Bored With Your Business?

How many years have you been doing remodeling work? Do you jump out of bed each morning because you can’t wait to get to work?

February 28, 2003


Stan Ehrlich

How many years have you been doing remodeling work? Do you jump out of bed each morning because you can't wait to get to work? Do you still get exhilarated when a referral or prospective customer calls to discuss a new job? Do you read industry publications and attend trade shows so you can learn new management techniques and construction technologies and show them to your employees to implement?

If your answers to the above and similar questions are no, then perhaps you're bored with your business. And because it is your business, you alone have the ability to change what your company does and the role you'll play. First, decide which aspect(s) of the remodeling business you enjoy the most. Marketing and sales? Project design? Construction? Construction management and scheduling? Administration? Then decide which aspects you enjoy the least.

Most management "experts" advise you simply to hire others to do the tasks you least enjoy. But we all know that's not practical; most remodelers don't have sufficient capital to pay someone else to do the work they don't want to do. But you might have the money if you were willing and able to work more hours at the tasks you find most rewarding.

If it's the paperwork that's getting you down, hire a part-time bookkeeper. In 10 to 12 hours per week, an organized, trained, knowledgeable individual probably can handle your payables, receivables, billing, payroll and filing. That means you have 10-12 more hours per week to work, or your spouse does (if that's who has been doing the work for you).

Bored with driving to see customers at night and on weekends? Don't. If your company has a good reputation, and you set rules under which you work, your customers will respect them. Even in a world where two-income households are common, prospective customers will make adjustments to see you during "normal" working hours. And if they won't respect that you have a personal life, what type of customers do you think they would turn out to be?

When's the last time you attended a trade show? Sign up and go. Yes, they're expensive, and you'll lose a few days from work, but they also can be exhilarating. If it's your first one, it might seem intimidating, but walk into a seminar, sit next to a fellow remodeler and strike up a conversation. It's that easy.

Consider diversifying your business. If you're tired of working with residential customers, consider commercial remodeling. If you've grown weary of large remodeling projects, concentrate on smaller jobs.

Tired of subcontractors who have little interest in working for a remodeler? Find people new to the trades who are looking for work. Make sure they're competent and give them some business. You'll find enthusiasm and loyalty.

Not stimulated by the people with whom you work? Find new ones. If, for example, you want to leave a job site in capable hands while you prep and start the next one, find a high-caliber lead carpenter. Finding one might be easier than you think; just look around at competitors who have given up (or would like to) and approach one of them to work for you. Don’t be surprised to find people who might be willing to work 40-50 hours per week and be paid for all of them, as opposed to working 70-80 hours per week for themselves and getting paid for half of them.

Are you bored with your job? Either keep complaining or do something about it. Fortunately, it's your choice.

Stan Ehrlich can be reached at

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