4 Steps To Better Job Scheduling

It’s a busy time in the remodeling industry, and more of your job leads are bouncing around multiple jobs — whether they’re Lead Carpenters or Project Managers. There are a lot of companies out there where leads are working on three to four jobs at a time, but are struggling to keep all the balls in the air.

The challenge is the need to have the lead on current jobs and new jobs and everywhere in between. You can use this system and still maintain some control, even when everyone is crazy busy.

The primary need is great scheduling. I think it’s obvious, but to have one person essentially running three or four jobs while getting some work done on all of them depends detailed scheduling. This great scheduling breaks down into four main parts.

No 1. Be Specific & Detailed

It’s vitally important to set daily goals. In each project phase, the people on the site know what has to be done by the end of that day to stay on track. You want to specify those tasks, set deadlines, and leave no room for just “finishing tomorrow.” That detailed schedule shows everyone involved that tomorrow’s deadlines depend on today’s, so it has to be finished.

No. 2 Be Realistic

A schedule will only help if it’s humanly possible. A realistic schedule will help your leads juggle jobs and get the projects through Production successfully. Involve your leads in creating the schedule — they know what they and their crews can do.

No. 3 Will-Do Attitude 

The attitude of all the players has to be “this has to be done” not “let’s see what we get done.” The difference is huge! In one case, people think in terms of daily goals and work hard to hit them. In the other case the schedule is a guideline and if we hit it all the better. This usually leads to missing the deadlines.

No. 4 A Skilled Team

Without having a key person with skill to leave on a job, the leads finds themselves just bouncing around. If they have someone to instruct and leave on the job on each site, they can move to start another project or finish one up knowing the work on all the sites will be taken care of.

It’s also critical that everyone has the “this is my job” mentality, so if a support carpenter sees a problem they fix it. In some cases, it’s probably a good thing to create teams of a lead and one or two supports, and then give the lead the responsibility to use them well on all their jobs.

It all comes down to planning. Both the upfront planning as well as the daily plan must be used by everyone, every time, to make this work. It’s a challenge but it can be done.

 

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An Up-Close Look at National Gypsum’s People and Products

I recently had the opportunity to attend a special meeting at the headquarters of National Gypsum, the second-largest gypsum-board manufacturer in the United States. While there, I and a collection of other industry pros got to learn about their Purple® line of products 

I gotta tell you, it was fascinating — who knew drywall could be so interesting? 

The factory tour was amazing — thousands of square feet of automated machines producing thousands of square feet of drywall every hour. The process was managed by only 15 people on the floor. We also saw the extensive testing facilities, where scientists showed us their efforts to create products resistant to moisture, mold and mildew. We also got to work directly with the Purple products, where our own Director of Business Development, Steve Wheeler, showed how the pros do it!   

The Purple products are specifically designed to help remodelers and builders increase productivity and efficiency during Production. With the ongoing challenges of finding skilled workers, anything you, as a business owner, can do to boost productivity has a significant impact on profitability.  

There are several advantages engineered into this new line. Purple gypsum boards are faced with a grid pattern for quick, accurate installation and inspection — it’s a simple and unique feature. Purple Cement Board is much lighter than other cement board; and scoring with a utility knife — without ruining the blade on the first cut — is easy. The reinforced edges on the cement board allows fasteners to be used right up to the edge without any breaking or crumbling.  

While I don’t install drywall, several of the products caught my eye. One, the SoundBreakXP Retrofit Board, would be a no-brainer for many remodeling projects. We all know how annoying it can be to hear everything that’s going on in another room, and this product can greatly reduce that noise.  

Other standout products included the Hi-Impact and Hi-Abuse boards. Seems like many of your clients would be willing to invest in tougher drywall to keep their homes looking fresh and new for years.  

The product innovations were cool, but I was also struck by National Gypsum’s corporate culture. Everyone we spent time with radiated pride and passion for the company and the products. From the highest-level sales manager to the recently hired young scientist, every National Gypsum team member was eager to share the stories of how their products would help your clients succeed.    

Experiencing this wonderful culture while learning about the benefits of their innovative products made this a fantastic experience — and turned me into a National Gypsum fan!  

[Podcast] Episode 8: Zero Punch List Production with Tim Faller

If you are going to have a podcast about the remodeling industry, it’s a no-brainer to have Tim Faller on your guest list, and I suspect he will be a frequent contributor to PowerTips Unscripted.

For the past 17 years, Tim has worked with remodeling companies, large and small, to help improve profits by creating smooth, efficient production systems. As a Senior Consultant and “Master of Production” for Remodelers Advantage, Tim’s field and business ownership experience is vital to his additional role as facilitator for Owner and Production Manager Roundtables Groups.

In Episode 8 Victoria and Mark welcome Tim Faller to the show as he covers a topic that he has been working on for the past 5-6 years as he tours the US & Canada, providing on-site production consulting – “Zero Punch List Production.”

Tim provides a great overview of the zero punch list strategy and describes in detail how he has seen companies successfully implement this process. According Tim, all-too-often remodelers put the onus or responsibility of completing a punch list on the client, thereby creating the perception that the job is being presented as incomplete.

As they explore the zero punch list theory and strategy, Victoria, Mark and Tim discuss:

  • Steps to successfully implement this within an organization
  • How this effects sales process, contracts, payment draws, etc.
  • Production Techniques & Checklists
  • How to handle Backorders
  • How to handle the final walk-through
  • Getting rid of Head Trash

Click Here to Listen to Episode 8

…And a Big Announcement!

As they wrapped up Episode 8, Tim made an announcement that you won’t want to miss… Listen today!

Tim Faller’s 4 Ways to Improve Your Production Meetings

Is this the scenario for your production meetings? People file into the room in about the same order each week. They sit in the same chairs or lean against the wall in the same place. They sit quietly while you “discuss” information that you think they will appreciate.

Then you discuss each job and what is going on there. When you are done, you respectfully ask if there are any questions and you get a silence. Then everyone hurries out to do the things they love to do.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be that way!

There are four things you can do to make production meetings better for everyone. For those of you that only have a meeting twice monthly or once per month, you may want to consider holding meetings more often, but these 4 tips still apply.

1. Use the time to say thank you or send out praise.

This is a universal truth, people respond to praise better than anything else. So just in case you haven’t thought about this, going through every job is probably not about praise but about fear for your team. Fear of being off budget, fear of being off schedule, fear of having to justify how the job is going.

So, save the project reviews for your weekly meetings with the on-site manager and use the production meeting to let someone share how they solved a problem that others may face in the future. Also, take time during the week to “catch someone doing good” then bring that up. Learn about the accomplishments of your team in their personal lives and mentions those.

2. Use the meetings to solve problems and develop the team.

Successful remodeling companies create an environment where employees feel that they are on a team that communicates openly and works together. So, discuss what problems the team faces. Be sure you listen and hear what the production team shares. Make a list. Then start working on the solutions as a group.

One company I worked with recently in Seattle has done a great job with this, however to get people talking, it took handing out a couple of gift cards to a local coffee shop. Once the team saw that the general manager was serious about making progress they have chipped in and have really been contributing. Rumor has it that no one is late for a meeting anymore.

3. Focus on forecasting rather than regrets.

One of the major challenges for all remodeling companies is getting job managers to look forward. So instead of having job managers coming to a meeting to talk about what has happened on past projects, have them come and share what is going to happen going forward.

This creates the chance for everyone to get an idea of what others are doing and collaborate on personnel, if needed. It also “forces” them to look ahead and be prepared instead of getting hung up on what has happened in the past.

4. Shake things up

As with almost anything in life, variety is the key. Do not do the same thing week after week. Mix it up. You should always be praising someone. But beyond that, use some meetings for systems building and problem solving. Use some for simply having a good time. Use some for forecasting and letting people share the good that is going on with their jobs.

For example, you can create a pattern by having the forecasting meeting on the second Wednesday of each month and the systems meeting on the third. But even with that mix it up, don’t run the forecasting meeting the same way each time.

Summary

With just a little bit of creativity and planning your meetings can be effective and helpful. What about you? Are your production meetings effective? What are some ways that you have made them stronger? We would love to hear how your team has improved your production meetings in the comments section below.

Job Description Creep: “and All Other Duties Required”

The phrase at the end of most job descriptions, “and all other duties as required” is one of the most dangerous expressions a remodeling company can include when looking for your next team member. While it is intended to capture any additional items that are not included in the overall description, it often has very adverse effects.

He’s not your Type

By including the “all other duties” phrase in your description you run the risk of attracting
the individual that really is not motivated to do the job and therefore needs the statement. This individual is always waiting to be told what to do, does not show initiative on their own and often needs to be directed.

Whether the “all other duties” phrase is included or not, it is critical to vet-out this type of person in your hiring process and hire people that are self-initiators.

In addition, you need to identify this quality in your existing team members and either correct it or let them go as soon as it rears its ugly head. This business is tough enough without having to monitor every employee to see if they are doing their job “and all other duties as required.”

Production Managers at-risk

In my experience, adding this “all other duties” phrase can be particularly impactful in the Production Manager role. Most people that move into this role are highly motivated, experienced and very driven to do whatever is necessary without additional tasks being assigned.

Because many Production Managers are skilled at many of the functions of remodeling, including the “all other duties” phrase can lead to them taking on additional tasks, regardless if they have the time to do them. This not only increases the likelihood of primary tasks not being completed on time, it also leads to increased hours for the PM and job burnout.

Without spelling out the job description in detail, the production manager’s primary role is to manage production. There are some pre-job-start functions that accompany this but in general when the job is sold, the production manager and his/her team take over.

As the economy continues to improve, the number of inbound calls taken by a company expands as do the sales. It puts a strain on the sales-to-production process so typically a company begins looking for ways to increase the speed that projects get turned over.

Very often estimating is the process that is turned over to the PM as an “all other duties required.” If a PM is not a solid estimator or is not effectively trained to capture all of the non-production related expenses (overhead, sales margin, etc.) damage to a company’s GP can be fast and critical.

Don’t take it from the field

Another task that often gets assigned to the Production Manager is the ordering of materials and job scheduling. Often there is a presumption that the PM, being as talented as he/she typically is, will be smarter than the field staff so they should order materials and create the job schedule.

Not only does this take time away from their primary roles of managing people and production, it robs the Project Managers or Lead Carpenters of the very tasks that create ownership and efficiencies.

In some instances, the Production Manager takes on these additional tasks to compensate for lack of ability in the Job Manager. Instead of training a Job Manager to do their job properly they take the tasks on themselves and work 60-70 hours a week and eventually burn-out and leave.

Summary

So how do we fix Job Description Creep?

  • As you grow, invest in the right people before the function is required. This allows for proper on-boarding and training before their role is critical.
  • Resist the urge to take on work unless you have the structure (manpower in sales & production) to produce it effectively and at your desired GP.

In our Production Manager Roundtables we have found that if a PM can clearly define the additional tasks that they have either been assigned or taken on, they can focus on their primary roles of managing people and production. These “and all other duties as required” tasks can be properly assigned, distributed and trained, leading to greater profitability and job satisfaction.

Hey Bro, Your Company’s Culture is Hurting Your Business and Here’s How to Fix it

There are many parallels between the technology and remodeling industries, the most prominent being the gender gap and how it can affect a company’s culture. This issue has been top of mind with the recent news surrounding a “manifesto” published by a Google engineer which inferred that women were not capable of handling stressful situations and were therefore not suitable for certain jobs within the industry.

Can a male-dominated company “Bro Culture” create a hostile environment? Or worse, can it cost your company business? The answer is yes, and here are a few characteristics to look out for and how to fix them.

Old-Boy Network

Whether you are aware of it or not, those fishing, hunting or golf trips that you and your work buddies go on are excluding team members and you’re making matters worse by talking endlessly about them the following day or posting on social media.

Fix it: Why not make your next outing a company event and include everyone? If it’s golf, invite the whole team but make tennis an option, or perhaps those that don’t want to golf can just come to the gathering afterward at the 19th hole. There are many ways to get others involved and I am sure they would appreciate the opportunity.

Locker Room Talk

Maintaining professional workplace decorum can be challenging in any office environment; when the gender ratio is skewed, one way or the other, it can turn idle office chatter into a minefield strewn with questionable language, sexual innuendo or worse. That scenario becomes infinitely worse if it expands outside the office onto job sites.

Fix it: Make company policies and guidelines concerning language & behavior very clearly defined and enforced for everyone in the company, especially owners, managers and those employees having direct contact with your clients.

Your Customer

With so many women involved in, and in many instances making, the final decision on which company to use for a prospective remodel, what type of image is your company presenting? If you think your female prospect doesn’t notice your all-male “Our Team” page on your website, or will have an issue with your production team dropping “F-bombs” in her house, you are mistaken.

Fix it: First, be more inclusive and open-minded when hiring and building your team not only for client-facing positions but for production as well. Second, help show the diversity of your company by including photos of everyone on your website, marketing materials and social media assets.

One Side of the Story

Long before John Gray wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus 35 years ago, we were well-aware that men and women are different. It is that difference that makes us stronger together than when we are apart. If your company is male-oriented you are missing out on the female perspective not only in design and client engagement, but in running the business as well.

Fix it: Recruit, hire and promote from within and be more inclusive in gathering feedback about running all aspects of your business. When assembling your management or advisory team, make sure you are including a female perspective; if you do not have females on your staff, perhaps ask a business associate (CPA, Marketing Firm, Attorney, etc.) to attend your meetings.

Summary

A company’s culture is critical not only to its owners and employees, but it can directly affect how a company is perceived by prospective clients in the marketplace. Is it time for you to look at yours? Ask for feedback from your team, your advisory board and your current and past clients as well. Use that feedback to make positive changes that will ultimately make you more successful.

Critical Tips for Beating the Labor Shortage

While some company owners are convinced that “there are no good hires available,” we are seeing others hire superstars.  These successful owners are using three powerful strategies:

  1. Retention of current staff — reducing need to hire
  2. Streamlining systems and resources — reducing need to hire
  3. A powerful and effective recruiting and hiring system — so when you do hire, you hire right

Here are some tips on putting these strategies to work for you.

Retaining Your Current Staff

Today’s worker wants a learning environment, a family-friendly environment, teamwork, empowerment, shared decision-making and more democratic management. Losing a talented, experienced employee is expensive, so reducing this churn is essential.

While it may seem that current employees don’t need as much time or energy from you, don’t take them for granted. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts. Keep them informed about developments in the company. And offer opportunities for training, one of the benefits that employees rank as “most important” when rating a company.

Regularly check in with your key employees to take their temperature about what’s going on with the company. Make sure that they aren’t being overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work. If they are, invest in help. . . whether a temp worker, a support person, or new technology that can cut their load.

Reducing Your Need to Hire by Increasing Efficiency!

Here are several practical ideas that will allow you to streamline the work done by your employees, thereby letting each employee leverage more volume.

  • Hold regular brainstorming sessions with your staff to review all procedures that are currently in use within the company. Focus on streamlining. What work, forms, or overlapping procedures can be eliminated from the company? What is missing that could help you avoid time-sucking mistakes?
  • Outsource more – both to freelancers for office work or subcontractors for production work. More and more folks are using outsourced CAD pros, take-off specialists, or virtual employees.
  • Are there labor saving tools, equipment, technology, or communications that would free up time for you, your office, or field staff? Save an hour here and an hour there and soon you won’t have to hire another person.
  • Check with your suppliers for products they will install (i.e. windows, fireplace units, siding) or products that can save you in-house time (pre-primed moldings). Use their labor instead of yours and benefit from the expertise they have in mastering one task.
  • Check with subs to see if there are additional functions they can take over from your staff. Have your own carpenters?  Keep them but consider subbing large jobs such as decks, siding, insulation, drywall and roofing which can be economical to outsource.
  • Are your field personnel equipped with state-of-the-art labor-saving tools and equipment? If you have 10 field employees and can save 20 minutes a day for each, that’s 1000 minutes a week or 867 hours a year.  That’s 867 hours you don’t need or 867 hours you can sell profitably to another client.  One remodeler keeps a stocked trailer on every job site.  It’s good looking and well signed but it also saves time and running for materials. Many others provide iPads or laptops to help production employees to manage their jobs on the fly with software solutions.
  • Increase training for your field personnel to save time in installations. Check with your manufacturers, subs and suppliers for help in developing short training sessions.
  • Develop a cross-department team to research ways to reduce in-house work.

Still need to Hire?

Write a clear job description that accurately describes the position. This has been called the single best thing you can do to hire well.

Include not only activities to be done but also the underlying traits that are needed to succeed in the job. The Sandler Sales Institute, a national sales training organization, also recommends that every job have a SEARCH description — a list of Skills, Education, Attitude, Results, Cognitive Skills, and Habits needed for the position.

Script open-ended questions that will let you probe for the underlying traits needed to successfully master the position. An open-ended question cannot be answered by just a yes or no.

Plan your hiring procedure/system. How will the applicant apply, who will screen applicants, who will interview, for how long, will there be a formal rating sheet, etc.? What happens if the applicant does not follow instruction. . . such as ignoring the request for a cover letter? Does that automatically disqualify him/her?

Compared to ten years ago, hiring is a much more serious and time consuming task in a business. Be prepared to get very professional about it. On the other hand, you might find that when you learn to hire well and have a good system for doing so, you might enjoy the process.

Round Up Those Elusive Prospects

It’s easier than you think — but only if you think in the right paradigm. Whatever you might have learned about hiring 5 or 10 years ago probably needs to be revised. Finding top recruits for your positions has now become a marketing challenge. There aren’t enough quality employees to go around, so you must have a plan for getting more than your share.

  • Recruit all the time. You often know what your next hire will be even if you are not ready to hire yet. Keep your eye out for good prospects at the grocery, the gas station, the suppliers’, or the association dinner meeting. Some remodelers have had excellent results with talking to subs and suppliers and following up with a letter that describes the position he is filling. Use all of your industry connections/network to help you find the right person. Is there a struggling remodeler who would happily fold their business and come to yours — with their personnel? Sweet!
  • Watch what your competitors are doing. Follow them on social media, watch for ads they may be running. In fact, with your staff, identify your top 5 competitors and then assign one staff person to each of these companies to learn as much as they can about the benefits being offered, the angle of their ads, the training they are offering, and any salary information. While you don’t want to copy, you can learn from their strategies and take this new knowledge to improve your own tactics. In other words, do what they do. . . but better.
  • Post your flier on a bulletin board – your grocer, your veterinarian, your printer, your suppliers.
  • Consider holding a well-publicized early evening or early morning Open House if you have a showroom or good looking office. Have employees on hand to talk and do a short interview.
  • Hand out materials on the job opening(s) and for the best candidates set longer, more formal interview times.
  • Offer employees and subs a referral fee for an employee who stays at least 3 months. If you’re already doing this, up the ante to get more of the right kinds of people.
  • Stay attuned to local business happenings. If there are plant closures or layoffs, that might be an opportunity for you to snag some talent. Laid-off workers could be an excellent pool from which to recruit.
  • In all written ads/fliers/posters emphasize your company culture, intangible benefits, and behavioral descriptors for the position as well as any technical requirements.
  • Brainstorm with your team for unique ideas!
  • Advertise for superstar employees on your trucks and on your website.
  • Use social media! Post ads, current employee profiles, information on your company, awards won, etc. Consider Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and others to get the word out. For many, it’s been a great place to find quality employees. See one example here.
  • Offer Amazing Benefits. It’s a job seekers market and a better-than-average benefits package can turn the right heads. How do your current offerings compare?
  • Don’t forget that your best candidate may be a woman, a minority, a veteran or a person from a totally different field who has the right attitude and excellent management skills.
  • Lastly, consider ambition over experience. If you find someone with the right eager, optimistic attitude who wants to learn everything there is about being a great construction worker, grab him. You can always train for the skills that are needed, but it’s pretty hard to train for a good attitude.

Lack of production staff can really hamstring a company, but with the strategies above, you’ll be in a fantastic position to find and onboard people with the skills, the attitudes and the experience you want.

What about you?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s get the conversation started!

Overcoming the Challenges of Winter Remodeling Projects

Every contractor knows spring and summer are the busiest times of the year, but to balance their work load, keep crews active, and to even out cash flow, many smart contractors take actions to sell and complete work in the months of December, January and February.  In addition, many homeowners realize the advantages of winter remodeling and these families are looking to close these deals now – don’t leave them to your competitors.

Of course, the cold weather brings with it a seasonal set of challenges. Besides taking extra measures to keep tools and building materials in good condition, contractors must also keep homeowners happy and the home warm and dust-free.

Despite the sleet and snow, a few easy steps can make winter remodeling a comfortable and rewarding experience for both your firm and your client.

Plan ahead

Walk through the process with your crews and clients.  Purchase, stage, and deliver all the added equipment (traps, heaters, etc.) that are needed to the jobsite.  Talk to your vendors to learn how they recommend you protect your building materials.

Protect your supplies

Throwing a tarp over lumber and tools might be enough to keep out the rain during spring and summer, but in the winter months it can be more difficult to keep everything warm and dry.

“Any tools that remain outside have to be properly secured, covered and accessible, because in the winter you have to worry about slipping on ice, frozen materials getting stuck together and other hazards,” said Dan Collyer from Collyer Remodeling, Inc. “You have to adapt.”

Contractors can also discuss storage with homeowners before a project kicks off to see if there’s space in the house to tuck away materials during off hours. This can be particularly important when completing renovations for families, as tools must be safely stowed out of the reach of children.

Prepare a dust control plan

Since it’s likely all windows will be closed during the remodel, homeowners will be concerned about fumes, dust and other air quality problems, especially while living in the home. However, clean contractors are making these worries a thing of the past by implementing robust dust control plans.

For example, Collyer uses the BuildClean™ Dust Control System to assure his clients and employees alike that the work environment won’t be enveloped by dust.

He explained, “BuildClean shows that I’m committed to maintaining the cleanest jobsite possible.”

BuildClean efficiently removes 90 percent of jobsite dust from the air and is increasingly effective when supplemented by other steps such as plastic wall barriers. This allows contractors such as Collyer to make livable remodeling a reality, even during the hectic holiday season.

Be flexible

Keep in mind that when a homeowner opts for a winter remodel, he or she is probably trying to avoid the surge of work contractors experience the rest of the year. Homeowners may expect that you have more time and energy to dedicate to their project.

More savvy homeowners may also simply be trying to take advantage of discounted materials in the offseason. In some cases, customers may just be hoping to get the brunt of the work out of the way while they’re away on vacation.

No matter the reason, work with homeowners to create a schedule with timelines and check-ins that works for both parties, and be realistic about what may have to wait until spring or summer.

For contractors to thrive during the off-season, convincing homeowners that a livable remodeling experience can be executed on a practical timeline is a must. Keeping job sites safe and clean is sure to make the winter a more common time for customers to tackle these projects and sets up contractors for year-round success.

What About You?

Do you have any great tips for dealing with remodeling projects in the winter? Please share! I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Market the “During” to Make a Difference

Are you using before-and-after pictures to market your business? Of course you are. You need to realize that while your photos are impactful and attention-grabbing, your competition is likely doing the same thing. A quick Google or Pinterest search will bring up millions of those beautiful images touting spectacular remodeling work. But as a professional, you know that before-and-after photos don’t tell the full story.

For your customers, what happens in the time between those photos is just as important as the end result. By focusing on your service during the remodeling process, you can differentiate your business from others in the industry while highlighting your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Livability is Key

Giving potential customers a complete idea of what they can expect from you before, during, and after a remodeling project will help put them at ease. Most homeowners want to continue living in their home during a remodeling project. Think about how you can make the “during” as comfortable as possible for them. What is your plan for keeping everyone in and around the jobsite happy and safe?

One way to do this is to create a “livable remodeling” plan for each project. This helps remodelers and contractors proactively address common remodeling pain points and includes a plan for timeline, logistics, dust control and safety.

For example, 85 percent of homeowners surveyed said remodeling dust was the most serious inconvenience of their entire remodeling project. To ensure a better remodeling experience for your customers, you should explain the steps you take to control dust, such as isolating the work area with dust containment barriers, controlling airflow, and capturing dust with an air scrubber like the BuildClean Dust Control System.

Expert Advice

zombie loyalistsMarketing your livable remodeling or “during” strategy is all about differentiating your firm, showing clients you care and leveraging customer satisfaction to grow your business.

Take it from author, consultant and entrepreneur Peter Shankman, who discusses how to achieve this in his book Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans.

“You create zombie loyalties through great customer service,” Shankman wrote. “Be brilliant at the basics. But note that where tiny little things make the difference, they can also harm you. The jobsite is an excellent example of this.”[divider style=”hr-dotted”]

Some of Shankman’s core customer satisfaction principles include:

1. Transparency Rules: Make Mistakes, Move On

Many companies think customer service applies primarily to things they do well, but great service really shows when mistakes are made. How you respond to mistakes—like a missed deadline—will determine whether customers stay or go.

2. Stay Relevant: Ask Customers What They Want

The best way to find out what customers need? Ask them. Studies show that customers who are asked what they want, become three to four times more invested in your company.

3. Be Short and Sweet: Move with the Speed of Social Media

In the Internet age, Shankman says companies have a maximum of three seconds to gain a customer’s attention—about the length of time it takes to read a tweet. Learning to deliver content and services as succinctly as possible will turn customers into fans.

4. Stay at the Top…Of Customers’ Minds

Turn past jobs into reviews for your company, leveraging client satisfaction to grow your business and get the rest of the world talking about you. One way to keep your client satisfied is by showing that you are proactively protecting their loved ones and belongings during remodeling and standing out as contractor who cares.

You vs Old Man Winter. Who Will Win?

 

Old Man WinterWith the kids back in school, I can’t help but wonder where the dog days of summer went and what does this year’s winter have in store.   Just thinking about it makes me shiver. Recent winters have given us some of the harshest weather we’ve seen in decades.  Everything from massive snow storms to subfreezing temperatures that wreaked havoc on utility bills, as we all struggled to stay warm.  While we may not be able to control the weather and what it may throw our way, you can offer your customers some home improvements that can have a big impact on energy loss, improved comfort and are easy to do.

Did you know that the average US home has ½ mile of gaps and cracks where cold air can sneak in and warm air can escape?    And, while homeowners are shelling out their hard earned cash to keep their families warm, 25-40% of the money they are spending on heating and cooling their homes is lost through air leakage.1

The statistics are staggering, leaving homeowners wondering what they can do.

Preparing for the outdoors is easy.

It’s just a quick trip to the mall to load up on boots, coats, hats, gloves and scarves.  But what can they do inside the house?  Well, the easiest things to do are to put on an extra sweater or blanket or even light a fire in the fireplace.  Capitalize on this opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors by insulating and air sealing their homes to help lower energy bills and make them more comfortable.

Need more convincing?

Check out the results of a coordinated effort between The Dow Chemical Company and local contractors.  This beautifully remodeled home features many energy-saving products and solutions, both inside and out. With no other structural or mechanical improvements, such as window replacement or HVAC upgrades, the Revitalize Home delivered impressive results:

  • 35% improvement on energy efficiency score (HERs rating)
  • 30% savings on monthly energy costs
  • 33% reduction in CO2 emissions per year, significantly lowering the environmental footprint
  • Lowered air exchange rate by 2,011 cfm50 to 811 cfm50

Let’s face it we all work too hard to simply throw our money out the window.  Help keep your customers warm and comfy this winter while helping to lower their energy bills. They’ll be happy you did and so will you.