Subscribe to the Design/Builders Blog

The Design Builder's Blog

Elements To Consider To Achieve The Right Construction Office Design Layout

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

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

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

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


1. The Size of Your Team

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

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


Office space planning for contractors2. The Nature of the Work

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

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


3. The Views of Employees

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

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


4. The Personality of Your Team

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

Office space layout for contractors

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

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

 

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

 

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

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.

Related Articles:

 

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.

Related Article:

 

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

What’s the Difference Between a Production Manager and a Production Supervisor?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jan 12,2016 @ 05:30 AM

What’s the Difference Between a Production Manager and a Production Supervisor?

differences between a production manager and a production supervisorAs a remodeling contractor seeks to grow his or her business past a million dollars it’s important to bring someone on to help with getting the work done. Without doing so the business owner can quickly become overwhelmed wearing too many hats.   At this stage in business it’s important to decide whether you want to hire a Production Supervisor or a Production Manager. Before making the decision be clear on the difference between the two and how you should decide.

 

What is a Production Supervisor?

A Production Supervisor supervises the work to be completed as well as the employees and other workers doing the work.   The key word here is supervises.  

With a Production Supervisor on-staff employees performing the work typically have little authority to make decisions about how the work will be done, who will do what, and in what sequence the work should be performed.   All of those decisions are typically left up to the Production Supervisor.

what is a production supervisorWhen subcontractors become involved in the work they too will be supervised by the Production Supervisor. They will be required to contact the supervisor for project information, onsite decisions and to discuss solutions when challenges and or discrepancies occur at the jobsite.

If the home owner has questions, wants to make changes, and or is upset about something they too would typically be referred to the Production Supervisor.

This method of production management works well if your business relies heavily on subcontractors and or only hires carpenters with little or no project management experience. You might want to think of the production supervisor as sort of a baby sitter of both the job as well as the workforce used to complete the work. If you decide on using a production supervisor be sure to hire employees who are OK with being supervised all the time and are not interested in career advancement.

 

What is a Production Manager?

Unlike a Production Supervisor a Production Manager manages the work and the workers involved in completing projects. The key word here is manages.

With a Production Manager on-staff employees working on the job should have the skills and or be trained to independently follow written work orders. They should also have the skills to make on-the-job decisions about how the work will be done, what equipment is needed, when to order materials to maintain efficiency and what to do when common challenges and discrepancies occur. To facilitate this ability many remodeling companies hire or create real lead carpenters.

lead carpenter system for business owner workshop click here

When subcontractors become involved in the work they are typically managed by the on-site project foreman or the Lead Carpenter. Onsite decisions and discussion about challenges or discrepancies with their contracted work descriptions are commonly solved right at the job site. This can be very cost effective because the Lead Carpenter or foreman is already at the jobsite, saving hours of commuting time and other related costs for the Production Manager.

what is a Production ManagerIf the home owner has questions, wants to make changes, and or is upset about something, again those things are typically handled right at the jobsite. The Lead Carpenter can reach out to the Production Manager for things outside of his expertise or authority.

This method of production management only works well if your business hires and or trains field staff to take on project management responsibilities. You might want to think of the Production Manager as the Production Mentor.  In addition to organizing project schedules and securing the right resources so site employees can be successful, the production manager is also typically responsible to mentor the company’s field staff so he or she isn’t required to supervise at the job site. If you decide on using a Production Manager be sure to hire employees who have the cognitive ability and desire to learn project management skills.

 

Related articles:

Topics: Team Building, Business Growth, Production Considerations, Leadership, Definitions

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

Sign up to join our mailing list

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

Building the Right Team: How to Work With the Architect, Subs & Designers

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Feb 13,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Building the Right Team: How to Work With the Architect, Subs & Designers

Working with an architectAs a contractor, you know that building a custom home or doing a major remodel is not a one-person job. You need to work with an architect, an interior designer, one or more sub-contractors and any number of laborers—and, of course, the homeowner. Getting everyone on the same page can be the difference between an amazing house and a patchwork disaster.

 

Who’s the Boss?

The buck stops with the owner. The one who is paying for the work is the top dog, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Hurricane-torn Florida has some of the strictest construction laws in the nation, so let’s use it as our model. A full construction team may consist of an architect or engineer, a building contractor and an interior designer. The contractor may hire subcontractors. All of these people are, in some ways, like employees of the owner.

At the top of the chain is the architect. Since he or she is the one who has taken the owner’s ideas and turned them into schematics, all significant changes need to go through him (or her). These changes are done via a written document called a change order. The use of a change order is important and often costs money, so get agreement from the owner and interior designer before you issue one.

 

The Social Aspect

Working with design professionalsIn a study about collaboration, students from the architecture, interior design and construction schools of Mississippi State University were blended into different collaborative groups, ranging from highly engaged to mainly separated. The findings showed that the groups with the most social interaction had the most creative outcomes, though not the fastest completion rates.

Bring your construction team and your interior designer together for coffee and make them talk. With construction, speed is not necessarily your friend. Some jobs take time to do them right. If your people cannot find the time to sit and understand the project, then they will not have the time to do the job correctly. For example, a designer working with a contractor on windows and lighting might meet at a Shade Store showroom to point out ideas as they discuss them. They do not need to become fast friends, but they do need to work together on a creative level.

 

The Subs

Working with sub contractorsMost contractors do not have a licensed person on their team who can handle all the components of a construction job. For roofing, foundations, plumbing and electrical, they will usually subcontract to a licensed professional and or expert. In many cases, the interior designer may be a subcontractor of the lead contractor, making him the designer’s de facto boss. Whichever way you structure the construction process, you have some legal issues to handle. Make sure to meet with and manage your subs since, at the end of the day, you are responsible for paying them.

 

Paul Reyes-Fournier

 

Guest Blogger: Paul Reyes-Fournier has served as the chief financial officer for social service organizations, churches and schools. He created his own marketing firm, RF Media. Paul holds a BS in physics and an MBA.

 

 

Topics: Team Building, Production Considerations, Guest Blogs, Building Relationships, Subcontractor Considerations, Working with Design Professionals

Breaking Past $1M in Remodeling: Getting Ready To Do It

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sat, Jan 10,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Breaking Past $1M in Remodeling: Getting Ready To Do It

We_Broke_1_Million-wr

 

(Note: This is the third 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 article in the series that have been published so far.)

In a previous article I discussed how important it is that a remodeler decides whether he or she wants to remain a contractor or become a construction business owner before passing the $1 Million threshold in remodeling. Again, either choice can be a good one, but if you want to keep growing your business and offer growth opportunities to great employees, you need to become a construction business owner.

In yet another article I stressed the point that putting off that decision can lead you and your business from controlled chaos into disorganized chaos. The disorganized chaos happens because the labor intensive and disparate systems being used that got the business to $1M are no longer adequate to handle the increase in activities that come with the additional growth and inherent risk.  You can read my article titled "Invest In Your Remodeling Business Now Or Pay Forever" for more on this topic.

 

Before you decide to become a construction business owner

Becoming a construction business owner can be very rewarding for many reasons.   It’s also not a very easy thing to do successfully. It will take time, money, patience, vision, leadership skills and diligence.   Before you make the jump check out the business owner considerations and the business goals below. These are the kinds of things you will need to work on to help get yourself and your business on the path to successfully break past $1M and increase profits at the same time you grow.

Remember, growing your business faster than your systems can handle is the most common reason for construction business failure.

 

Business Owner Considerations during the Take-Off Stage:

  • Remodeler training for business growthOwners should seek to put a more refined structure in place for the purpose of better, faster, and more accurate information. This is a critical step towards the owner’s ability to evolve away from the micromanagement of employees.
  • The owner should develop measurement milestones and incremental check points relative to a achieving a refined long term vision for the business.
  • The owner must learn to recognize, adapt to and take advantage of changes in the market place, because a lot of changes will happen over the time it takes to grow the business.
  • The owner should seek to add mid level management employees as soon as possible assuming earned gross profit and/or reserve funds can support the required overhead.
  • The owner must focus on implementing critical and timely business adjustments identified by business reports, trends and the opportunities brought to light due to an advancing schema.

 

Goals during the Take-Off Stage:

  • Develop the ability to track business activities without relying on the hard drive capacity of the owner’s CPU (brain and memory).
  • Start the process of developing written job descriptions for how business should be happening.
  • Increased use of standard repeatable methods and create supporting documentation and forms.
  • Remodeler financial reportsGive salespeople the support they need to support sales less on their own, sell more and keep them selling profitably.
  • Develop standard contracts and agreements, reviewed by legal counsel to protect the business.
  • The ability to collect supporting data company wide electronically.
  • The ability to manipulate and interpret the data.
  • Add and ramp up a full time sales person to relieve the owner of some sales volume, allowing the owner to concentrate on other high level activities.
  • Train and allow lead carpenters to be owners of their projects and managers in the field.
  • Identify a production manager candidate, preferably from within the existing lead carpenters.
  • Mentor the production manger candidate into a full time role.
  • Accumulate cash reserves adequate to finance your ability to grow into the next stage.

 

Topics: Business Management, Success Strategies, Team Building, Business Growth, Business Planning, Leadership, Sage Advice, Breaking $1Million

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

Benefits Of Helping Lead Carpenters Become Managers

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Sep 17,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Helping Lead Carpenters Become Managers Benefits Them And The Business

Why use lead carpenters

 

As a construction company moves into a true Lead Carpenter system, managers and lead carpenters may become confused and insecure with the idea that the lead carpenter isn’t always “working” or “productive”; at least in the traditional sense.  Knowing in advance that this can actually happen is a great way of avoiding the confusion and insecurities.  A lead carpenter in training might not necessarily like what’s happening, but being forewarned and understanding that this is a typical side effect helps to relieve the stress and speed up the transition.

 

Motivating them to make the changes

It’s a fact of human nature for any of us; being required to leave our comfort zone for a new way of doing things creates resistance.  You can defuse that resistance by helping your leads discover the new opportunities this change can bring about for them as well as your business.

 

For them: A chance to create their own destiny:

lead carpenter system benefitsWith the right manager and company, a good lead carpenter has a huge opportunity for personal and professional growth. Proper training as well as the ability to implement what is learned creates many opportunities for a lead carpenter. As we implemented the system at my remodeling company, our leads discovered that this new role generated a variety of benefits for them. For example; our leads discovered that they could delegate to others those activities that they preferred not to do.  At first this included activities like roofing, insulation and siding. Soon they discovered that if they could find a landscape subcontractor to supply laborers to dig footing holes, they no longer had to dig those holes (provided the cost was within the project’s budget, including the lead’s management time).

For the Lead Carpenter it created a way to control what they did and didn’t do on each project. They also recognized that they had more physical energy left on Friday afternoon. This was an immediate benefit to their social and family lives, but was also a long-term benefit in terms of their careers. Mastering a lead carpenter system certainly can prepare that person for future management roles, or simply allow a carpenter’s body to make it until retirement.

Benefits to the business:

Mastering a lead carpenter system

 

 

As a company, we discovered that these personal benefits for our leads had created other residual beneficial effects we had not originally anticipated. This type of delegation quickly became a way of doing business.  As the company grew, the need for more subcontractors grew as well. Soon our leads were finding, qualifying and developing relationships with new subs.  They were also helping us find good carpenters to hire who also wanted to become lead carpenters.  The benefits to the business were many…  

 

Some of the benefits my company came to realize included:

  1. The ability to grow the business quickly but with control
  2. More sub contractors to choose from, particularly when current subs can’t meet the scheduling requirements of a growing company
  3. Higher volume of production without increasing the number of production employees
  4. Why use a lead carpenter systemFewer risks of losing and replacing in-house production employees
  5. Subs observe your company style and culture, like it, buy into it, and might even consider becoming an employee
  6. Provides a great way to discover and observe potential employees
  7. Might unleash hidden talents in your current employees
  8. Customers will love the efficiency and quality of an organized and talented production team
  9. Customer satisfaction is easier to achieve
  10. Customers want “their lead carpenter” to return for their next project
  11. The business makes more money
  12. The owner and management staff can concentrate their efforts on other pressing issues or new business opportunities

 

lead carpenter system for business owner workshop click here

 

Topics: Success Strategies, Team Building, Lead Carpenter System, Customer Relations, Keeping More Money, Creating Referrals

10 Steps To Building A Successful Construction Company

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jul 16,2013 @ 06:00 AM

10 Steps To Building A Successful Construction Company In The New Economy

For the last five years or so many construction business owners were operating their businesses in survival mode. With the economy improving and residential construction activity picking up many contractors will be looking to grow their businesses again.  If you are looking to grow your business here is my list of 10 steps contractors should take to make the switch from surviving to thriving. 

10 Steps to successfully growing your construction business

 

10 Steps to successfully growing your business

  1. You can't do it all; no matter how much you try.  Find the right people with the right skills and personalities to be part of your team.
  2. Employee training for contractorsHire and properly train employees before you already need them and their required skills up and running.  
  3. You are not the Energizer Bunny!  Make sure you have a plan for recharging your batteries and keeping up the motivation you will need to make your dream business happen.
  4. Work on your leadership skills and make sure you understand the difference between leadership and management.   Good employees want to be lead, not supervised.
  5. Be careful about and watch your overhead expenses.   Many construction businesses failed during the recession because they could not cover the cost of the overhead they were committed to.
  6. Know the costs of doing more business before you do more business so you can use the right markup to price your jobs profitably.
  7. Business overhead for contractorsBefore you actually increase your overhead costs test the marketplace you plan to work in to make sure you can sell at the increased pricing you'll need and can sell enough work at that price.   Consider if you are in the right market to do business but also if you have the right marketing and sales skills in place.
  8. Be sure to price your work for the actual costs you will incur at the time you produce it.   Labor and many material costs are expected to go up dramatically before the end of the year.   If you like the idea of an extended backlog of work find a way to protect your planned profits from escalating costs.
  9. Know your limits.  Do what you can yourself but get the professional help you need to do things right; to avoid costly mistakes, increase the likelihood of success and maximize the results for your all your efforts.
  10. Revisit number one above.   Share your plan and your measurables with someone who can and you will allow to hold you accountable to following your plan and achieving your goals.  Make them part of your team.

 

One more thing; Make sure you are thinking about retirement

retirement for contractors

 

A recent study by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that the median retirement savings of households nearing retirement is just $12,000.   What would you think of a business owner, ready to retire, who only had $12K saved for retirementIf you sell your work and services on price, consider that you are contributing to your customers' retirement funds at the expense of your own!

Subscribe to the Design/Builders Blog

Money is made during the sale, not during production!

 

download free business assessment worksheet

 

Topics: Success Strategies, Team Building, Business Growth, Mentoring/Coaching, Business Planning, Leadership, Sage Advice

After Bad Experience Contractor Shares Thoughts With His Employees

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 13,2013 @ 06:00 AM

After Bad Experience At His Own Home, Contractor Shares Thoughts With His Employees

Tim Piendel of GreatHouse Atlanta

 

Guest Blogger: Tim Piendel is the Principal of GreatHouse Atlanta, a full service design/build remodeling firm serving north metro Atlanta. Reach him at tim@greathouse-atl.com or 678.352.1035.

 

 

 

Back story to this guest blog

Contractor email to employeesTim is one of my coaching/mentoring clients.  We have been working together to help Tim grow his business and put a plan in place so he can slowly reduce his day to day involvement by empowering current and new employees as his business evolves.   Tim shared the email below with me after sending it to his employees.  In the email Tim shares a challenge he had with a painting contractor doing work at his own home as a way to help his employees understand how GreatHouse wants to build and protect its brand.  With his permission I am sharing it with you.

 

Here is Tim’s email text.


ALL GreatHouse Employees and Subcontractors:

I just wanted to share with you an experience I recently had with a contractor since I don't want this happening with our jobs. It is my intention to stay successfully in business and I want you to be part of that success.

Here's the story…

Just recently I had some painting work done on my home. There were two parts to the project, a preparation and a completion. The contractor came to my home and performed the first part of the project but did a poor job. I pointed it out and gave the person a chance to fix it but I was given excuses. I talked it over with my wife and we fixed part of the project ourselves and called the contractor back to fix the issue. They came back and saw what a corrected preparation should be like but offered no apologies, just excuses. They finished the preparation fine after that, but I, as a homeowner had to initiate it. 

The next step was to complete the project. This was an exterior project so it was expected they would not be here when the rain had made completing the project impractical. However, there was no call. Kind of obvious, but still, a courtesy call is always welcome. The next day came and was ideal for completing the work. However, the contractor was a no show and a no call. This is unacceptable. Now, with rain coming in again, the project was delayed another week. At this point, as a homeowner, I am frustrated, mad, and have lost confidence in the contractor. This all could have been remedied with a simple communication. 

Lessons learned…

1. NO MATTER WHAT THE JOB, DO IT RIGHT! Shoddy workmanship always cost you more in the long run. Return trips always cost more in dollars and confidence.

2. DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. APOLOGIZE AND MOVE ON! A customer does not want to hear excuses; they just want honesty and closure. Besides, you'll dig yourself a deeper hole.

3. YOU CANNOT OVER COMMUNICATE!!!!!! Call, text, email…whatever is appropriate, but do so promptly and often.

4. AGAIN, YOU CANNOT OVER COMMUNICATE!!!!! When you don’t call to say where you are and they are expecting you, they are just sitting there boiling and waiting to pounce on you and make your job harder and unpleasant.

You may think that your job is only to complete your service or product but that is only part of it. We are PRIMARILY in the customer service business. We have fabulous clients! By the nature of our business, we are invited into people’s homes and we must respect their rules and timing. We must earn and keep their trust. They must have CONFIDENCE that we will complete the project correctly, on time and on budget. That's what we do.

Thank you for your time. As always, feel free to contact me with any question or comments. I want all of us to be successful. I am willing to help anyone that needs help.

'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.' - Aristotle

 

Thanks,

Tim Piendel

 

GreatHouse Atlanta wr


Topics: Team Building, Differentiating your Business, Production Considerations, Mentoring/Coaching, Guest Blogs, Building Relationships, Marketing Considerations, Culture, Customer Relations, Sage Advice