license holders. Sure, you may get the credits you need, but why not also seek to increase the return on investment of your hard earned money!

Here are a few things to consider before you choose which class you will sign up for.

 

Different trainers offer different classes and subjects.  

Some trainers offer classes that concentrate on trade skills. Others offer classes that concentrate on building code and or energy code requirements and amendments. On the other hand we have decided to concentrate our classes on helping contractors charge and keep more money by helping them with the way they run their businesses and how they manage construction. One of our 6 hour CSL Classes titled Estimating, Pricing and Producing Successful Construction Projects covers ways contractors can be accurate about pricing their projects, write proposals that help sell work and assemble job packages crews can build from on their own so the owner can concentrate on selling another job.

I find it amazing how many attendees don’t even know what topic will be covered when they get to the class they had signed up for. Before you choose a class to renew a MA CSL first consider the topic being offered. As a business owner you may want to take a business related class but send your licensed production employees to a different class.

Cheap MA CSL renewal classes

Make sure you get the right number and categories of credits you need

Depending on your license type you will need either 6, 10 or 12 credits to renew your MA CSL. Check out this link for a full explanation of how many credits each CSL License type requires.

Although the number of credits needed differs by license type, all three license types require the license holder obtains credits in certain topic areas called categories. The list of required categories is different the first time you renew than subsequent renewals. Make sure the class or classes you take will give you the right credits to renew.   Check out this link for clarification about the required CSL Credit hour categories.

 

Some trainers have more experience than others

Two things to think about regarding the trainer you choose.

Shawn McCadden CSL classesThe first is whether the class instructor is experienced as a teacher and can effectively help you and or your employees learn the topic at hand. Some trainers have degrees in education and lots of previous experience actually teaching.   Other trainers lack the skills and or experience needed to help you actually understand and then apply what you learn in class in the real world. I suggest you choose a trainer with a proven educational background. If you don’t already have past experience with the trainer and his/her abilities, referrals and or testimonials from past attendees can be a big help when making your selection.

The second important consideration about choosing a trainer is the level of actual practical experience that trainer has had using and or performing the skills being taught.  In my opinion too many trainers have read the book on how to do something and then decided to teach about it. If the instructor lacks practical experience he or she may actually be misleading the attendees. We are seeing a lot of this now that contractors and workers are renewing their RRP certifications at our RRP Refresher classes. Many attendees share they are very disappointed when we tell them the information and guidance they got form a previous instructor was incorrect and has cost them a lot of money and or put them at risk for potential fines.

 

Renewing your MA CSL takes up a lot of your time.

Cheapest MA CSL Classes

If you have to do it anyway why not maximize the value of your time and the money you spend by being strategic about the topics and instructor you choose? By doing so the money you spend will be an investment, instead of an expense.

 

 

Topics: Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Worker Training, Earning More Money

Breaking Past $1M At Your Remodeling Business: The Set Up

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jan 06,2015 @ 09:59 AM


Breaking 1 Million in Remodeling

 

(Note: This is the seventh article in a series of articles written specifically for remodelers who want to successfully break past doing $1M/year in installed sales. Click here to see a list of all the articles in the series that have been published.)


As a remodeling business seeks to grow past the $1million a year threshold things can very difficult for most business owners.  Taking the jump can even be fatal for the business. I call it the “Take-Off Stage” because either the business takes off successfully, or it doesn’t.


The typical challenges most owners experience during this transition include having the right skills to make the jump successfully and getting it done quickly enough.  The growth has to happen quickly enough so the increased volume produces the gross profit needed to cover the additional related overhead expenses required to first make the jump and to sustain it.



At the doorstep of approximately $1M remodelers must make a decision

How to be a $1M RemodelerWill they remain contractors or will they become construction business owners? 

Either is a good choice, but being a construction business owner is much more involved.  It can also be much more profitable.


In January this year Mark Paskell from the Contractor Coaching Partnership and I will be offering a Construction Business Owner Education and Peer Group Program created specifically for remodeling business owners looking for help making the $1M jump.  We purposely decided to target this volume demographic of contractors. It’s the best time to introduce the structural and behavioral changes the business and the owner will both need to make.  

 



Growing past the $1M mark without putting significant changes into place is a huge risk

The reason most small businesses fail is not because they are not profitable, but rather because they grow faster than the business can successfully implement the systems needed to manage that growth.

 
Want help making the $1M Jump?

If you what help here is what I am setting up to help you.  Over the next two weeks or so I will be publishing blog topics specifically written to help remodelers who want to grow past $1Million a year.  In the next article I will share the typical characteristics of the Take-Off Stage.   After that article I will share some important considerations for the business owner and a list of goals the business and the owner should consider committing to and working on to get ready for the growth. 
fitting_the_gears-wr

Then, following those articles I will post a series of articles.  Each article will specifically discuss one of the seven business systems I have identified as critical to the successful and profitable growth of a remodeling business.  Again each one will be written for the purpose of helping remodelers with what they will need to consider and put in place to help them break $1M profitably.

 


The list of systems to be discussed will include:

  1. Financial
  2. Marketing
  3. Design
  4. Sales
  5. Production
  6. Personnel
  7. Communications.


If you haven’t already done so subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss a single article.

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Topics: Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Success Strategies, Business Growth, Earning More Money, Business Planning, Breaking $1Million

Invest In Your Remodeling Business Now, Or Pay Forever

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Jan 05,2015 @ 05:00 AM

Invest In Your Remodeling Business Now, Or Pay Forever


Business improvements for remodelers

 

The New Year is here again. For many it’s a time to plan and make commitments for the changes and improvements needed to make the coming year better than the last.  Then there are the remodelers who say they and their companies are too busy working to take the time to remodel their own businesses. What they may not know is that if they don’t invest now to either train employees or restructure their businesses, they will be paying for not doing so for a long time to come.


What am I referring to?

  • I'm talking about proactively taking a look at how efficiently you run your company in order to get better returns on your investment of time, money and focus.
  • I am talking about assessing your company's cost effectiveness and taking into account if employees are properly trained to do their jobs so you don’t have to micromanage them.
  • I’m also talking about creating the ability to actually be “present” when you sit down to have dinner with your family or attend your child’s soccer game.

Retirement planning for remodeling business ownersYou can invest now to train managers or employees and to rework structural shortcomings within your business.  Or you can pay forever by running a shoddy show that won't give you the financial returns that it takes to stay in business and retire before your body eventually gives out.

If you don't do it now, how much profit will you possibly lose until you do set a plan into action?  If you don’t do it now how much will your procrastination cost you over the coming years you are in business; including the compounded interest you could have earned each year towards your eventual retirement? 

I know many remodelers who have no retirement funds at all.  How about you?


Don’t forget about lost opportunities

By sticking with the status quo many business owners are also missing out on opportunities they could have concentrated on if they were not constantly dealing with and fixing the same problems over and over again. For example, at a recent workshop for remodeling business owners I broke the attendees out into several groups and asked them to assess their business’ current status. One group of eight remodelers agreed their production slippage problems hurt them financially at a cost of at least 10% of total volume each year.

I then asked them to reference that in the point of view of being a $1 million/year company. They agreed this 10 percent production slippage loss would equal a $100,000 deficit each year. Would you want that to happen or keep happening at your business?


Here is a tough question to ponder

Does your spouse or significant other know you have such opportunities to make and keep more money?   Or, are you hiding that fact from them and others so you don’t have to recognize and address the shortcomings of your business and or your business acumen?

It's up to you. You can pay now, or you can pay forever.

Topics: Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Worker Training, Careers in Construction, Business Growth, Retirement Planning, Earning More Money, Production Considerations, Business Planning, Leadership, Sage Advice

Eastern MA NARI Chapter to Help Contractors Remodel Their Businesses

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, May 11,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Eastern MA NARI Chapter to Help Contractors Remodel Their Businesses

Remodeling a construction business

Consumers remodel their homes when things get outdated and or systems no longer serve their purpose.   Properly designed, new systems and modern technologies can make living at their home more enjoyable and lower ownership costs.  Done well remodeling can also help make the home last longer and weather any storm.   The same can be true for a contractor’s business. Outdated business systems that used to work when the company was smaller and the economy was better should be replaced if the business owner is not enjoying adequate profits and a desirable quality of life.  Bringing new technologies into the business can also lower overhead costs and streamline business processes.

Many remodelers can help home owners design and remodel their homes.  But how many remodelers know how to design and remodel their businesses?   If home owners seek the advice and expertise of a professional remodeler because they can't do it on their own, perhaps contractors who need help remodeling their business should follow their lead and get the help they need as well.

If you think back to all the reasons you decided to start your own business, are those things actually happening?  And, are you prepared to take advantage of an improving economy?

 

Eastern MA NARI ChapterHelp is available

If you need help designing a remodel for your construction or remodeling business the Eastern MA NARI Chapter will be offering some help to get you started.   Through a partnership with Professional Remodeler Magazine they will be offering my seminar titled "Designing and Remodeling Your Company to Last, Today and Into the Future".  

 

The learning objectives for this seminar will include:

  • Understanding the seven core business systems that your business can't live without and which ones your business should be concentrating on to achieve improved results.
  • Identify important considerations and organizational chart options your business can use to foster sustainable growth.
  • Using what you will learn to anticipate the coming changes and start preparing yourself, your business and your employees for successful and manageable growth.
  • Click here for a full description of this seminar

 

Professional Remodeler Leadership Your 2014 logo wrEvent and registration information

The seminar will be part of the Professional Remodeler Leadership Tour 2014 event being held at Bentley College in Waltham MA on Thursday May 21, 2014.  Both EMNARI members and non members are invited to attend.   Several other educational seminars will also be offered.  Speakers include Patrick O'Toole, Mark Richardson, Vince Nardo and several others.

 

Patrick O'Toole at Professional Remodeler asked me to get the word out that this event is not like others they have hosted in the past.  He promises a LIVELY and UPSCALE event. There will be some great prizes and the food and drink are all expected to be top-notch.

  Click here to view the event schedule and for attendee registration information.

 

 

Topics: New Business Realities, Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Success Strategies, Business Growth

Yellow Pad Estimating For Contractors: The Good and the Bad

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 22,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Yellow Pad Estimating For Contractors: The Good and the Bad

Yellow Pad Estimating

 

Many contractors start out estimating and learning how to estimate using what I refer to as the “Yellow Pad Method”.    Using paper and a pencil they can create estimates any time and on the fly.   However as the business grows, particularly when others take over the management and building of projects sold, the typical yellow pad estimate may not give the build team the information they need to build the project on their own.  Also, the information within the yellow pad estimate may not be in an intuitive and organized format, making it hard to find the information they need. 

I came to this realization as I built my company and eventually formalized my estimating method and started using a better tool to get it done.   I learned at lot by attending training seminars, reading articles and plenty of trial and error.  In this blog post I’ll share a little about what I learned during the evolution in hopes it will help your estimating evolve.  

I’ll even offer you a free copy of my recently updated Excel Estimating Spreadsheet Template.

 

The Good

Actually I think yellow pad estimating is the best way to learn how to estimate.   I say this because every time you do a new estimate you start out with a blank canvas.   This allows you to be creative and try new ways to estimate and organize your info each time you do one.  Using the yellow pad I learned how to do estimates in a variety of formats.   For example the information in the estimate could be listed in critical path order, the same order I promised my client and therefore wanted my production team to build it.  For another client I assembled the information room by room so they could decide what to do at a later date if the total cost came in higher than their current budget.

Using the yellow pad I could also do quick estimates for small projects on the fly.   This often allowed me to sell the job at the first visit as long as I could also easily write up my proposal ready for a signature.   That was back in the good old days when work was plenty and hand written proposals were the norm.

 

The Bad

Eventually I became frustrated with many of the limitations of using the yellow pad to estimate.  Here is a brief list of what I ran into that motivated me to make the switch to using Excel spreadsheets instead.

  • Yellow pad estimate methodI had to add up all the numbers with a calculator multiple times before having enough confidence to give it to my prospects because I didn’t always get the same number!
  • Cutting and pasting to insert missed tasks was literally cutting and pasting using scissors and tape.
  • If a prospect who several months back had said no to my price called back to go ahead, making updates to the estimate was not possible, I had to do it all over again.
  • If the customer wanted to make product substitutions or wanted suggestions to value engineer the project, to be confident about the price differences I had to do the estimate all over again for each option.
  • After hand writing the estimate and proposal me or my staff then had to also hand write out the sub contractor agreements and the materials lists.
  • When I had to do another estimate for a similar project trying to reuse an old estimate wasn’t as simple as copying and pasting or changing the quantities like it could be using a computer to do so.

 

Then I started using Excel to Estimate

McCadden's new estimate templateEventually, after a lot of experimenting using the yellow pad I eventually incorporated what I had learned into an Excel Estimating spreadsheet I created on my own.   Doing so definitely improved the speed and accuracy of my estimating methods.  The end result also provided the majority of information the production team needed so they could build the job without me around, leaving me time to sell more work.

For more on how I advanced my estimating methods and how I used the Excel estimating template check out this previous blog post titled Don’t Underestimate Your Estimating System’s Potential”.

Click on the button below to get my NEW UPDATED Estimating Template now!

free excel estimating template

 

 

Looking for help to improve your estimating?    

Check out these half-day hands on estimating workshops and dates:

Don't Underestimate Your Estimating System Workshop LEARN MORE

 

Topics: Remodeler Education, Estimating, Earning More Money, Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations

An Opportunity For Contractors Seeking To Remodel Their Businesses

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Mar 30,2014 @ 06:00 AM

An Opportunity For Contractors Seeking To Remodel Their Businesses

Boot Camp for contractors

Now that the economy seems to be improving and spring has sprung many contractors are seeing increase leads and sales as home owners are spending money on remodeling again.   Tired of living with their homes in their current condition, many home owners are once again investing in their homes to improve their lives.   Because home owners are now confident enough in the economy to pay contractors to improve their homes and change their lives, it’s also a good time and an opportunity for contractors to invest in and improve their businesses and their lives as well.   A Connecticut trade association and several well known businesses not only agree they are willing to help as well.

 

Starting on Thursday April 3rd, The Builders and Remodelers Association of Eastern Connecticut (BAEC) will be hosting a five week “Remodeling My Business” Spring Boot Camp at their Salem CT location. The boot camp sessions are being offered to association members and other serious contractors who want to invest in themselves and their businesses.  Only a limited number of attendees will be allowed to participate due to the cozy size of the association’s learning lab and registration is required.  

 

To make the boot camps possible these three businesses are investing in the event and their contractor customers 

Andersen Contractor Rewards

United Builders Supply

Andersen Windows Logo

Some thoughts about remodeling your business

Just like a home owner considering a project, the scope of work for making changes at your business will depend on how much of a change is desired.  Before you make any changes I suggest you consider whether your business only needs to remodel certain areas, needs a whole house remodel, or may be in poor enough shape that a tear down and rebuild makes the most sense.

Just like any other project it’s wise to first assess existing conditions, consider practical realities like available time and money, and put a plan together with a defined scope of work.  Then decide if you should build your project all at once or in phases.  Like a good builder however, a good business owner will begin the project always keeping the end result in mind.

 

Get the help you need to maximize your investment of time and money

Contractor Business Plan

 

If you are considering making improvements at your construction business this year make sure you get the help you need to do a proper design before you begin any changes.   Then look for industry best practices you can adopt into your business to help make the changes happen. To avoid false starts, frustration and reinventing the wheel, seek advice from experts in the industry who have already done it before.   Most of all make a commitment to invest the time and efforts needed to really do it and do it right.

If you want some help getting started and you live in or around the Salem Connecticut area consider attending these boot camp sessions. As you can see by the topic list below by attending all five sessions business owners will find plenty of helpful information and best practices across a wide variety of important construction business systems and functions.

 

BAEC Boot Camp Sessions Will Include:

BAEC Contractor boot camps by Shawn McCaddenSession #1: Thursday April 3, 2014 - Small Business Finances: Profit Strategies for Non-Accountants

Session #2: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - Choosing and Targeting the Right Customers and Project Types for Your Business

Session #3: Thursday, April 17, 2014 – Strategic Estimating: Know What You’re Selling Before You Sell It

Session #4: Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Smart Selling for Tough Times

Session #5: Thursday, May 1, 2014 – Production: You Sold It, Now You Have To Build It

 

 

Topics: Remodeler Education, Contractor Training, Business Management, Success Strategies, Business Growth

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