Production

Strategy Isn’t Enough with Brian Gottlieb – [Best of PowerTips Unscripted]

A successful remodeling business isn’t only dependent on tactics or the larger strategy behind them. A company’s culture plays a crucial role in executing any business strategy. 

In this episode, Brian Gottlieb discusses the key steps needed for a business to implement their desired strategy with Victoria and Mark.

Brian Gottlieb is the founder and CEO of Tundraland Home Improvements, which serves all of Wisconsin. He started his business on a plastic folding table, with just $3,000 in cash. Today, Tundraland employs more than 220 people, and revenues  are in excess of $42 million. 

He defines strategy as an integrated set of choices an organization makes to position against the competition, add value to their customers, and add value to the company. Brian’s “a-ha” moment came last summer, when he understood that when a community is at its full potential, we’re all in a better place; and when an organization is at its full potential, we’re all in a better place.

He calls Tundraland a training organization — developing an employee to his or her full potential is a key point of the company’s  strategy. Brian describes the four ways to define your culture, and how to make it stronger, including:

  • How building a strong culture is like building a ship
  • How realizing potential depends on others
  • Examples of the wrong strategies
  • And more …

Why The Design-to-Production Handoff is Worth Measuring – [Powertips Unscripted] S4 E3

Today on Powertips Unscripted, Dan Hurst joins the show to discuss the handoff from design to production. Dan talks about how to define the minimum standard of completeness and quality for each function or role involved in preparing the handoff packet. Dan also discusses how to use checklists for each role to ensure that quality standards are met.

Dan Hurst is the COO and part owner of Hurst Design Build Remodel in Cleveland Ohio. Dan and his brother Pat have been a part of Roundtables since 2006. Dan was also on a panel at the 2022 summit at the Gaylord in the National Harbor.

Victoria, Mark, and Dan talk more about:

  • Team handoff meetings
  • 3 core project deliverables
  • How these core deliverables can improve standards
  • And more…….

Gauging Your Designers’ Workload Effectively With Jeff Talmadge-[PowerTips Unscripted] S4 E1

In this episode, Jeff Talmadge discusses how he and his team created a point system for his design staff to spread their workload.  Each designer is assigned a predetermined number of points, weighted by criteria such as permitting, scope, and complexity of the job.  The team tracks points weekly and has found that designers are less stressed, customers are given more accurate timelines, and production can plan their workload better.

Jeff Talmadge is the president of Talmadge Construction, a large, premium design-build firm based in Aptos, CA.  Jeff and his team pride themselves on their commitment to customer service, quality workmanship, and a strong team culture.  

Jeff’s five words of wisdom – patience, persistence, never give up.

Listen as Jeff, Victoria, and Mark discuss:

  • Increasing job satisfaction across the company by managing designer workloads
  • Improving customer service by managing expectations with accurate timelines
  • And more…

The Delicate Art of Qualifying Remodeling Leads with Chip Doyle- [Best of Powertips Unscripted]

Leads! Lead! Leads! Business is good, leads are coming in. But are you over-qualifying, under-qualifying, or doing it just right? 

Chip Doyle’s got research that says 30-60 percent of business is lost because the initial phone call is handled incorrectly. So if you’re not doing it just right, you’re leaving money behind.

In this episode, Chip’s back with Victoria and Mark to break down the best practices for lead evaluation over the phone, and what to leave for the salesperson to handle in the prospect’s home.  

Chip Doyle wrote Selling to Homeowners — The Sandler Way, a best-selling industry book, and has been offering Sandler training for 20 years. He has worked with hundreds of remodeling companies across North America — including many of our Roundtables members and RA University members, and many other RA programs.

The most fundamental mistake many remodeling companies make — especially in this hot market — is mismanaging leads over the phone. Over-qualifying leads mean you’re actually losing money, says Chip. He says the salesperson’s job is to go out and get “no”s. Getting into the home is key, but too many owners wear too many hats and don’t have enough time to devote to sales calls. The result is being too stringent during the initial phone calls. Chip talks about how to qualify your prospects the right way, including:

  • Predictive qualifying
  • How long the initial call should take
  • Who should do the qualifying
  • Training the qualifier, or LIP
  • Ensuring that the homeowner has a positive experience on that first call
  • Finding out the client’s pain points while on the phone
  • Making and confirming appointments
  • And more …

Growing a High Volume Remodeling Business with Jake Schloegel- [Best of Powertips Unscrpited]

Many remodelers dream of one day building a high-volume remodeling company. Others aren’t sure it’s worth the effort.

In this episode, we talk to Jake Schloegel about what it takes to grow a high-volume remodeling business. Why build it? Who should be involved? What are the expectations?

Jake is the Founder of Schloegel Design Remodel, an award-winning Design/Build firm in Kansas City. He started in 1980 as a one-person company and has grown it, with the help of his team, to an operation exceeding $14 million in revenue annually. The company is now managed by Jake’s son, Charlie Schlegel, and his business partner, Chris Peterson.

Jake has been a facilitator and instructor for Remodelers Advantage for years and is very active in the remodeling community, having served as president of NARI from 1990 through 1992.

Victoria, Mark, and Jake talk more about:

  • Jake’s business and what prepared him for growth.
  • Who helped Jake in building the company?
  • The key components necessary for sustainable growth.
  • Why Jake wanted to achieve high volume.
  • What Jake would do differently if he could have some do-overs.

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.


Ep.82: What Can Be Learned from Success with Wayne Rivers

We’re just back from the 2019 Remodelers Excellence Week, Remodelers Summit, and Roundtables meetings, and our opening video was about thinking like a child, and allowing yourself to fail so that you can learn from what went wrong. It’s all a part of evolving as a business, as a person, and the art of growth.

Then we came across the latest video blog from our friend Wayne Rivers.

It dovetailed nicely with our main takeaways, while also turning the concept of learning from failure on its head. It’s devoted to learning from your successes, and then building on them.

So in this episode, we’re picking up the audio of his blog. If you’d like to watch the video, you can find it here.

Wayne is the co-founder and president of The Family Business Institute Inc. He has authored four books on the subject of family businesses, and is part of the peer group Victoria and Mark attend. Wayne has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BusinessWeek: WEEKEND, and on the Retirement Living Network.

Wayne talks about how overlooked, yet powerful, success can be as a teaching tool. Instead of always concentrating on what didn’t go right, he tells you how to learn from the good, including:

  • What you can learn from the Blue Angels
  • Why to focus on the process more than the outcome
  • Conducting a post-mortem on every project, good and bad
  • Analyze for successes and failures
  • Realizing that success is almost always a team effort
  • Why to benchmark in every department and process
  • Getting an outside perspective and objective opinion
  • And more …

There are opportunities for learning and improving everywhere — you have to look for them and then build on them.

Click here to take a look at our Summit kick-off video.

Ep.79: Helping Veterans Remodel with SAH Grants with Jay Latona

Caring for our veterans should be a national priority when they come back home. The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program offers grants to service members and veterans who have certain severe service-connected disabilities. The grants assist with building, remodeling, or purchasing an adapted home, but the program needs remodelers and builders to make it work.

Most people in the remodeling industry don’t know these grant programs and projects exist. 

In this episode, Jay Latona tells Victoria and Mark about this incredible program, and how it can enable remodelers and builders to provide a great service to our nation’s veterans, while also making a profit.

Jay is the chief, specially adapted housing at the Veterans Benefits Administration, and has worked as a remodeler and builder. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Jay will be at the Remodelers Summit 2019 in Orlando, Sept. 24-25, to talk more about the program. 

The SAH program began in 1948 as part of the G.I. Bill of Rights. It provides funding to veterans to enter a contractual relationship with builders or remodelers to make homes more accessible to assist with independent living. The SAH program is funding more than 2,000 projects a year with more than $100 million paid out. Jay talks about how the program works, how you can get involved, and what it can do for your business, including:

  • What you need to do to register
  • Help with marketing it
  • The separate compliance inspections and who does them
  • How funds are dispersed
  • Connecting with veterans
  • Opportunities for new remodelers
  • The minimum adaptations you need to do
  • Other grant opportunities veterans can get
  • And more …

Jay says the registration process is simple, and can be life-changing for veterans. To get more information, and to download the handbook he mentions, go to: https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp. And if you want more assistance, send an email to sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov.

Jay Will be a Guest Presenter at Summit… Don’t Miss it!

Jay Latona will be joining us at Summit and will give a brief presentation on how his organization is supporting veterans. If you haven’t registered for Summit, there’s still plenty of time to register and arrange your travel for the biggest and best Summit we’ve ever had!
Click Here for More information >>

Ep.67: Kicking Off Slippage Awareness Month with Tim Faller

Here at Remodelers Advantage we set aside the month of June to focus on an issue that plagues most service-based businesses, but can be a critical metric in looking at the success of a remodeling firm. This is our third annyal “Slippage Awareness Month” and this year you’ll see content submissions from our consulting, sales, and production experts here at R/A. Enjoy!

Every remodeling business owner wants to add more money to the bottom line. Reducing slippage is the lowest-hanging fruit to pick in your quest.

In this episode, Tim Faller talks to Victoria and Mark about reducing slippage in your remodeling company. Slippage occurs when your estimate is lower than the real costs of the job. Reducing it takes a change in mindset throughout the organization.

For 17 years, Tim has worked with hundreds of remodeling companies to 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. He’s also  a published author and popular industry speaker, Tim is co-host of The Tim Faller Show, a weekly podcast focused on “Improving The Bottom Line Through Production Training.”

The biggest challenge in reducing slippage is getting your whole team involved in the effort. Tim says slippage is too often brushed off with “It is what it is.”  That’s where the change in mindset comes in — the attitude should be “It is what we make it.” Slippage is controllable, but it takes a company-wide awareness and work to corral it through realistic and accurate estimating,  job scheduling, and building in time to de-bug a job before it starts. He talks about the ways to reduce slippage in your processes, including:

  • Finding the slippage
  • The perfect planning process
  • Building in time, and how much
  • Developing a critical eye, not a critical attitude
  • Why realistic estimating geared to your team is key
  • Why you need long-term, short-range, and daily planning
  • Killing schedule creep for better net profit
  • Building extra time into the schedule
  • Figuring out days-per-job overhead
  • Controlling the client
  • Doing change orders properly
  • And more …

Cutting slippage is possible — and will make a big difference in the health of your business.

 

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.

 

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