Production

Ep.143: The Deadly Sins that Designers & Production Teams Commit with Jeff Borovitz

How can designers and production staff improve their success in the remodeling industry?  Guest Jeff Borovitz joins Victoria and Mark to talk about the deadly sins that get in the way of reaching your full potential.  

Jeff has worked and trained with many members of the Remodelers Advantage Roundtables community and brings that experience in talking about patterns and trends to continue, and avoid.

Since 1991, Jeff has worked with businesses across the globe, helping thousands improve their sales organizations and sales culture.  Jeff is now the owner of Sandler Training, a sales and leadership training company that helps business owners increase revenue, shorten sales cycles, and hire better-performing sales teams.  

Victoria, Mark and Jeff talk more about:

  • The deadly sins to avoid
  • The one sin that costs remodelers the most
  • The difference between “like” and “trust”
  • QSTEP
  • Learning how to avoid the deadly sins
  • And more…

FREE Webinar: Using Market Positioning to Drive Greater Profitability

5 Strategies for Using Your Target Market to Drive Sales and Profitability

In this month’s free webinar, Doug Howard takes a closer look at how to position your remodeling business effectively in order to maximize your opportunities in the market right now. March 16, 2021 @ 1:00pm ET

[ Click Here for More Information + Registration ]

Ep.133: Harnessing the Power of 3D Visualization with Dave Pollard

Dave Pollard, Co-Founder & Design Director of Liv Companies outside of Chicago, joins the show to talk more about how his firm utilizes 3D renderings in almost every aspect of their business.

Leading LivCo’s design team, Dave’s process quickly takes hand sketches to full-blown renderings and walk-throughs, and they are even leveraging the power of quick video editing to help clients and prospects truly feel what their home can be, and leave every meeting feeling inspired.

LivCo has been leveraging the power of 3D design since they began design/build back in 2012.  Initially used simply as a creative tool for developing ideas, they quickly learned that the 3D output could take them to a higher level in sales, efficiency of communication, and marketing.

Victoria, Mark and Dave talk more about:

  • The software LivCo uses and why they use it.
  • An overview of LivCo’s general design workflow.
  • Using 3D visualization for more than just client presentations.
  • The time it takes to make deliverables to the client.
  • The fees to the client for 3D renderings.
  • And more…

LivCo’s Drawing Board Playlist on YouTube

VR Codes mentioned in this episode:

VR codes

Jobs are Won or Lost During the Design Process - MasterClass coming up in January!

BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE DESIGN PROCESS

Created exclusively for design managers and senior-level designers in remodeling and custom building companies, this MasterClass brings together presentations from award-winning industry experts, best practice sharing, and more.  [ More Information + Registration ]

Ep.131: All About LEAN and Value Stream Mapping with Dean Tompkins

Increasing efficiency is one of the easiest ways to increase your company’s profitability, and LEAN process improvement is an extremely popular direction to take for successful remodelers and builders out there.

We have discussed LEAN concepts in past episodes, including Episode 10 when we had Doug Howard on to talk about the LEAN consulting work he is doing with remodelers and builders around the country.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark look more closely at some of the aspects within the LEAN system and welcome Dean Tompkins to the show to discuss how using Value Stream Mapping can rapidly improve your business.

Dean is the Owner and Integrator for Payne & Payne Renovations and Design in Cleveland, Ohio and he, and his business partner David Payne, recently embarked on a LEAN process improvement journey.

Victoria, Mark and Dean talk more about:

  • How Payne & Payne got started with LEAN Manufacturing concepts.
  • How LEAN applies to remodeling and the custom building process.
  • Aspects of the LEAN toolbox and which ones they used.
  • How the Value Stream Mapping process went and what surprises they found.
  • What the results of the process were and whether or not they would do it again.
  • And more…

Imagine being more profitable than your competition, without having to be more expensive.

LEAN is a method of process improvement designed to simultaneously improve customer service, enhance employee morale and increase profitability — all with little or no capital investment.

Here at Remodelers Advantage we’ve taken the core principles of LEAN and developed the LEAN Remodeling System (LRS), which addresses the specific challenges facing remodeling businesses today.
[Click Here to Learn More]

Ep.113: Fighting the Labor Shortage with In-house Training with Dan Hurst

The demand and absence of skilled labor is a huge challenge for remodelers across North America. We hear it from our Roundtables Members as well as from our associates, sponsors and Podcast guests.

In this episode Victoria and Mark explore different ways to tackle the issue, and welcome Dan Hurst to the show to talk about how his firm effectively creates a culture and career path that provides opportunities for his staff to learn and develop new skills.

Dan is the President / General Manager of Hurst Design Build Remodel in Westlake, OH and is actively involved in NARI as well as a Master Certified Remodeler and Certified Lead Carpenter.

Dan, Victoria and Mark talk more about:

  • Things you can do to create a culture and provide a path to grow your own skilled workforce
  • Why there is a need to develop your own staff vs. hiring
  • Creating opportunities for your employees to learn and develop new skills
  • What a typical career path might look like
  • Managing and helping your staff achieve their career goals
  • The fear of investing time and energy into developing someone, only to have them leave

Key Strategies on Finding, Hiring & Keeping the Right Talent for Your Remodeling Company.

This one-hour FREE webinar, led by Doug Howard, is designed to provide insight and strategies for remodeling company owners and their leadership teams on how to hire more efficiently and effectively.

July 28, 2020; 11:30am – 12:30pm ET

Click Here for More Information + Free Registration >>

Ep.104: [Unscripted Back-Up] How to Hit Healthy Net Profits in any Economic Climate with Mike Medford Sr.

Editor’s note: We’re all working from our homes, away from the friendly confines of the office and its podcasting studio. So we dug into the virtual vault to bring you this episode. We’re in an uncertain time for many remodelers, so here’s some advice that will help you weather any business climate.

One of our core principles is that remodeling companies should make a good net profit, after paying the owners an above-average salary. When the economy’s booming, you can get away with a lot and still hit those goals, sometimes by accident. But the goal is to get those healthy net profits consistently, year after year, even in a downturn.

In this episode, Mike Medford Sr. talks to Victoria and Mark about how to do just that. Before seeing the metrics of the Top Ten Roundtables members a few years ago, Mike says his financials were always in flux. But then he took those figures and made them hard targets.

Mike Medford Sr. has been a home remodeling contractor for over 40 years. In 2007, he partnered with his son, Mike Jr. to form what is now Medford Design Build, with offices in Colleyville and Arlington, TX. Mike Sr. is the president of Medford Design Build.

Mike challenged himself and his team to hit the new fixed targets. He refined their processes and challenged his team to hit those targets. By the next quarterly meeting, the company’s profits were rising. He talks about how he and his team made it happen, including:

  • Creating a profit-centric culture
  • How net profits will help you beat the labor shortage
  • Focusing your staff on gross profit
  • The importance of open books to the process
  • Setting up a bonus structure
  • Building time in to plan
  • And more…

Mike also talks about getting back to the art of contracting and how important that is to your margins.

Time to Give Back

After more than 30 years of working with some of the finest Remodelers and Renovators in the business, we are facing new challenges in our industry. We want to give back to an industry that has supported us through good times and bad, and so we’ve created Build Aid, a free event to help support our members, associates, and friends in the remodeling community.

Join us on April 1-2 as we explore various ways your business can navigate these tough times, and position yourselves as a leader when the world begins to recover and re-build.
Click Here to Learn More & Register >>

Ep.103: Positive Growth in Difficult Situations with Kathy O’Brien

We talk about the J Curve a lot around here — picture a lower-case J. When you apply change principles to your business — new people, systems, and processes — they can initially send your business on a downward trajectory before soaring with your success. If you want to grow your company, listen carefully!

Our guest today breaks this process down into four stages of development:

  • Forming: The getting to know you stage
  • Storming: When conflicts arise (the bottom of the J)
  • Norming: Common goals are defined, an agreement is reached
  • Performing: Working toward a common goal and looking forward

In this episode, Kathy O’Brien talks to Victoria and Mark about how to manage your growth strategies and the importance of being a strong leader in challenging times.

Kathy was the founding CEO of the St. Louis Alzheimer’s Association for over 25 years and then served as Senior Vice President of the National Office in Chicago. She received numerous awards and recognition for her work. Kathy now volunteers as a mentor/consultant to 5stone Construction in St. Louis, MO, helping with business growth strategies — she first got to know the company as a client. She was so impressed with the quality of the work and the people, she has worked with 5stone for the last several years, developing systems and processes, determining annual goals and individual employee performance indicators, hiring to get “the right people on the bus,” and managing fast growth over the last four years.

Kathy says those four stages of development apply to making positive growth in professional development, organizational development, and personal development. You go through the stages in every business relationship, personal relationship, and client relationship. She breaks down the stages, and how they present themselves in the remodeling business, including:

  • How it plays out with employees
  • Why it’s a continuous process
  • Getting through the storming stage successfully
  • How one person can cause a storm
  • Why leadership and core values are important through all the stages
  • Making it okay to disagree, and fostering honest dialog
  • What to do when you’re still sinking
  • And more …

If you’re finding yourself stuck in the storming stage, Kathy says there’s great value in having support with other leaders, by networking or in peer groups. She also recommends three books to read to boost your leadership skills: 

Ep.94: Improving Your Bottom Line with Green Upgrades with Doug Selby

Many of your customers will pay more for items that improve the health, comfort, and efficiency of their homes. As one of the few things that pay for themselves over time, green upgrades can also boost your average project revenue and make you stand out in your market.

In this episode, Doug Selby talks to Victoria and Mark about how green upgrades can improve your remodeling company’s bottom line.

Doug is a co-founder of Meadowlark Design+Build in Ann Arbor, MI, and recently graduated from the CEO role to to focus on long-term strategy and act as the company’s sustainability director. Doug is a building science expert and helped Meadowlark build a reputation in its community for quality of construction and leadership in ecological housing issues. 

Meadowlark was started with an ecological focus from its very beginning. Doug and his business partner, Kirk Brandon, studied primitive living and how to survive off the grid. While they may cost a little bit more upfront, green upgrades pay for themselves over time, he says, and focusing on ecologically conscious remodeling and construction can be a great business decision. He talks about what it means to Meadowlark’s business and clients, including:

  • How it helped the company grow during the recession
  • Getting media attention naturally
  • Losing less, using less, and then producing
  • Insulation and systems
  • Why solar’s literally the last thing he looks at
  • Air-quality issues
  • Talking to homeowners about green tactics and methods
  • Presenting it the right way
  • And more …

Including the benefits of going where other businesses aren’t, and how ecologically conscious building and remodeling can set you apart in your own market.

Ep.93: [Unscripted Back-Up] How LEAN Principles Have Improved My Business with Paul Kowalski

As 2019 draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at some of our more popular episodes, and this episode explains how LEAN principles really work in a remodeling company. Perfect for any company looking to improve their business in 2020.


In this episode, Paul Kowalski shares his experiences in applying LEAN in his business with Victoria and Mark. His company recently implemented the process, and he says the results have already been eye-opening.

Paul owns PK Builders in Charlotte, NC, and is a member of our Remodelers Advantage Roundtables group. PK Builders has a team of eight, including Paul, with four project Managers, an estimator, and a draftsman.

When PK Builders was experiencing growing pains in 2018 — bottlenecks in the design-build process, some cash-flow issues, higher overhead — Paul called in Doug Howard for help. Paul says it was intimidating at first, but soon becomes second nature to look for ways to speed up processes. It started with 16 feet of paper festooned with sticky notes detailing steps in the design process. Hear how they implemented LEAN, including:

  • Explaining it to your staff
  • Sharing in chunks
  • Finding the hiccups
  • Why the people closest to the work have the best feedback
  • Getting over the intimidation factor
  • Timelines and swim lanes
  • Not including time for revisions
  • Building in collaboration up front
  • Unintended consequences
  • And more …

Paul and his team are deep in the LEAN process, and excited to see what their future brings, including how it affects their positive cash flow. See the video Paul talks about outlining LEAN principles from the Food Bank For New York City on YouTube.

And here’s that 16-ft. chart Paul talks about:


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EP.91: [Unscripted Back-up] Expert Panel at Extreme Business Makeover Shares Insight

As we wrap up 2019, we’re looking back at some of our more popular episodes and this one was a huge hit.

For our 50th episode in January, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover event. 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 directed the lively discussions with our panel. Panelists included:

  • Michael Sauri of TriVistaUSA Design + Build and the 2018 winner of the Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • Doug Howard, RA’s CFO and Director of Consulting Services, a.k.a. “The Fixer”
  • Judith Miller, Financial and QuickBooks “Guru”
  • Tim Faller, RA’s Senior Consultant and “Master of Production”

We covered 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 back in January, you need to listen to this episode.

And Don’t Miss THIS Year’s Extreme Business Makeover Event;
New Content, Fresh Ideas

On January 28-29, 2020 we will gather once again at the BWI Westin and present 2 days of interactive presentations, breakouts and expert panels (like the one featured in today’s podcast). We have Super Early Bird pricing in place until 12/15/19 so Click here for more information and Register Today!

Ep.90: Inside the Design-Build Movement with David Supple

You may have thought that the design-build business model is a recent phenomenon. But years ago, all builders practiced design-build, but something happened along the way to create separate industries.

In this episode, David Supple takes Victoria and Mark on a deep dive into the history of the design-build model, the truths about it, and why it’s been around as long as buildings have.

David is the founder and CEO of New England Design & Construction in Boston. He’s grown NEDC to be a leader in design-build excellence, winning more than 30 awards and being written about in more than 30 publications over the past 14 years. In addition to expanding the company, David has started the DesignBuild Movement, a forum with the purpose of educating the public on this topic with the end goal of creating better buildings. 

David has had a fascination with creating buildings since his art history teacher in high school showed the class slides of landmarks in Europe like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel. He decided he wanted to build those types of spaces, and was steered into architecture. He graduated from college with an architecture degree, and started practicing. Then, he says, he realized he didn’t know what he was doing. So he went to work as a carpenter to get a foundation in actual building before he opened NEDC. David talks about the history of architects and builders, and how the industry got to where we are now, including:

  • What an architect used to be
  • The historical apprenticeship process
  • How the industry separated into architects and builders
  • What social status had to do with it
  • Why design-build almost went away
  • The efficiencies of design-build as a process
  • How to position design-build with consumers
  • Design-build vs. design-bid-build
  • And more …

It’s a fascinating look at the history of building, architecture, and remodeling, and will make you better prepared to discuss what design build really means. To learn more about the DesignBuild Movement, check out the pages on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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