To celebrate this milestone, we’re changing up the format, turning the tables and featuring our Host, Tim Faller!
In this episode of the Tim Faller Show, Steve interviews his
co-host and explores Tim’s background as a lead carpenter, business owner and
his transition to a trusted advisor and sought-after industry “guru.”
Steve and Tim discuss:
Shifts in the industry, from 1-2 person operations to larger design/build firms we see today.
The birth of the lead carpenter system and its evolution.
Common issues and challenges that Tim sees in working with Remodelers in the US & Canada.
Finding good help and building an awesome production team.
A few items that Steve and Tim reference in this episode:
Editor’s note: We’re all working remotely, away from the podcasting studio, so we’ve dug into the virtual vault to bring you this episode. With so many projects on hold due to Covid-19 emergency orders, take some time to get your systems and processes ready for better days.
Developing a system that makes your kitchen and bath jobs more profitable has to include getting those all-important selections done early in the process — before the job even starts.
In this episode, Tanya Donahue discusses that process with Tim and Steve, and why it results in exceptional client experiences, and make everyone in the company happy and more productive.
Tanya is the president of Rhode Island Kitchen and Bath, and provides her team and her clients with proven strategic capabilities, backed by her strong record of success. She’s spent more than 25 years in the home building and remodeling industry, and her main focus is to create, communicate, and implement the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction. Tanya is a member of the Rhode Island Builders Association, served as co-chair of the Remodeler’s Committee and is a former member of the board of directors. She was selected as a 2017 Industry panelist for Harvard University’s Joint Center on Housing Studies, and was a judge of the 2018 National Qualified Remodeler Design Awards. She was also the recipient of the 2017 ProRemodeler Extreme Sales Award.
At the company, when a job packet goes to production from sales, it has every selection made, right down to the color and manufacturer of the caulk to be used. So much money is lost when something is missing on the job. If your company isn’t doing it this way, Tanya says, it may seem overwhelming, but she tells you how to get your organization on board with making selections before the job starts, including:
Making the client the boss, sort of
Getting buy-in from sales and design
How it increases productivity in design and sales
Including photos in the job packet for easy identification on site
Starting with the must-haves
Controlling the client through education in the process
Figuring out how clients make decisions
Why cabinets can drive their start date
Starting with a reservation form, and using it as a reality check on the schedule
The power of the visual production board
How to do it without a showroom
And more …
Integrating sales and production in a continuous communication loop from start to finish is key to the whole process.
Don’t Miss Build Aid on April 1-2…
We want to give back to an industry that has supported us through good times and bad, and so we’ve created Build Aid, a FREE, two-day virtual event to help support our members, associates, and friends in the remodeling community.
Join us on April 1-2 as we explore various ways your business can navigate these tough times, and position yourselves as a leader when the world begins to recover and re-build. Click Here for more information & registration
Training to help move team members up the ladder is important to any remodeling company and its ability to move fast and make money.
Chris Peterson has seen the importance of training from his first days in the field as a carpenter through to his present leadership position. He says it’s a concrete way to coach and promote great people from the ground up.
In this episode, Chris explains his company’s training methods to Tim and Steve, and shows you how to create your own education program.
Chris is a co-owner and vice-president of production at Schloegel Design Remodel in Kansas City, MO. Chris has been with the company for more than 23 years. He started in the field as a carpenter and progressed to lead carpenter, project manager, and production manager. In 2018, he purchased the business with his partner, Charlie Schloegel. He’s seen the need for better training from many angles.
There’s a real connection between emphasizing training and successful financial growth, says Chris. His company has started Schloegel University, which is in its initial growth phase. Some of the training is after hours on a volunteer basis, and there are mandatory meetings. Chris explains why making it cross-functional with classes that include field and office staff is important, as well as:
Reactionary vs. proactive training
Explaining how quality ties into profitability
How much to spend on training
Structuring a training program
Understanding education is already happening
Setting standards so things are done the same way, every time
Putting the responsibility on the learner
Creating enthusiasm around the process
And more …
Dedicating the time to training, even if it’s informal, will help your people be successful, leading to better quality and more jobs for your company, says Chris.
If you’ve ever had to deal with legal action in your remodeling business, you know it can be a nightmare. The best thing you can do is to keep you and your projects out of the legal system.
Dennis Dixon has used his experience as an expert witness and investigator to help business owners understand the link between the legal system and the health of their business.
In this episode, Dennis talks to Tim and Steve about how to keep you and your projects out of the legal system through preventative measures, management, and oversight.
Dennis is a 35-year veteran author, builder, and consultant, and is the president of Dixon Ventures in Flagstaff, AZ. His book, Finding Hidden Profits contains proven management, policy, and contract content solutions to keep any construction or design pro in the profit stream.
His entry into the legal system began 25 years ago, when lawyers would ask him to investigate projects that were the subjects of lawsuits. Dennis says about 75 percent of these disputes arose from mishandled change orders, with the underlying causes of poor documentation and communication. He talks about how to help keep your company out of legal trouble, including:
Getting everything in writing
The problem with allowances
Why you need good planning and specs
Asking how clients will use a space to get a deeper understanding
Resolving disputes before taking any legal steps
When to take the hit on a change order
The power of a real letter, not an email
Taking emotion out of the process
Addressing dispute resolution in your contracts
How to prepare for arbitration or a lawsuit
Why the party with the most paperwork wins
And more …
Maintaining good communication with clients will help head off disputes — and that includes the hiccups and problems too. Being transparent and documenting everything is the key to avoiding legal trouble.
One thing Tim hears frequently in his travels and consulting with remodelers is the desire for fewer layers of management, replaced by more leadership.
One of the best places to learn and develop leadership skills is the U.S. Armed Forces.
Cody Ross served in the U.S. Marine Corps. from April 2005 – December 2014 as a combat engineer, doing everything from infantry to building bridges, and has found his experience translates well to remodeling and construction.
In this episode, Cody talks to Tim and Steve about using military leadership techniques and procedures to positively affect the construction process and to deliver a better client experience.
Cody is the project manager at Irons Brothers Construction Inc., in Shoreline, WA. He’s been with Irons Brothers for four years, and has successfully managed the company’s largest project to date in scope, size, and sale price.
He’s identified five big leadership takeaways from his time in the military that apply to remodeling and construction — organization of the unit, commanders’ intent, small-unit leadership, planning backwards, and the end-of-week stand down. Cory breaks them down and explains how they translate to remodeling projects, including:
The importance of staying in your lane
Describing your ideal end state
Recognizing who’s best suited to make decisions
Time management techniques
Streamlining meetings for efficiency
The importance of contingency planning
How delegation of authority develops accountability and responsibility
Handling under-performing trade partners
Using BAMCIS* for further planning in remodeling
The five-paragraph order
And more …
*BAMCIS is a tool that stands for Begin the planning, Arrange for reconnaissance, Make reconnaissance, Complete the plan, Issue the order, and Supervise.
We talk a great deal about ways to beat the labor shortage, including the importance of training and education in keeping good employees. We’ve also discussed how to promote the trades as an attractive career choice.
There’s a third component — finding the right people. And that may mean changing your thinking about what, or who, you’re looking for.
Dejah Léger came into remodeling with no experience, but was “trained from scratch,” she says. Due to her motivation and ability to learn quickly, she was promoted to lead carpenter within a year.
In this episode, Dejah talks to Tim and Steve about her experiences changing careers to become a carpenter and project manager, the challenges, and why women are a big asset on the job site.
Dejah is a lead carpenter/project manager at Irons Brothers Construction in Shoreline, WA. The first project she led was a major kitchen remodel, and she has continued to lead multiple jobs since then. Her role as the only female lead carpenter in Shoreline is a huge advantage on many levels. It points to the many reasons women should be recruited to be bags-on, even if it means large initial investments in training.
Dejah’s remodeling career started when one of the company’s owners recruited her at her daughter’s baseball game. Her coworkers trained her on-site, she studied everything she could at night, and Irons Brothers sends their team to training and trade shows. She talks about what it’s like being a woman in a male-dominated industry, changing careers, and the advantages it gives her in the field, including:
Establishing authority and leading on site
Why the labor shortage leveled the playing field for her
Communicating with clients
Creating relationships with subs and vendors
Finding safety equipment that fits
Training on her own
The physical aspects of the job
Using her graphic design background to understand plans
Why to recruit more women
And more …
Getting past preconceived notions of what a carpenter or project manager has always been is the first step toward recruiting and retaining good team members — and that includes women.
Just because you’ve never been visited or cited by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration doesn’t mean you’re following safe business practices. Even if you or no one on your crew has been injured, it doesn’t necessarily mean your job sites are safe — you might just be lucky.
Most OSHA standards apply to the residential building and remodeling industries, and require employers to protect their workers by establishing safety programs and providing training.
In this episode, Mark Paskell talks to Tim and Steve about how to create a safety culture and the benefits of running safe job sites and protecting your team.
Mark is president of The Contractor Coaching Partnership Inc. in Sterling, MA. He founded the company in 2007 to coach and mentor residential contractors on business, systems, sales, and safety. Mark became an authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer in 2012.
Creating a culture of safety is the first and biggest thing a business can do, says Mark. It has to start at the top — owners and managers need to be on board and involved, not just those in the field. Residential standards are as stringent as commercial standards, but there’s less of a focus on meeting those standards on sites. Mark talks about the things residential remodelers and builders should focus on, including:
The differences between OSHA 10 and OSHA 30
The most cited violations
The top job-site hazards — and how to minimize them
Hiring safe sub-contractors
What personal protection equipment your crew should wear
Misconceptions about safety and OSHA you may be making
Putting money into the budget for safety training
Investing in people and equipment to attract and keep employees
Why safer crews complete better jobs
How much time to invest in training
Safety meetings: how often you should have them, and what to cover
Why you should invite OSHA to your company
And more …
You can download materials to help you with your safety training at the OSHA website.
Between 1950 and 2010, the use of the term “company culture” has doubled — Tim looked it up. But for a lot of people, it’s still a bit of a mystery. You hear about having a good culture, but it can be hard to quantify.
Often, remodeling companies can have a great culture in the office, but it doesn’t always make it out to the field staff on the job site. Sometimes the office and the job site have two separate cultures, so the team as a whole doesn’t share a company culture. Complicating matters, as you grow, your culture will change too — in ways you may not expect.
In this episode, Dennis Engelbrecht, discusses company culture with Tim and Steve, especially how to create and maintain a positive culture in the field and get everyone on the same page.
Dennis is a consultant with the Family Business Institute, of Raleigh, NC. He’s devoted his life and career to creating, improving, building, and coaching entrepreneurs for greater business success. Dennis directs the CEO Roundtables Program for Contractors, which he founded to expand upon a group one of his early clients participated in.
Company culture is a collection of a set of beliefs and behaviors that affect the workplace, Dennis says. When trying to set up a good culture, it starts with the company’s leadership. It’s not a defined set of rules, but how everyone acts. The challenge is establishing and maintaining the culture you want, one that creates a workplace people want to be in. Dennis tells you how to create and direct a good company culture, on the job site and in the office, including:
Why the owner needs to visit job sites
The crucial role of your project manager or lead carpenter
How to involve your trade partners on the job site
Keeping egos in check
The power of a simple greeting
The first question to ask on the job site
Praising in public, criticizing in private
How to manage for success
Changing the culture — if you’re not the business owner
And more …
Your company’s culture on the job site and off can give you a competitive advantage in finding and keeping good team members — a key strategy in beating the labor shortage.
Money isn’t the only way to motivate your team, but profit sharing can boost morale, productivity, and help attract and keep good production employees.
Profit sharing can be engineered into the budget so there will be funds to distribute. As long as you hit the gross-profit margin, you can set up profit sharing, says Shawn McCadden. But you have to be careful and systematic in creating the system.
In this episode, Shawn discusses profit-sharing strategies with Tim and Steve, and how to create and maintain a profit-sharing program that will motivate your field team.
Shawn is president of Remodel My Business Inc. in Brookline, NH, and is a prominent figure in the remodeling industry. He obtained his builder’s license by age 18; founded, operated, and sold a successful employee-managed design/build firm; co-founded the Residential Design/Build Institute; and went on to become director of education for a national bath and kitchen remodeling franchise company. Today he speaks frequently at industry conferences and trade events. As an award-winning columnist, he contributes to industry publications, blogs, and writes a monthly column for Qualified Remodeler magazine. You can learn more at www.shawnmccadden.com.
You must have a sensible financial system already in place to make profit sharing work, says Shawn. There’s no room for guesswork. You also need a way to measure what’s happening on a job in the same way it was estimated for apples-to-apples comparisons. He discusses how to implement a profit sharing plan and the benefits, including:
Starting with best practices
The difference between profit sharing and bonuses
Considering profit sharing as an overhead expense
Training your staff to understand your budget
Testing it before you roll it out
Setting the goals
When — and how often — to distribute the money
Documenting your process
Determining who gets how much
Being a competitive employer in your market
And more …
The labor shortage is only going to get worse, says Shawn, and a profit-sharing program — along with competitive pay, benefits, and time off — will help your company attract and keep the best employees.
You’ve Got Questions, We’ll Find Answers
This topic was suggested by one of our listeners who wanted to know how to begin a profit-sharing program. If you’ve got a question or idea for a topic or guest, send Tim an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Dates for Extreme Business Makeover
Due to schedule conflicts we moved the Extreme Business Makeover to March 30 – 31, 2020. We’re still at the BWI Westin in Baltimore and we’ve added Bruce Case as a featured speaker… More content being added and we’ve got 4-5 great tools that you will be leaving with, so take a look at this event and we would love to see you there! More information + Registration >>
The remodeling and construction industries are dominated by men. Even such necessary things as safety equipment are a bad fit for the few women who are working on the production side in residential remodeling or construction.
But things are slowly changing. More women are showing up on job sites, and working in production and operations management.
In this episode, Heather Tankersley talks about her experiences as an operations manager with Tim and Steve. She discusses what it’s like to be in a management role as a woman in construction and the differences between her experience in commercial and residential projects.
Heather is co-owner of Tankersley Construction in Rancho Cordova, CA, with her husband Steve (check out his episode). Founded three years ago, it’s quickly become one of California’s leaders in residential construction by taking commercial construction principles and applying them to small- and mid-sized homeowner projects. Before working at Tankersley Construction, Heather managed complex projects for some of the largest electrical contractors in the United States. Heather’s prior project experience includes new student housing at Sacramento State University, new classrooms for UC Hastings, medical facility expansion at Folsom State Prison, and multiple VA and healthcare projects throughout Northern California.
While still working full-time in her previous job, Heather worked with Steve to develop the new company’s processes, and they found the need for an operations manager role. She filled in. Heather manages the pre-construction phase. When the job is handed off to the project managers, Heather oversees the schedules and the progress of each individual job. She talks about what she’s learned and what her prior project management experience has helped her company, including:
How she got into the industry
Being comfortable with asking the three “whys”
Developing organizational skills
The need for good people skills
Her protocols for keeping information up-to-date
The platforms and applications she uses
Dealing with gender biases
Organizations supporting women in construction
The advantages of being a woman in residential remodeling
And more …
Heather says remodelers should look to recruit commercial project managers — male or female — by using the appeal of the more personal, relationship-driven work of residential remodeling.
Join us on Thursday, February 20th as Tim Faller walks you through key strategies for addressing change orders and hitting your profit targets in 2020. This webinar for owners, estimators, and field staff will focus on the top 3 Change Order mistakes companies make that cost them money. We will share Spreadsheet Calculators using real demonstrations – not only how each mistake occurs, but how much it costs you as well. Each mistake will be discussed, and possible solutions presented. Click Here to Reserve Your Seat >>