Success

Ep.57: Checklist Implementation with Wesley Yoder

Problems in Production can be hard to fix — even identifying chronic mistakes and hurdles takes time. Too often, remodelers stop there, shrug, and say, “it is what it is.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. Checklists are a great tool to use in the next step, when you solve the problems and prevent them from happening again and again.

In this episode, Wesley Yoder talks to Tim and Steve about how he took control of the Production process after reading The Checklist Manifesto, and how you can, too.

Wesley has been the Production Manager at West Chester Design Build in West Chester, PA, since January 2018. He joined WCDB nine years ago as a Lead Carpenter. After three years, he moved into the Project Manager role.

When Wesley read the book, he was surprised at how useful it is for remodeling processes. It covers the use of checklists in diverse industries, describing how they can significantly reduce errors, save money, and prevent accidents. In Production, checklists can also reduce slippage and keep the job running smoothly. As your processes and jobs become more complex and involve more people on site, checklists can help you run your jobs more efficiently. Wesley talks about how to create and use your checklists to be effective, including:

  • Getting feedback and buy in
  • Why checklists are always evolving
  • Keeping it simple
  • Building on past experience
  • Boulder-drop moments
  • Using them as training tools
  • Discussing the checklists with clients
  • Where to keep them so they’re used
  • How to know what to add
  • The power of paper
  • And more …

Wesley also uses personal checklists for his own job functions, and says it’s a great way to get started with using them on a larger scale with the rest of your team.

What Do You Want to Hear About?

We’ve gotten some fantastic suggestions for topics and guests, so keep them coming! Send your ideas for topics or guests to Tim at tim@remodelersadvantage.com. Thanks!

Ep.41: Remodel My Business with Shawn McCadden

We hear it all the time — you can’t find good help anywhere. But finding new employees is necessary for growth. You have to add staff, and keep them — not just in your company, but in the industry. We have to step up in a big way when it comes to offering employees reasons to stay.

The first thing you have to do is define what you mean by good help. “What are we talking about,” asks Shawn McCadden. “Is it good carpentry work? Running a job? Or just a good person in general?”

In this episode, Shawn hashes it all out with Tim and Steve. They talk about finding, and keeping, good employees and creating a path for them to become great.

Shawn’s the president of Remodel My Business 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. Shawn co-founded the Residential Design/Build Institute, and then become director of education for a major national bath and kitchen remodeling franchise company.

Today, Shawn is a frequent industry conference and trade event speaker. As an award-winning columnist he contributes to many industry publications, blogs, and writes a monthly column for Qualified Remodeler magazine.

The future of the industry lies with Millennials. Shawn discusses how to stop disparaging them, and start figuring out what motivates them. Turns out, much of what Millennials are looking for will also help you attract and retain employees of every generation. He advocates instituting a profit-sharing plan and creating an actionable progress plan for carpenters to move up, including:

  • Avoiding fake job titles
  • Why you have to train Lead Carpenters, not clone them
  • Creating confidence in the team
  • Using thermometers to measure GP and volume
  • How to graph a workers career path
  • Building penalties into a bonus for leaving the company
  • The importance of sharing estimates with your Lead Carpenters
  • Why job responsibility is crucial to job performance
  • And more…

You have to make something happen, says Shawn. Stop making excuses and learn what motivates your workers, and create a plan that will help them achieve.

Give Us a Shout!

Do you have a great idea for a future topic or guests? Shoot Tim and email at tim@remodelersadvantage.com.

Ep.31: Tim and Steve’s Top 10 Episodes (So Far)

We’re taking a stroll down memory lane, to pick our Top 10 moments from our first 30 episodes. These episodes discuss the big ideas that can really change your company and how you do business. Every time we talk to a guest, we come away with something new. Although we look at Production, our biggest takeaways are how important it is to involve your whole team, from Sales to Design to Production, and to make work more meaningful and fun.

If you’re new to the podcast, or may have missed a couple episodes, here’s a handy list of links to the 10 episodes Tim and Steve consider their best so far, and why. The subjects and guests cover a lot of ground, so take a look and then give them a listen!

No. 5

Steve’s Pick

Ep.04: Running Effective Production Meetings with Teri McDermott. Teri came back from our Production Conference in 2017 and completely blew up her company’s process. She realized they were doing what they’ve always done, and it was going nowhere. She got her team involved, getting feedback to make their meetings more meaningful. She paired Design and Production people to talk about the problems, how to solve them, and changed the entire dynamic of how her team worked together.

Tim’s Pick

Ep.23: Controlling Scope Creep With Sales Change Orders with Will Giesey

Will talked about something that could change the industry across the board. By introducing the idea of a core scope of work, with change orders occurring during the design process, you can cushion the blow of escalating prices on clients while maintaining margins. Will’s Production Manager Ryan Stiffney joined us, and talked about how important it is that their clients are already used to change orders and how it reduces stress for everyone.

No. 4

Steve’s Pick

Ep.12: Making the Transition from Home Building to Remodeling with Kevin Gregory

Kevin talks of his experiences and the differences in speed and quality between large-production new-home building and remodeling, and why things are the way they are. Learn about how you can successfully make the change to remodeling — where turnaround time is longer, quality has to be better, and you interact much more with clients — and how to lead workers through it.

Tim’s Pick:

Ep.01: Hiring Out of Trade Schools with David Keebler

Tim expresses some disappointed in our industry not getting new people into our business and not taking responsibility for making it happen. In this, our first episode, David talks about his company’s active involvement in their local trade school — and talks to one of its graduates, Al Chieffo, a carpenter who was hired right out of school.

No. 3

Steve’s Pick

Ep.10: Customer Satisfaction; Communication & Setting Expectations with Sal Alfano

Sal just showers you with wisdom, Steve says, and he draws on deep and wide experience in the industry. He talks about craftsmanship, communication, and running efficient projects. You can hear Sal discuss the importance of transparency in the industry, and how to protect your body when doing physical work.

Tim’s Pick

Ep.30: Building Systems in Production with Brad Hogan

If you can create only one system, it’s the process map — figuring out what happens in the entire process from the first client call to closing up the job. Once you’ve got that in place, you can go back to create systems for each step and department.

No. 2

Steve’s Pick

Ep.09: Keeping Craft Alive & Closing the Skills Gap with Rob Yagid

Rob took it upon himself to change something in the industry by leading the movement to celebrate the trades as a real career path by founding the Keep Craft Alive initiative. Created to help close the skills gap and encourage training and education, the campaign funds scholarships and publicizes the campaign in media outlets, and has popularized the hashtag #KeepCraftAlive.

Tim’s Pick

Ep.25: How to Fire a Client with Jackie Stezik

Every contractor has thought about it, and wanted to do it, but Jackie has fired clients — four times, in fact, and always for the good of her team. The first step is getting your contract language in line, and creating a process that allows you to get out of an abusive or dangerous situation.

No. 1

Steve’s Pick

Ep.03: Zero Punch List Production with Michael Barkhouse

Michael focused on solving the fatal flaw in a project — how to leave no error or step behind. He explains how to set your standards and expectations, and how to make that happen in real life. Getting to zero starts with sales, and continues through the process. If everyone expects it, the team’s behavior changes.

Tim’s Pick

Ep.05: Creative Ways to Motivate Your Production Team with Brad Yetman

For Tim, it’s not so much about the games, but about creatively motivating your people and making it fun. Using contests and games motivates people and makes work more enjoyable. You have to identify the problem you want to solve, figure out how to keep score, and let the team figure out what the reward should be.

We’d love to hear from you!

If you’ve got an idea for a topic, or have solved a nagging Production problem, let us know. Shoot Tim an email at tim@remodelersadvantage.com. And if you’re enjoying The Tim Faller Show and learning while you do it, please spread the word and leave us a review on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

Ep.28: Building the Ladder of Opportunity with David Keebler

Hiring and retention are big issues everywhere. As much as we talk about salary and bonuses, the way to get workers to stick around isn’t always about money. It’s more about the culture of your business, and the way you treat your employees from day one.

You need to give people a vision for what they can become, from the first interview. David Keebler returns to the podcast to talk to Tim and Steve about his ladder of opportunity, a step-by-step systematic approach to training and keeping good people.

David is the Production Manager for Harth Builders in Spring House, PA, and a Roundtables member since 2014. He oversees three Project Managers and six Lead Carpenters who are on target to produce $7 million this year.

The ladder is a roadmap for for potential growth for workers in the field. It quantifies what it takes to move up the ladder. In this competitive labor market, a ladder of opportunity can be the difference between a worker taking a job with your company.

David recommends giving yourself a deadline to create this ladder — gather input and commit to a deadline. Get buy-in and information from your Project Managers and Lead Carpenters. Set up a document that shows what is needed to advance, along with a realistic timeline. You’ll learn the benefits of implementing this system, including how it can:

  • Reduce bickering and complaining
  • Set clear expectations for pay rates
  • Identify where your workers want to go
  • Create a clear system for reviews
  • Boost in motivation at all levels
  • Accelerate training and scheduling
  • Become a marketing tool
  • Plus much more…

You’ll also learn how to train your employees to teach their field teams. Tapping into the knowledge of your team and setting clear goals will empower your production and hiring processes.

Ep.19: Training Project Managers with Mason Gatto

The labor crunch is real — and it’s getting even harder to hire great employees. But with an intentional training program in place, you can create greatness.

Mason Gatto joins Tim and Steve in this episode to talk training — specifically about his approach to training Project Managers, but the same ideas apply when teaching Lead Carpenters.

Currently the Production Manager of SoBo Homes Design and Build in Boulder, CO, Mason started as a field laborer and has worked every construction position on his way up. He’s drawn on this experience to develop his approach to training Lead Carpenters and Project Managers.

Mason’s training program for SoBo may surprise you — it’s a 60-day probationary period, with an emphasis on shadowing, not getting hands-on immediately. “Hiring is expensive,” he says. “A couple months seems like too long, but you’ll save time and money over the years.” Success starts with hiring for the right fit, not necessarily for skills or a long resume. He details his training program, as well as:

  • Why you need to train before mistakes are made
  • The importance of teamwork
  • Why a Project Manager should shadow every role in your company
  • Ways to cut down on the battle between Sales and Production
  • How to set goals for success
  • And more…

Finding skilled help is already difficult, with no sign it’s going to get easier. But with an intentional training program in place, you can teach the skills that will ensure success for your new hires, and your company. See more about Sobo Homes Design & Build.

 

Hear More From Mason…

We’re excited to have Mason as one of our featured speakers at The Purple Production Conference coming up in September! The Purple Production Conference runs alongside our Remodelers Summit in the amazing city of New Orleans on September 27th. Don’t miss this one-day journey through the inner workings of some of our industry’s most successful production departments. REGISTER TODAY!

 

Ep.18: Managing Labor Staff with Nick Beasley

We talk to many guests whose remodeling companies employ the Project Manager or Lead Carpenter systems with sub-contractors. Today, we’re looking at a production operation with 31 full-time employees — including in an in-house millwork shop.

In episode 18, Nick Beasley explains the ins and outs of having — and retaining — such a large production staff to Tim and Steve.

Nick plays an integral role in the growth and development of Adams + Beasley Assoc., acting as director of production for the last six years. Prior to this role, Nick operated his own residential construction firm for more than a decade. Today, he manages a staff of 30 Project Managers, Lead Carpenters, and carpenters, focusing on complex and dynamic residential remodeling projects in and around Boston, MA.

Keeping carpentry and production in-house takes a great deal of organization and training, but the benefits outweigh the challenges, says Nick. The biggest plus is control — of quality and schedules — with greater flexibility. Learn what goes into making it all work, including:

  • How to hire
  • Training schedules and materials
  • Who to meet with and when
  • Recruiting and retention strategies
  • Not having to beat up the subs
  • Setting standards
  • The importance of creating a great company culture
  • And more…

You’ll also hear a little about Tim’s time in the Boy Scouts, and how it relates to Adams + Beasley’s carpenter training methods. Give Adams + Beasley a click to learn more about them.

Make the Most of The Purple Production Conference – Bring Your Team & Save!

We’ve heard from many members and associates that they want to bring more than one person to the upcoming Production Conference in New Orleans on September 27th.

So, we’ve established a Team Pricing Discount.

If you bring 4 or more team members, the price for The Purple Production Conference drops to $225 if bundled with Summit and $325 if stand-alone. So bring the team!

Click Here to Register

 

Ep.17: Mobile Technology with Joe Weber

Technology is increasingly critical on every job — in the office, on job sites, at client meetings, or on the road. It’s also a way to attract and keep younger workers. But there’s a confusing array of programs and apps, and it’s hard to know what works.

Joe Weber joins Tim and Steve in this episode to help you figure out what tech you need, how to best use it, and what to keep an eye out for in the future.

Joe is the Production Manager for Kliethermes Homes & Remodeling, in Columbia, MO, and Leewood, KS. He’s been in the construction industry since high school, and has seen the evolution of mobile technology — from truck-mounted bag phones to pocket-size smartphones — and how it has changed the way we work.

Getting your team trained and comfortable with your chosen programs and devices is crucial — you can invest in all manner of cloud-based management systems and apps, but they’re useless if the team doesn’t use them. Joe talks about learning curves, the importance of training, as well as advice on:

  • Investing in devices
  • Saving time and money
  • Apps that will save you time and money
  • The power of photos
  • Working with clients
  • And much more…

Including the time he got a punch list via drone. If you’ve hesitated to put tech in the hands of your Project Managers or Lead Carpenters, have trouble getting your team to use it, or love it and want to go deeper, you can’t miss this episode! You can take a look at more about Kliethermes Homes & Remodeling here.

FIVE Reasons to Attend the #1 Remodeling Production Event in the Country 

  1. Great Speakers / Great Content
  2. Learn from Industry Thought-leaders and Peers
  3. Networking Opportunities & Connections
  4. Cool Venue in an Amazing City
  5. Spend the Day With Tim Faller!

Learn More & Register Today!

 

Ep.16: Real-Time Job Costing with Allen Dickey

Numbers don’t lie in business, but if you’re relying on week-old numbers, you’re not getting a true picture of what your job is costing. You can’t make informed decisions. Knowing how your costs compare to your budget in real time lets you control your projects better.

“If you don’t know today that you’re over budget, you have no ability to fix it for tomorrow,” Allen Dickey of 5th Generation Contracting tells Tim and Steve in this week’s episode. Before going to a cloud-based construction project management system, the whole process was “controlled chaos,” Allen says.

Allen is the Vice President of Construction at 5th Generation Contracting, a design/build firm in Marietta, GA. Allen has been in the construction industry for 30 years, and is IRC certified as a building, plumbing and electrical inspector. He grew up in construction as a carpenter. In addition to his experience in remodeling, Allen has worked with highend custom homes, production homes and multi-family dwellings.

When deploying a cloud-based project management system, overcoming resistance from Project Managers or Lead Carpenters is the key. Learn how to present the system to get the buy-in you need, as well as:

  • The benefits real-time cost data gives you over the life of a project
  • The necessity of accurate forecasting for profitability
  • Using the Big Picture to motivate your team
  • Empowering Project Managers through real-time cost data
  • And more…

If you’ve been putting off going to a cloud-based technology for managing your jobs, you need to listen to this episode — it will change the way you do business for the better! And you can learn more about 5th Generation Contracting here.

We’re thrilled Allen will be speaking at our 2nd Annual Production Conference — now known as the Purple Production Conference ‘18 with title sponsor National Gypsum — in September. The Purple Production Conference runs alongside our Remodeler’s Summit in the amazing city of New Orleans. Don’t miss this one-day journey through the inner workings of some of our industry’s most successful Production Departments. REGISTER TODAY!

 
 

Ep. 13: Controlling the Flow of Jobs Using a Master Schedule with Aaron Enfinger

You don’t need a crystal ball to look into the future for your Production Department. A master schedule can give you a predictable look at what’s to come, backed up by solid data. 

In Episode 13, Tim and Steve get insight from Aaron Enfinger, General Manager of The Cleary Company. Aaron joined the Columbus, Ohio, design/build remodeling company as a Project Manager four years ago. It became evident in early 2017 that the company needed additional oversight and management in the other areas of the organization, and Aaron was promoted to General Manager. 

Some of the evident success of the Production Department during that time was due to the master schedule Aaron developed with the help of Jennifer Wood, the Spreadsheet Savant and Office Manager at The Cleary Company. Having a solid grasp of big-picture scheduling and forecasting aided in creating a sense of stability and predictability in the Production Department. With buy-in from the Sales and Design Departments, the master schedule creates that same predictability across the company. 

Aaron details the benefits of creating your own master schedule, including how it: 

  • Acts as an early-warning system, red-flagging upcoming shortfalls or bottlenecks 
  • Increases communication between Sales and Production 
  • More accurately forecasts labor needs 
  • Gives you solid information to make informed decisions 
  • Allows for flexibility in scheduling across the company 

Find out more about what a master schedule can do for you, your team and your bottom line in this episode — and see more about The Cleary Company.

THE #1 PRODUCTION EVENT FOR IMPROVING THE BOTTOM LINE 

After an amazing turnout last year (more than 100 attendees) we are excited to host the 2nd Annual Production Conference, held alongside the 2018 Remodelers Summit in beautiful New Orleans, coming up in September. Register Today! 

Ep.12: Making the Transition from Home Building to Remodeling with Kevin Gregory

The industry-wide squeeze on labor demand has led to remodeling business owners turning their focus outside of their specific areas of construction to grow their teams.

Home building, commercial construction and specialties such as roofing, framing and even landscaping have been looked at as fertile ground for finding that next great team member, or even leader.

Making the transition from home building to remodeling can be tough, and in Episode 12 Tim and Steve welcome an industry veteran who has successfully shifted his focus from one to another.

Kevin Gregory, Owner of Boulder Builders in Colorado, joins the show to talk more about some of the challenges he faced as he not only entered the remodeling business, but started his own firm as well.

Kevin successfully transitioned from his role as a Project Manager for a Large Production home builder, to Production manager of a large-scale remodeling company. Kevin then founded Boulder Builders in 2015 and by 2017 had doubled in size every year with more than $1.5 in annual sales.

Tim, Steve and Kevin explore the differences from one form of construction to another, including:

  • The amount of attention focused on quality vs. speed of the job
  • Shifting from working with sub-contractors to adding staff/team members
  • Transitioning new team members from home building and general construction to remodeling
  • Wearing multiple hats as a remodeling business owner vs. structured environment in home building
  • And more

To learn more about Boulder Builders, visit their website: http://www.boulderbuilders.com/

 

THE #1 PRODUCTION EVENT FOR IMPROVING THE BOTTOM LINE

After an amazing turnout last year (more than 100 attendees) we are excited to host the 2nd Annual Production Conference, held alongside the 2018 Remodelers Summit in beautiful New Orleans, coming up in September. Register Today!

 

 

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