Qualified Remodeler Magazine

AUG 2016

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

Issue link: https://qualifiedremodeler.epubxp.com/i/715119

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 99

a particular labor-burden rate calculation strategy, but then job-cost your labor using a different strategy, the trial-and-error meth- od might put you out of business before you realize you are comparing apples to oranges. 4. HARD SKILLS VS. SOFT SKILLS Many employees are, or can become, good at physical tasks like filling out a time card, installing roofing or properly setting up RRP related lead-containment systems. ese are hard skills. But soft skills are needed too. Examples of soft skills include: properly interacting with clients when they are upset, correcting an employee for making a mistake in a constructive way the employee will em- brace, or knowing when to stop talking and just listen on a sales call. Soft skills can be taught, but are mastered through experience. Be sure the teacher you choose has schema. Growing your business can be very reward- ing and motivating. So too can growing your employees. Don't cast off employees because they lack skills you need; think sustainability. Repurpose employees by teaching them the skills to evolve with your business. | doesn't mean he or she can actually do it and/ or is good at it. For example, a lead carpenter who has installed 50 kitchens has knowledge as well as experience. at lead carpenter has what is known as schema. Schema only comes from a combination of knowledge and experi- ence. An employee with schema for installing kitchens is therefore far more valuable than one who has only studied how to install kitch- ens. Another good example of this would be properly installing step flashings, particularly the first one. Studying it is one thing, but actually being able to do it is another. 3. REINVENTING VS. BEST PRACTICES Unfortunately, most remodelers reinvent the wheel of doing business, and, as a result, each operates in their own unique way. As discussed above, most owners learn how to do business through trial and error, not by seeking to be taught. As a result, their schema is limited to their good or bad experience. One downside to this way of growing, more times than not, is the business quickly outgrows its systems and therefore must repeat the trial-by-error method over and over as it grows. It must adjust and/or replace how it does business in an effort to keep up with the growth. e alternative is to seek out and adopt — not adapt — proven industry best practices. Examples include how to properly estimate and document project specifications. is al- lows the business to hand off projects to lead carpenters in a way that enables them to not need to be constantly seeking information from the salesperson or to be micromanaged by a production supervisor. Another would be how your bookkeeping system should be set up so you can be confident you are making apples to apples comparisons of estimated to actual costs. If you estimate labor costs using or remodelers, a long-term perspec- tive helps in two key ways. First, it's a steadying aid in charting business direction and vision. Second, it's a requirement for developing your people. You need to anticipate future roles for your team and the skills they will need down the road. Let's explore the four key considerations as you prepare career paths and education plans for your employees. Be sure to consider the interdependence of all four areas before you develop your plan of action. 1. LEARN VS. TEACH One remodeler recently told me his produc- tion manager needed to better manage target gross profit margin — that the PM needed to learn how to hit those targets with greater consistency. But there was a flaw in the remod- eler's thinking. He assumed his production manager would be able "learn" on his own. It is possible, but not likely. Without a formal education plan, an employee would typically resort to trial-and-error. at's what I refer to as the lumberyard school of hard knocks. It is typically very slow, can be very costly and frustrating. I suggested this remodeler instead consider how his business might "teach" the produc- tion manager the new skills. I asked him to think of learning as reactive, but teaching as being proactive. By taking this more proactive approach, the PM would learn the right skills the first time, saving a lot time, money and, of course, a lot of frustration. 2. KNOWLEDGE VS. SCHEMA Anyone can get knowledge from reading a book, attending a seminar or watching in- structional videos. Being knowledgeable in the right areas has a lot of value. However just because an employee knows about something Turn Good Employees into Great Employees By Shawn McCadden, CR, CLC, CAPS SHAWN MCCADDEN, CR, CLC, CAPS, is a speaker, business trainer, columnist and award- winning remodeler. As a Certified Remodeler, and Certified Lead Carpenter, McCadden has more than 35 years of personal experience in remodeling. He has received many industry awards including NARI's Harold Hammerman Spirit of Education Award, several NARI CotY Awards and ASBPE for his writing. He can be reached at shawnmccadden.com. F 20 August 2016 QR QualifiedRemodeler.com PROFITS: On Your Business

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