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Five Things I Wish the Remodeling Industry Would Change In 2016

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 02,2016 @ 09:59 AM

Five Things I Wish the Remodeling Industry Would Change In 2016, But won’t

Remodeling industry changesThe majority of remodeling contractors who participate in the remodeling industry are holding the industry back from becoming much more professional and successful.   Remodelers forever complain about what they perceive the government and even consumers do to them to make running a business and earning a profit difficult. However in many ways remodelers are their own worse enemies, creating problems for themselves and the industry by both their actions as well as their lack of action.   Below are just five things I wish all remodelers and the industry would change, but won’t.  

Before you check out my list keep this in mind.  If you’re a remodeler and you eliminate and or address most of these things in your business you will stand out as different.  You will also be more successful, be at much less risk and can also make much more money.


#1: Stop calling them estimates, they are not estimates

Home owners ask for estimates. In most cases they don’t want a guess, they want a fixed price. Next time a consumer asks for an estimate give them one right away; “That will cost somewhere between an arm and a leg depending on your final product selections”. Then help them discover what it will really take to help them assemble a fixed price for a fixed scope of work that meets their needs. Then let them know how your professional services can help them do so; and what you charge for those services. One way to explain it is your estimates are free, you charge to help develop solutions… (Check out this Design/Build Agreement)


#2: Calling Employees Lead Carpenters when they are not

Waht is a lead carpenter

Although most remodelers really don’t know what a true lead carpenter is many claim they have several on staff.   If you don’t believe me read this job description first, then ask a few to define the difference between a carpenter and a lead carpenter.  Giving the title to an employee who is not a true lead carpenter does a disservice to the employee and misleads consumers. It’s like passing off roof cement as a flashing. It’s just not right to do so if you are really a roofer. Becoming a Lead Carpenter is an accomplishment, let’s reserve the title for those who have earned it.

#3: Claiming to be Design/Builders when they are not

Like Yoda said; “Do or do not, there is no try”. You either are a Design/Builder or you are not. If you allow others to bid on and or build from your plans you are not a Design/Builder; that is something else. Decide what you are or will be. There is a big difference between Design/Build and design-bid. (Design/Build definition) Remember, in a bid situation it’s often the biggest loser who wins! If you hate bidding become a real Design/Builder. That’s what motivated me to become a Design/Builder when I had my business.

#4: Guessing at what markup to use

Surveys of the industry as well as my own experience show that at least 85% of remodeling contractors have no idea how to figure out what markup to use.   Our industry even has a name for this; “The Wild Ass Guess”. Sadly, many remodelers are even under the false impression that markup and margin mean the same thing! What does it say about an industry when so many of its business owners are ignorant about what they need to charge to be successful and profitable? (The Five Biggest Financial Related Mistakes Contractors Make)


#5: Tolerating illegally operating business

Number of illegal contractorsThere are probably more than one million remodeling businesses in the United States if you include those without payroll.   Sadly, I bet fewer than 20% operate completely legal. That’s probably why so many remodelers find some way to rationalize why they tolerate other illegal businesses; “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. Here is just a partial checklist you can use to self-assess: RRP, OSHA, permits, using 1099 workers, taking cash, proper licensing…   Need I go on?  (10 Steps To Building A Successful Construction Company)


What about you?   What would you like to see change in the remodeling industry? Please offer your perspectives by posting a comment, or two.


Topics: New Business Realities, Future of the Remodeling Industry, Differentiating your Business, Definitions