client satisfaction

Let’s Revisit Zero Punch List Production with Mike Volochuk – [Best of The Tim Faller Show]

On our third episode, in March of 2018, we talked with Mike Barkhouse from Amsted Design Build about achieving “Zero Punch List” production.

We heard from a few listeners about that episode, and the concept of Zero Punch List, so we wanted to revisit it. We are now evangelists pushing to see the term “Punch list” eliminated from the remodeler’s vocabulary.  In a zero punch list scenario, after a project, no items remain to be addressed or “punched” because the items will have been addressed during the project and not at the project’s end.

A punch list is so ingrained within the industry that it is tricky to conceive of not having one. Every blog article about working with a contractor says something about that punch list. Usually, “Don’t pay until it is done.”

Our guest for this episode is Mike Voloschuk, Production Manager at Hurst Design Build Remodel in Westlake, Ohio. Mike is a member of our Roundtables for Production Managers peer group, and when he mentioned how his firm had adopted the Zero Punch strategy, we invited him to join us and discuss it.

Mike has been with Hurst since 2008 and moved from Carpenter to Production Manager.

Tim, Steve, and Mike talk more about:

  • Background on Hurst Design Build Remodel (size of projects, type of work, etc.).
  • Why Hurst moved to Zero Punch List production.
  • How Hurst made the transition and how the team reacted and adapted to the change.
  • How Hurst is doing with the new production mindset and how the clients have responded.
  • And more…

Ep.169: How to Make Sure the Client Knows What They’re Getting with Chris Landis

Do you have a way to be sure that your clients understand the scope and plans of the services you offer?

Simply asking for their signature on future plans does not necessarily guarantee that they understand what it is they are signing.  Like many of the topics discussed on this show, there is no magic answer to ensuring that a client is aware and knowledgeable about the services they may want or are receiving.  Host Tim Faller suspects that it is important to educate based off of the entire sales and production processes, so he speaks with guest Chris Landis to search for some answers.

Chris is the Co-Founder and Principal of Landis Construction, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). After graduating with an MA in architecture from Columbia University, he worked with Fortune 500 companies. He served two terms on D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board and is a past president of the DC chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.  

Tim, Steve and Chris talk more about:

  • Starting this process
  • Creating a budget range
  • Steering away from making assumptions
  • And more…

Remodelers Advantage is Hiring!

We are looking for a new team member! Our new Sales Executive will work with smart, appreciative remodeling business owners; changing not only their businesses but their lives, families and the lives of their staff members!

[ Click Here for More Information & to Apply ]

Ep.166: Taking the Client Experience to the Next Level (Part 2) with Jeremy Kelley

People mysteriously up and leave without giving notice, and we are stuck with the issue of keeping and retaining that “good help.” From a manager’s perspective all was going so well, but still, there is something going on in the employee’s head that causes them to leave. 

In almost all cases, getting more money somewhere else is the most common explanation.  Money is the prominent tangible item in the experience, so it is often used as the excuse. But what prompted them to even look someplace else? Why did the good relationship get to the point where someone was not wanting to stay?

In this two part series, we will be talking about how our personality and more importantly, the other person’s personality impact these relationships.  Tune in to part 2 to hear about the internal client, with the help of guest Jeremy Kelley.

Jeremy joined BACK Construction four years ago after running his own Residential Design/Build company for 11 years. Over the last year, his position has changed slightly from Production manager to Director of the Remodeling Division. 

Tim, Steve and Jeremy talk more about:

  • Being a better listener
  • Controlling your “natural style”
  • The critical ideas for any relationship
  • And more…

Whether you are listening in the truck on your way to your next client or at your desk during a lunch break, PowerTips Unscripted brings you your next big idea, success tip or even just a chance to hear from those that have achieved great success in the remodeling industry.

PowerTips Unscripted is available on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and always on PowerTipsPodcast.com

Ep.165: Taking the Client Experience to the Next Level with Jeremy Kelley (Part 1)

People mysteriously up and leave without giving notice, and we are stuck with the issue of keeping and retaining that “good help.” From a manager’s perspective all was going so well, but still, there is something going on in the employee’s head that causes them to leave. 

In almost all cases, getting more money somewhere else is the most common explanation.  Money is the prominent tangible item in the experience, so it is often used as the excuse. But what prompted them to even look someplace else? Why did the good relationship get to the point where someone was not wanting to stay?

In these next two episodes, we will be talking about how our personality and more importantly, the other person’s personality impact these relationships. We will discuss the external client in the first episode, and the internal client in the second, with the help of guest Jeremy Kelley.

Jeremy joined BACK Construction four years ago after running his own Residential Design/Build company for 11 years. Over the last year, his position has changed slightly from Production manager to Director of the Remodeling Division. 

Tim, Steve and Jeremy talk more about:

  • Utilizing temperament tests
  • The importance of “listening well”
  • Working better together through understanding better
  • And more…

Let Us Turn Your Project Manager into a Superhero!

Remodelers Advantage presents a Masterclass course explicitly designed for Project Management personnel in the remodeling and custom-building industries.

This two-day program, held in-person at our office in Maryland, focuses on two of the most critical aspects of managing a project – hitting the agreed-upon budget and working with and managing the team effectively.

Industry and business experts Tim Faller, Victoria Downing, and Doug Howard will be facilitating this course.

Ep.134: Seeing Projects from the Client’s Point of View with Meghan Haines

Have you ever gone through an entire job thinking that the client was delighted with your work and then discovered afterward that they liked most of it, BUT…. (you fill in the blank). So, the question remains, how do you ensure customer satisfaction or, as some call it, creating “Raving Fans?”

There is no better way to explore this than by asking real clients, and even better when the client has a remodeling background and can look at it from either viewpoint.

Meghan Haines is the Production Coordinator for Hercules Design Build, a remodeling company in the St. Louis area. Meghan has been with Hercules for a little over a year and a half; However, before joining the company, she was a client for three remodeling projects in her own home.

Tim, Steve and Meghan talk more about:

  • Background on Meghan’s household (size of house, family, pets, etc.).
  • Description of the projects that Meghan contracted for.
  • Sales & production: did they match and meet expectations.
  • The most critical action an on-site manager can take while working on a project.
  • Things that the contractor did that made the projects more bearable.
  • Advice for remodelers from the client’s perspective.
  • And more…

This Episode Brought is Sponsored by LL Flooring -

We are excited to welcome LL Flooring as a sponsor for this episode. For over 25 years and with over 400 locations nationwide, they have focused on doing one thing – hard surface flooring – better than anyone else. Check out their website here – LL Flooring

Ep.76: Production in Insurance Restoration with Mike Carey

Restoring a home after a catastrophe like a fire or flood is fairly specialized, not something most remodeling companies do. There are different challenges, like dealing with insurance companies and payouts, so these companies have different perspectives on production.

Mike Carey has worked in insurance restoration for 25 years, as well as doing residential remodeling and commercial contracting, giving him a unique viewpoint.

In this episode, Mike talks to Tim and Steve about the differences — and similarities — in production when restoring a client’s home versus standard remodeling, and what to do to get started in this part of the industry.

Mike’s company, Carey Contracting, is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In business for 35 years, Carey Contracting has 15 employees. Carey has been involved in insurance restoration work for 25 years, and there are years where insurance restoration produces more than 50 percent of the company’s volume. 

Mike went to school to learn what an insurance adjuster knows when he started out in the restoration business. Since then, the company has made a name for itself in the insurance restoration business. He says the restoration can be wonderfully rewarding work. Mike talks about the process of working with insurers and clients, and getting your team up to speed, including:

  • Working with adjusters
  • Project time frames
  • Working through the clients’ stresses
  • Demolition and discovery
  • Billing for restoration work
  • The critical need for proper documentation
  • Insurance vs. “as built”
  • Remaining objective
  • Creating a buffer between the insurer and the homeowner
  • Dealing with code improvements and policies
  • And more …

If you’re interested in pursuing insurance restoration, Mike says, you’ll need software that’s compatible with what insurance companies use and get training in fire, smoke, and water damage restoration. 

Ep.69: Hitting Monthly Goals with Aaron Enfinger

Making sure you can hit your monthly revenue goals is key to a healthy bottom line. First, there has to be a plan and intention to hit those marks.

In this episode, Aaron Enfinger tells Tim and Steve about setting revenue and production goals, how to hit them, and why it helps prevent cash-flow problems.

Aaron is the general manager at The Cleary Company in Columbus, OH. In early 2017, he assumed the role of General Manager to address managerial needs The Cleary Company was experiencing, due to their pace of growth. 

He starts his goal-setting process with a spreadsheet, and drills down from the yearly goal to the weekly numbers the company needs to produce to hit its revenue numbers. Then he works with his production manager and office manager to carry the plan through. Aaron gives you great ideas about how you can do this in your own company, including:

  • Designing your production department to handle your goals
  • Why weekly number will fluctuate
  • What sets off alarm bells in the pipeline
  • Scheduling to smooth out seasonal differences
  • How job schedules relate to the master schedule
  • Setting up incremental milestone draws in a job
  • How often to evaluate your financials
  • Setting expectations with clients at the beginning of the project
  • Focusing your production team on their goals
  • Why a cloud-based project management system saves time in invoicing
  • And more …

Aaron also talks about how he found and used a powerful tool on LinkedIn to identify and recruit the company’s new production manager — from The Bahamas.

Click the link for the downloadable copy of Aaron’s Excel file.

Ep.63: Getting Selections Done Before the Job Starts with Tanya Donahue

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.

Tim does a session on this, and it’s based on what he learned from Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath, in Warwick, RI. 

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.

Ep.62: Hitting a Schedule Every Time with April Bettinger

Hitting a schedule every time in construction is possible if you pay proper attention to planning and have a purposeful attitude.

In this episode, April Bettinger joins Tim and Steve to talk about the best practices and the common pitfalls to avoid when creating and managing an on-time project that ends with delighted clients.

April is the founder and owner of Nip Tuck Remodeling in Snohomish, WA. For more than 30 years, she’s carved out a respected niche in the construction industry. Her father was a custom homebuilder, so April grew up watching and learning about excellent customer service, and what it takes to build a high-quality project. April has held key roles in finance, budgeting, customer service, team building, and sales management — preparing her to own and operate her own company. Nip Tuck Remodeling was founded in 2010, with a vision and determination to create a construction company with extraordinary craftsmanship and a focus on professionalism. Nip Tuck was named a Big50 remodeler in 2018, and ranked the No. 50 Fastest Growing Private Company in 2018 by the Puget Sound Business Journal

April and her estimator create the master schedule, then it’s turned over to the production manager, who is responsible for creating and  managing the job schedules on BuilderTrend. One huge factor in staying on track once you’re in production is getting the schedules done and materials ordered a month before the project starts. She talks about why that works, and other aspects of keeping your jobs on schedule, including:

  • Why the project manager has to create and own the schedule
  • How to break the details down and work with them
  • Setting pivotal goals for each week in the schedule
  • Using goals for client satisfaction
  • Helping everyone buy in to the system
  • How much time it takes to pre-plan
  • Why you should make the time investment
  • How sales and design affect the schedule
  • Handling change orders in the schedule
  • Getting clients to think ahead during selections
  • Building in reasonable wiggle room
  • Leaving nothing TBD
  • Handling design changes and heading them off
  • Beating weather challenges in the schedule
  • How to deal with damaged materials
  • And more …

If you believe you can hit project schedules, you can. If you think it will never happen, it won’t. It’s all about the attitude.

See April Speak at the Annual Remodeler’s Summit

We’re thrilled that April Bettinger will be speaking at the 2019 Remodeler’s Summit, on September 24-25, in Orlando:

To learn more the Summit event and our line-up of other great speakers, go to Remodelerssummit.com!

Ep.53: Make Your Project Manager a Marketing Machine with Doug Panozzo

Of all the things you have in your marketing toolbox — your website, email and direct mail, or social media — there’s one you may have overlooked.

Positioning your Production team to be aware of sales and marketing can be an overlooked marketing strategy, and also help align the office and field teams.

In this episode, Tim and Steve talk to Doug Panozzo, who is a human marketing machine. We discuss how to make that switch in mindset for your Production team, and how it can boost your sales and profits.

Doug Panozzo is a Project Manager for Hogan Design & Construction in Geneva, IL. He’s been with Hogan since October 2017. He came from outside of the industry, from a tech company, and moved into a Project Manager role with Hogan almost a year and a half ago. Since then, he has grown familiar with the industry, became efficient with Hogan’s systems, hasn’t gone over budget on a single one of his projects, and has brought in over $100,000 in sales in the last year.

Sharing the big picture with your team is the start. Doug says working on marketing or sales is job security for him — the more work he can help bring in, the longer he has a job. He talks about how he does it, and how you can get your team involved, including:

  • Selling the company throughout the project
  • Sparking new leads
  • Following up with customers to touch base
  • Finding the incentive — referrals and bonuses
  • Asking for social media posts with tags and reviews
  • Wearing and being the brand everywhere
  • How to start those conversations
  • Picking the right customers to keep in touch with
  • Making the questions subtle and helpful
  • Keeping good notes and setting reminders
  • Building relationships and working the neighborhood
  • Finding the way for different personalities to market and sell
  • How to set the expectations in hiring
  • Giving Production the tools, training, and materials to do it
  • Getting the timing right
  • And much more …

 

Including why your Project Manager or Lead Carpenter should talk to the neighbors’ cleaning people, and how many leads can come from it.

Let’s Keep It Up

This episode was another spurred by a suggestion from our listeners. If you’ve got an idea for a guest or topic, send Tim an email at tim@remodelersadvantage.com.