Business Management

Ep.09: Seven Steps to Earning Positive Online Reviews with Bryan Sebring

Online reviews can be the “Lifeblood” of any remodeling company’s business and marketing strategy and in Episode 9, Victoria and Mark speak with Bryan Sebring a very successful remodeler who has mastered the art of collecting online reviews from his satisfied clients.

Bryan is the Owner of Sebring Design Build in Naperville, IL and has quickly become a valuable resource and thought-leader for R/A and our Roundtables members.

According to Bryan he is a self-taught marketer who jumped in with both feet following a website re-design project that went sideways.

Bryan’s 7 Step process for driving positive reviews is more than just a marketing strategy. As Bryan describes, his firm’s process of asking for reviews and earning them with hard work, great design and a client-first attitude has become more of a company culture.

As Bryan, Victoria and Mark discuss the 7-step process, we learn more about:

  • Strategies around specific websites such as Houzz, Angie’s List and Yelp.
  • Infusing the review process into your sales/lead intake process
  • Dealing with bad reviews
  • How to encourage and educate your clients to read and provide reviews
  • Setting expectations with clients at project kickoff
  • How to work with client on project completion and walk-through

Free Resource

As Bryan describes his sales and lead intake process, he mentions that he provides his clients and prospects with information to educate them about online reviews: what to look for, good signs, red flags, etc.  Here’s the blog post he share’s with them, which also includes his free Remodeling 101 ebook.

…And Speaking of Asking for Reviews

We are receiving great feedback from our listeners and we have more great episodes like this one coming. If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word by rating our show and commenting on iTunes, Stitcher, or whichever platform you use!

Ep.08: 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

…And then a Big Announcement!

As they wrapped up Episode 8, Tim announced that he and R/A’s Steve Wheeler have launched their own podcast, The Tim Faller Show … Episode Zero is online now and they will post new episodes starting on Monday, March 26thGo Check it out!

Ep.07: Is an ESOP Right For Your Remodeling Business?

When it comes to succession planning and determining an exit strategy from your remodeling business there are plenty of options to consider.

Many of our Roundtables members have either sold or handed their businesses off to the next generation, for example… but all of them will tell you that making that determination early in your company’s lifespan can be critical to the success of your plan.

In today’s Episode of PowerTips Unscripted, Victoria and Mark explore an area of succession planning that is somewhat new to the remodeling industry, by talking with Anthony Mathews, a thought-leader in the area of creating and maintaining ESOPs, or Employee Stock Ownership Plans.

Anthony has spent the past 40 years helping business owners and employees transform their companies into communities of stakeholders through the creation and maintenance of ESOPs – many of them for construction companies. Most recently Anthony has spent the last decade at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, teaching future business leaders and advisors.

Anthony describes what he refers to as a “Succession Crisis” in this country where closely held companies get to the end of their life span and simply close or liquidate. When that happens, the owners may (or may not) receive full value in the business, employees lose their jobs and towns and cities are faced with yet another business that is no longer a part of their business community.

Anthony, Victoria & Mark discuss:

  • What type of company sets up an ESOP? Size? Number of Employees? Characteristics?
  • What is the process of establishing an ESOP?
  • What are some of the challenges companies face?
  • What makes an ESOP different than a 401K, Profit Sharing or other plan?
  • What are the Tax Advantages that companies and employees will see?
  • How does having 10-30 owners effect the company culture?
  • Anthony’s 4 phase process of determining if an ESOP is right for a business

Is an ESOP right for your remodeling business?

If you are a current R/A Roundtables Member, Anthony has offered a FREE initial consultation to help determine if an ESOP is the right solution for your company.

Anthony can be reached using the following contact information:

Anthony Mathews
Rady School of Management
University of California, San Diego
Office: (858) 822-6010
E-mail: amathews@ucsd.edu

Ep.06: Behind the Scenes of an HGTV Pilot with John Huffman

Lights, Camera, Action! Getting the brand exposure of a TV pilot, aired on a national media channel like HGTV, can seem like every remodeler’s dream… But is it? What’s involved? Is it disruptive to your business? Do you get leads from it? Is it as exciting as it sounds?

In Episode 6, Victoria and Mark talk to John Huffman, CEO & Co-Owner of Black Door Renovation in Southlake TX. John runs Black Door with his wife, Elizabeth, and Rick Baker, a long time RA member, and together they focus on large-scale, high-end additions and whole house remodels.

John and Elizabeth, were approached by a production company in 2016 about pitching a show called “Lone Star Flip” to HGTV and their story of the ups and downs of that process is amazing and great insight to other remodelers considering a similar endeavor.

Often in business, timing is everything… and John talks more about how this opportunity occurred at about the same time as their merger with Rick Baker’s Stately Design & Renovation company.

John walks us through their experience and along the way Victoria and Mark cover:

  • How disruptive was it to your business?
  • How did this experience effect your brand and messaging for Black Door?
  • Did you see leads from it and were they qualified?
  • How did you handle the influx of leads?
  • How did you handle the pricing expectations we see mentioned on these types of shows on TV?
  • Knowing what you do now, would you do it again?

A great episode, not to be missed! Enjoy!

If you would like to know more about Black Door Renovation visit their website and they did an amazing job of documenting their HGTV experience on Instagram and Facebook.

Do you have a similar experience with any other media efforts? Cable shows? Radio broadcasts? We would love to hear about any of your experiences, positive or negative, in the comments section below.

Are you loving PowerTips Unscripted Yet?

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

And as always, if you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

Ep.05: Building a Successful, Profitable Remodeling Company with Brandon Bailey

So many of our Roundtables members have discovered that in order to grow your remodeling business and get to “the next level” it takes focus, hard work, determination and the willingness to look for outside resources when you realize you need help.

Brandon Bailey is a fantastic example of a successful remodeler who took the necessary steps and made the tough decisions to significantly grow his business over the past 9 years. In Episode 5, Victoria and Mark spend time with Brandon, Owner of Bailey Remodeling and Construction, a design & build firm in Louisville, Kentucky.

After starting his business in 2005 Brandon was where many of our members were when they were starting out… producing good, reputable work but “spinning their wheels” with long hours, no systems in place, no predictable revenue model, etc. Sound familiar?

In 2009 Brandon and his business partner, Jon Steimel, began making decisions to significantly change and grow their business and they have done a fantastic job, recently being named the 2017 Remodeler of the Year by the Building Industry Association in Louisville. Brandon’s business started out as many do with just 2 partners, and they have grown their team to 9 and ready to bring on employee number 10!

In this episode Victoria and Mark explore the changes Brandon and Jon made to their business back in 2009 and looked further into:

  • Finding outside resources to help his business
  • What it was like working with a business coach and peer group
  • Which KPIs to keep an eye on
  • Growing his team beyond the 2 partners
  • Building a Sales System
  • Establishing a consistent and predictable revenue model
  • Increasing Net Profit!
  • What his business and day-to-day life is like now vs. back in 2009

As always, we included the Lightning round and 5 words of wisdom and Brandon knocked it out of the park.

If you would like to learn more about Brandon, Jon and their firm, Bailey Remodeling and Construction, click here to visit their website.

How are we doing so far?

If you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

Ep.04: OSHA Regulations You Need to Be Aware of as a Remodeling Business Owner with Ben Johnson

There are few organizations that can impact a US based remodeling business like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)… Maybe the IRS, but that’s another episode.

In Episode 4 of PowerTips Unscripted, Victoria and Mark speak with Ben Johnson about OSHA regulations, enforcement and how they can have a huge impact if not handled correctly.

Ben Johnson is an attorney at the Nilan Johnson Lewis law firm in Minneapolis and is well-versed in matters concerning OSHA. He represents companies involved in business litigation, including issues that commonly arise in the construction industry, like contract disputes, defect claims, and warranty disputes. He also specializes in defending companies in matters involving personal injuries, product liability, and workplace safety.

Victoria, Mark and Ben discuss matters such as:

  • Clarification of the 10-employee Rule
  • Building OSHA compliance planning & training into your employment documentation
  • Preparing you and your team if an OSHA Inspector arrives on one of your job sites
  • Which issues are the most commonly cited by OSHA Inspectors
  • How to be proactive by utilizing OSHA resources such as training & free consultations
  • New regulations concerning exposure to airborne Silica on the job site
  • The impact the new administration will have on OSHA regulations & enforcement

If you need to reach Ben, his contact information is:
Ben Johnson
Shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis PA
bcjohnson@nilanjohnson.com
(612) 305-7693

OSHA Online Resources mentioned in this episode:

Would love some feedback…

Any experience with OSHA regulations or enforcement? Please share your comments and advice below.

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher

Ep.03: Top Financial Challenges Faced by Today’s Remodeling Business Owner with Doug Howard

Episode 3 takes a deep dive into the financial challenges that remodeling business owners face on a daily basis. Victoria and Mark welcome Doug Howard, Remodelers Advantage Director of Consulting to the PowerTips Unscripted studio.

Doug Howard is an entrepreneur, government official and small business consultant with more than 25 years of experience in leading organizations and assisting clients in many different industries.

After working with remodelers from across the US and Canada, Doug shares his thoughts on challenges such as:

  • Cash flow issues
  • Planning and budgeting for growth
  • Recognizing success patterns in your business
  • Stair-stepping growth (adding personnel & resources)
  • LEAN Process improvement and how it relates to production & cash flow
  • Identifying signs that you are growing too fast
  • Ownership structure: Partnerships, relatives, married couples, etc.
  • What to do when things start “going south”

Doug’s alternate job title at R/A is “The Fixer” and that becomes apparent as he shares his experiences in working with remodelers and providing his Five Words of Wisdom. Doug survives the Lightning Round with some key insights as well as a great book recommendation… Enjoy!

Thanks for Listening…

Please share your comments about Doug’s thoughts and advice below and if you have any questions for Doug, or you are interested in learning more about how Doug can help you with your business, contact him at doug@remodelersadvantage.com

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

Ep.02: Building an Effective Emergency Succession Plan with Philip Anderson

In our second episode of PowerTips Unscripted, Victoria and Mark spend some time with Philip Anderson, a long-time Remodelers Advantage member and well-respected industry leader. 

Philip Anderson is the President of HDR Remodeling, a successful Design + Build firm that he founded over 30 years ago in the Berkeley / Oakland / East Bay Area in California. 

The topic of this episode is Emergency Succession Planning, or how to plan ahead in the instance of a short or long-term absence of the business owner or key personnel. Philip discusses how his firm was able to build an effective succession plan, not only for the long-term once he retires, but in the case of a sudden departure from the business. 

Unfortunately, Philip’s plan was put to the test when he suffered a stroke a few months later and his business was able to continue during his extended leave. 

Some great advice shared by Philip: 

  • Don’t limit the plans to just the owner, include key personnel in sales, production, finance, etc.
  • Develop separate plans for short-term, intermediate and long-term or permanent absences.
  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each position so those stepping up have some direction and documentation to follow.

Philip does a great job with the “Lightning Round” and “Five Words of Wisdom” segments. Some great advice shared by one of our industry’s finest. Enjoy!

What about you?

Did you like the episode? Have you drafted an ESP yet? Please share your comments below and if you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher!

Free Download!

As you heard, Philip was kind enough to share his Emergency Success Plan with our community! If you’re a Remodelers Advantage member, click here to login to the Download Library.

Not a member? No worries, access Philip’s ESP right here!

And if you’re reading this in the show notes of a podcasting app that doesn’t include active hyperlinks, visit our website at powertipspodcast.com and find episode 02. 

Thanks for listening!

Ep. 01: How to Create a Valuable, Sellable Company with John Warrillow

For our first episode, we’re thrilled to have John Warrillow as our inaugural guest. John is the author of Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, and in this episode he shares tips on how you can build a high-value company. Even if you’re not thinking about selling today, you can’t afford to turn a blind eye to the process.

Topics covered include:

  • Action steps to developing a sellable company
  • The hub-and-spoke manager vs. the apple picker
  • The Switzerland structure
  • How to sell “air”

Plus, John helped us kick-off our “Lightning Round” and “Five Words of Wisdom” segments. All that and more for our first episode. Enjoy! 

Ep. 00: Beginnings – Welcome to PowerTips Unscripted

Surely you can’t be serious. Remodelers Advantage is launching a podcast?

Yeah, you betcha. And as a prelude to our first episode, we’ve recorded “Episode Zero – Beginnings” to not only introduce you to your hosts — Victoria Downing and Mark Harari — but also to give you a taste of what you can expect when you put the two of them in front of a mic without a script. We’ve also thrown in a big-time giveaway, some movie quotes, and a British lady. All that in just under 6 minutes.

Why? Because we want learning to be fun.

So strap in and get ready, because starting January 24th, 2018, we’re launching PowerTips Unscripted. We’ll be bringing you interviews with leading industry experts, best-selling authors, and owners of multi-million dollar remodeling companies from across the US and Canada. Oh, and a British lady, too.