Success

Ep.200: The Partnership Between Owner and Production Manager

Season 2 Starts With This Special Episode Recorded Live at The Remodelers Summit!

Listen to this episode and get tips on creating an effective and highly functional relationship between company ownership and the production team.  Clark Harris and Eric Bain of Innovative Construction discuss how they have built an open, trusting, and team-based relationship that allows them to work effectively together while creating a culture for innovation, growth, and change.  

Innovative Construction is a high-end design firm in Atlanta, GA, with the goal of improving lives through design, craftsmanship, and teamwork.  Clark and Eric run their organization with a philosophy of “do it badly and improve.”  They do this with a relationship of openness and trust.

Join Clark, Eric, Tim, and Steve as they discuss:

  • Radical Candor
  • Failure as a growth opportunity
  • Overcoming challenges and fears
  • And more…

The Impact Your Production Team Has on Marketing with Spencer Powell – [Best of The Tim Faller Show]

Raise your hand if you are a salesperson… Maybe a few business owners raised their hands, but most likely, our production people and our Project managers, Lead carpenters, and Production managers all kept their hands down. Not so fast!

In this episode, we step out of our comfort zone a little and talk about your production teams’ impact on sales and marketing. For this discussion, we bring in an expert in the marketing world who has worked with hundreds of remodelers and home builders all over the country, Spencer Powell.

Spencer is the President of Builder Funnel, a Colorado-based firm that provides sales and marketing services for homebuilders, remodelers & contractors. Spencer earned his Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, and HubSpot Partner Certifications in 2010 and has been practicing and teaching inbound marketing to businesses ever since.

Tim, Steve, and Spencer talk more about:

  • The impact production has on the Client Experience
  • The Top 3 things that will create negatives in the clients’ mind
  • The Top 3 things that create a positive reaction with a client
  • How the production team can create vital content for the marketing effort
  • How owners and leaders can get buy-in from the team and show the impact they have on the business

Active Listening in the Job Interview with Christine Miles – [Best of The Tim Faller Show]

In the interview process, actively listening is key. But how? And how do we change if we “really need someone”? Then, of course, there are all the other times that when we look back at a difficult situation, whether a client or an employee, we see all the signs of the challenge were there, but we did not listen. Guest Christine Miles is here to share some insight and answers on how to avoid that situation.

Christine Miles is the author of What Is It Costing You Not to Listen?: The Power of Understanding to Connect, Influence, Solve & Sell, a professional keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach, thought leader, entrepreneur, and radio show host.  She is the founder and CEO of EQuipt.  Additional information on her may be obtained here. 

Tim, Steve, and Christine talk more about:

  • The importance of learning to listen
  • Other situations we can benefit from actively listening
  • And more…

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.172: Pull Planning for Smooth Production with Jack Miller – Part 1

In this episode, Host Tim Faller shares a process called Pull Planning, and how he thinks it can change the way the residential remodeling world schedules projects.  Instead of creating a schedule from start dates, the focus is centered around end dates, and guest Jack Miller is here to talk about how this technical tool can eliminate the huge costs and high stress from production scheduling delays.

Jack started Jack Miller Contractors in 2007 with the vision of a team of highly skilled professionals working together to deliver exceptional projects, a vision which has since come to fruition.  He also leads his parish Buildings & Grounds committee and is on the advisory committee to Charles H. McCann Technical School. 

Tim, Steve and Jack talk more about:

  • What can cause schedules to fail
  • Organizing Pull Planning meetings
  • Identifying project milestones
  • And more…

Peer-Power for your Production Team!

Due to ongoing demand, we will be taking new members into our 7th Roundtables Group, specifically for Project Managers, in January 2022.

Developed and led by our Senior Consultant and “Production Guru,” Tim Faller, this special Roundtables™ Program focuses on all aspects of production management; People Management, Technology, Training & Development, Customer Service and more.

For more information about this great program, click here.

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.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.