Production

Ep.50: LIVE from the Extreme Business Makeover in Baltimore

For our 50th episode, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover in Baltimore at the the end of January 2019. It capped off an intense two days of learning, sharing, and networking among the remodelers attending and our Remodelers Advantage team.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark direct the lively discussions with our panel. We were joined by:

We talk profits and payroll, cash flow, the owner’s role in a growing business, margins, staying top-of-mind in your marketing, smart lead qualifying, planning and making decisions on your job sites, and the power of asking “why?”  

It’s an insightful and all-encompassing discussion of how to run your business to get bigger margins, more profits, and creating a real life/work balance. If you missed it, you need to listen to this episode.

 

Ep.42: How and When To Hire a General Manager with Aaron Enfinger

As companies experience growth, there are tipping points where changes need to be made. One of those points is when you realize you need additional management for the organization. Many remodelers are considering adding a General Manager, but are unsure how it will work in practice.

The Cleary Company of Columbus, OH, reached this tipping point in the Development Department in the Fall of 2016. The company was changing rapidly, adding staff, and stressing the existing systems in place. Things were getting bogged down. Owner George Cleary promoted Aaron Enfinger from Production Manager to GM to step in the gap. He’s currently wearing both hats while searching for his successor as PM.

In this episode, Aaron talks to Victoria and Mark about his experiences in taking over his new role and what it’s meant for the company. While Aaron oversees the operations, George has more time for business development and long-term planning.

The decision to add an overlay of management was caused by three factors, says Aaron. The staff was stressed by the workload, they were having trouble getting projects through the different phases of the job, and steps were being skipped in previously reliable systems because of the rush to get jobs to production. He talks about what his job entails, and some of the challenges, including:

  • Keeping the owner in the mix
  • How to not overload a GM
  • Managing people outside of your own job experience, like designers or marketers
  • Creating new positions to help streamline processes
  • Why to hire from within (if you can)
  • Working with the owner (or CEO)
  • The benefits of a walking meeting
  • Small picture vs. big picture thinking
  • And more…

As promised in the podcast, here’s the link to Aaron’s appearance on The Tim Faller Show, where he outlined his approach to creating a master schedule to control the flow of jobs through the pipeline.

Extreme Makeover: Business Edition

As Mark and Victoria mentioned in this episode, the Extreme Makeover: Business Edition, Jan. 29-30, 2019, is filling up fast — and Super Early Bird Pricing ends this Friday, November 30th.
Click Here for More Information & Registration 

 

Ep.41: Using Virtual Reality to Grow Sales and Profits with Chris Katkish

Virtual reality creates immersive environments in real time. For remodelers, that means your clients could preview and even “walk-through” their projects to see if they like what they’re seeing. 

Guest Chris Katkish says VR can help remodelers streamline their sales and design process, trim the length of the sales cycle, and boost production efficiency by reducing change orders. All of which leads to more sales and more profit.

In this episode, Chris talks to Victoria and Mark about using VR technology to help clients confidently make decisions more quickly in the sales and design process.

Chris is the general manager of InSite Builders and Remodeling in Bethesda, MD. The three owners of InSite have partnered in a company called Limitless Virtual Reality, which enables CAD designs to be viewed in VR.

InSite uses VR as a visualization tool to get concepts across to homeowners. Even if you’re using 3D modeling, they’re still viewed in 2D, and seeing it on screen isn’t the same. VR immersion allows clients to experience the space and see what they’re buying before its built. Chris talks about the ways remodelers can use VR in their businesses, including:

  • When to bring VR into the sales process
  • Building in the charge for the VR design
  • How your 3D model becomes a VR environment
  • The equipment you’d need — and how much it may cost
  • Real-world examples of how VR speeds up client decisions
  • How to use it with Project Managers and Trade Partners
  • And more…

Victoria and Mark also spitball ways to use VR in your marketing. The pace of technology is fast — and VR is the newest tool on the scene. If you’ve got ideas or opinions on how VR may affect the remodeling business or your business, let us know in the comments below.
 

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Ep.39: How NOT to Grow Your Remodeling Business with Judith Miller

The Great Recession gobbled up a whole slew of remodeling companies, but more of them fail during an economic expansion than during a contraction. Growth is great, but it’s risky, and knowing how not to grow will put you ahead of the game.

In this hot market, there are so many opportunities, you can get ahead of yourself too quickly for the health of your company. And that’s where remodeling company owners get into trouble by growing the wrong way. There are potential downsides, and to avoid them, you have to keep you basic best practices — and customer satisfaction and net profits lie at the center, says Judith Miller.

In this episode, Judith joins Victoria and Mark to talk about the ways to grow your company the right way.

Judith has been a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage Roundtables for more than 15 years. She’s a QuickBooks expert, the author of The Remodeler’s Ultimate Guide to QuickBooks, and has been a columnist for Remodeling magazine for more than 10 years. Judith isn’t just a financial guru, she’s a high-level strategist who understands that numbers prove your strategy. She loves the challenge of helping good remodelers become better every day.

When trying to grow, the biggest stumbling block is a lack of control, preparation, and not focusing on the best practices. Judith tells you what those best practices are, and how to grow the right way, while explaining the details, including:

  • The critical need for leadership
  • Why your financials have to be in order
  • The Top 5 things you need to do to build a strong, profitable company
  • The predictable stages of growth — and which is best to grow in
  • How large you can get
  • Why hiring a sales force is the riskiest transition
  • How to build a company you can sell
  • Why growing over 20% may be crazy
  • And more…

You’ll also learn why “The Whale” projects takes too many remodelers down. Click here to go to the Growth Sustainability Calculator we discussed in the episode.

And if you need QuickBooks help, or want bring in Judith as a consultant for your business, you can email her at jfmiller@remodelservices.com.

 

Want More Ways to Improve Your Business in 2019 and Beyond?

We are excited to announce that we are re-launching and re-branding our annual January event, formerly known as the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop. The Extreme Makeover: Business Edition Event has been re-tooled and re-focused on providing growing remodelers and renovators with the tools necessary to improve their businesses in 2019 and beyond.

In addition to Judith Miller, this 2-day event will feature well-known speakers such as Victoria Downing, Tim Faller and Mark Harari and bring in new faces like Doug Howard and the 2018 Fred Case Award Winner, Michael Sauri. For more information and to grab Super Early Bird discounts, CLICK HERE.

Ep.33: The Sales-to-Production Handoff with Bruce Case

To many remodelers, a project works like a relay race, depending on good handoffs of the baton. The sales-to production-handoff is critical, and if you drop the baton, the race is over.

But there are ways to make it less of a hard handoff and more of a continuum, says Bruce Case. Bruce joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to break down the barriers and bring Sales and Production together as a team.

Bruce Case is the president and CEO of Case Design/Remodeling Inc., one the largest full-service remodeling firms in the nation with more than $60 million is annual revenue. Focused on the Washington, DC, metro market, the company provides a unique mix of design/build and home improvement services. Over the past 15 years, the company has extended its reach across the US through a network of licensees and franshises working under the Case Handyman & Remodeling Services banner. All these initiatives is focus on inspiring team members and clients.

Involving Production from the beginning of a job makes the projects more seamless and collaborative, creating a process that empowers employees and keeps them all focused on the bottom line. Bruce tells you how Case handles this team approach, including:

  • The need for accurate estimating
  • Why Project Managers get to sign off on a contract before the client does
  • Structuring compensation for Sales and Production based on gross profit
  • Who goes to what meetings and why
  • What to do when you need a tie-breaker
  • And a whole lot more…

Bruce talks about how to lead this process, and your team, with empowerment and accountability. For more about Case Design/Remodeling, check out their website. And we’re looking forward to Bruce’s AskAnything Fireside Chat at the Remodeler’s Summit on Sept. 26 — his fourth time sharing his expertise with us.

 
 

Ep.29: How to Build an Award-Winning Company with Jeremy Martin

Success in the remodeling industry is all by the book for Jeremy Martin. That goes for the 50 books he reads per year, and the systems and business processes he institutes and uses at his company. And most importantly, those two factors culminate in “The Book” — the three-ring binder filled with details and documentation that has powered his company’s growth.

Jeremy talked with Victoria and Mark for our live podcast in June — and if you missed it, take this opportunity to catch up. You’ll hear insights and tactics you can put to work for your own company immediately.

A principal with RisherMartin in Austin, TX, Jeremy founded the company with partner Chris Risher. Jeremy graduated from the University of Texas with an engineering degree and went to work at Fortune 500 giants like IBM and Intel. Jeremy combined his corporate experience with his love of building and launched his home building career in 2001. He’s an RA Roundtables member, was recognized as a “Rising Star” by NAHB, and was in the “40 under 40” lists for Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler. With Chris, he was named the 2016 Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year, and was a finalist for the RA Impact Award.

Jeremy’s time with huge companies gives him a different perspective on the remodeling business, and he’s applied the lessons learned at businesses with 60,000 employees to his now 10-person company. “You have to think big to get big,” he says. “But don’t expect that growth to be linear.”

Learn how RisherMartin finds their ideal clients, gets an average of $1 million per job, and how they hire, along with:

  • Setting intentional time on the calendar for big picture thinking
  • Troubleshooting the most treacherous part of the remodeling business
  • The secret to a healthy business partnership
  • How to strive for continuous improvement
  • Selling the fixed-price model
  • And more…

You’ll also get to hear Mark admit his man-crush, and find out what Victoria’s theme song would be. You can learn more about RisherMartin on the company’s website, which devotes a page to The Book — that’s how important it is to their success.

In today’s episode, Victoria mentions a slide that was available during the Live Episode back in June, for those of you who are interested in learning more about Roundtables… Below is a copy of that slide, click to see a larger version.

Ep. 23: Managing Your Customers with Chip Doyle

As a business owner, it seems like you manage everyone — your staff, your crews, your kids, your pets. But if you — and especially your designers — aren’t managing your customers, says Chip Doyle, you’re wasting time and losing out on potential profits.

In this episode, Victoria, Mark and Chip discuss how to break up bottlenecks and speed up the process of handing off from Design to Production. By effectively managing client expectations, setting clear goals and deadlines, and guiding clients intentionally, you can avoid having projects park for too long in design and selections. “Time kills deals,” says Chip.

Chip has been in the sales industry for 28 years, and training with Sandler for nearly 16 years. He’s a sought-after speaker, and will be on the main stage at our Remodeler’s Summit in September, and co-authored Selling to Homeowners The Sandler Way. Chip has a licensed training center and trains companies of all sizes in Pleasant Hill, CA, helping them reach their full potential, exceed expectations and continue to grow.

Empowering designers to guide, and ultimately lead, clients through the design process can increase your profits by 25%, Chip tells our hosts. Some of the ways to get there include:

  • Cutting design time in half, without cutting corners
  • Giving designers the right role models
  • Managing “genius attacks”
  • Setting clear meeting goals and timely next steps
  • The importance of deadlines — for clients
  • Getting projects through that would otherwise stall
  • The traits to look for in a designer — toss the DISC assessment
  • And, as always, much more…

To learn more about Chip and what he can do to help you grow your company, check out his website at www.chipdoyle.sandler.com.

Spread the Word about PowerTips Unscripted!

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Ep.20: Constantly Improving Your Business Using Kaizen with Michael Sauri

Kaizen means (literally) “Change for Good,” and that can mean REALLY good things for your growing remodeling company. This process of constant improvement, with every team member participating, allows your company to constantly raise the bar on its target metrics.

In Episode 20, Victoria and Mark learn more about the Kaizen practice of process improvement by welcoming Michael Sauri, CEO of TriVista USA, to the show.

Michael and his wife Deborah started TriVistaUSA in 2005 with the goal of providing an outlet for creativity and a Ritz Carlton-level client experience. “Our Thoughtful Design Builds Fine Living,” is their mission statement and their mantra as they bring phenomenal, award-winning design to the Design/Build community in the Washington DC area.

The Kaizen practice focuses on improving existing, standardized processes by eliminating waste and was first practiced in Japanese businesses after the World War II.

Michael provides some great insight on how TriVista has adopted Kaizen throughout his business and includes:

  • The background of Kaizen and how TriVista got involved
  • Hiring and developing a team within the Kaizen structure
  • The differences between Kaizen and other process improvement practices
  • 3 metrics of measurement to measure client satisfaction
  • What a Kaizen Event is and what the goal of the effort is
  • Issues and examples where Kaizen improved their business
  • Managing team buy-in into the process
  • And More…

To learn more about TriVistaUSA, visit their website at https://www.trivistausa.com/

 

Tell everyone you know about PowerTips Unscripted!

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.

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

 
 

Ep.10: Higher Profits Through LEAN Process Improvements with Doug Howard

If there is one take-away from more than 30 years of working with R/A members, it is this: Successful remodeling companies are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves and subsequently are able to achieve a higher net profit.

In our 10th episode of PowerTips Unscripted, Victoria and Mark welcome back Doug Howard, Director of Consulting for Remodelers Advantage, to talk more about his experience with LEAN process improvement.

LEAN is a system aimed at continual process improvement. Born out of the Toyota Production System, it became a common tool used in manufacturing and over the past 20 years, it has found its way into government, healthcare and service industries, including our remodeling industry.

Since joining R/A last year, Doug has worked directly with several Remodelers on using LEAN to improve their businesses and will lead a Masterclass on LEAN For Remodelers coming up in April.

Victoria, Mark and Doug dig further into the benefits of LEAN process improvement and along the way uncover:

  • Examples of using LEAN in Remodeling
  • Driving profit through process improvement
  • Identifying instances of waste in remodeling production
  • Implementing change resulting from LEAN results
  • Doug’s Process of working directly with companies to implement LEAN within their organizations
  • How LEAN impacts the client and their ultimate satisfaction

Where Can You Learn More?

As stated above, Doug will lead a Masterclass on LEAN in April and that class is filling up now.

We have a website dedicated to LEAN For Remodelers, called LeanRemodeling.com and as Doug mentions in this episode, there is a FREE download available on the website; a Process Mapping Template that will help you get started with your own effort to improve.

As always, Doug is available to answer any questions you may have and is looking forward to working with more companies this year. Doug@RemodelersAdvantage.com

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!