Lessons Learned

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One milestone that I’d like you to celebrate with me: the fifth anniversary of Professional Remodeler. Together with our readers and advertisers, PR celebrated a second, more significant milestone last month at the International Builders’ Show: the 25t...

March 01, 2002

 

Kim Sweet

Birthdays and anniversaries are milestones, and whether you prefer to reflect silently or to raise a toast, they call for celebration of the risk and effort that have brought you to this hard-won time and place. This is as true of organizations as it is of people.

One milestone that I’d like you to celebrate with me: the fifth anniversary of Professional Remodeler. We debuted in March 1997 with a cover story on remodeler Stanley F. Ehrlich, who’s now a full-time financial adviser and regular contributing editor for PR. We’ve sponsored the National Housing Quality Awards; developed our own Pinnacle Awards programs to recognize excellence in marketing, design and business; and planned Model reMODEL to showcase industry innovations. This fall, we’re offering our first management conference. With each issue, with each program, we raise the bar for PR to better serve our industry. This month’s issue features five steps you can take to improve your business now in Great Practices, while the cover story analyzes five trends you should be keeping up with for the future.

Together with our readers and advertisers, PR celebrated a second, more significant milestone last month at the International Builders’ Show: the 25th anniversary of Habitat for Humanity. We threw a big party (two, actually), but that didn’t come until after the work: building five houses in four days in a parking lot. Some lessons learned from our own, very personal Project Spotlight:

Nothing brings greater happiness than the joyous smile and wholehearted thanks of a delighted homeowner, especially a 6-year-old one who wants to paint her bedroom purple, green and blue.

Remodelers do build faster than builders.

If the members of a team trust each other and their leader, and believe in their mission, what seems impossible to the rest of the world comes well within reach for that team. And building in the rain becomes fun.

I’m better with a screwgun than a circular saw. Not so good on roofs.

The shortage of skilled labor remains a serious problem in the industry. But with patient (and brutally honest) teachers like Don, Tony, Kevin, Bill, Ken, Mike, John and Harold, even the most unskilled laborer (editor) can become a productive and useful worker.

There are manufacturers who deliver the right products on time, in good condition, and know how to use and install them better than you do. Find those folks and tell them what you need. Remodelers deserve the same care as builders.

Keeping promises means fixing your mistakes, even if it takes until midnight. This is easier to do, of course, when the homeowner isn’t actually living in the home.

Cleaning up the work site throughout the day is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to maintain job-site safety.

"Habitatitis" is incurable.

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