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The road to work-life balance

Two remodelers discuss how to get a balance between your work and your life without giving up your business.

September 30, 2008
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Jud Motsenbocker

JUD Construction

Contributing Editor

With Cell Phones, laptops and BlackBerries, we no longer work 40 hours a week. Our jobs come home with us. How and when do you draw the line that says, enough is enough, I need a Life! That's what we're discussing today: How to get a balance between your work and your life without giving up your business.

Jud: This is Jud Motsenbocker of JUD Construction in Muncie, Ind., for Remodelers' Exchange. Today, our topic is “Work-Life Balance.” Would each of you please give us a brief rundown on the type of business you run and what you're doing. Jason?

Jason: We're Kirkpatrick's Construction in Centreville, Va., a small residential remodeling company. My responsibilities are sales, estimating, project management, business development, and general operations.

Jud: Do you have your own crews?

Jason: Yes. We have our own in-house carpenters who are on our payroll and are not subs, and we also utilize sub trades.

Jud: Michael?

Michael: I'm Michael McCutcheon, president of McCutcheon Construction based in Berkeley, Calif. We do design/build remodeling and also work with architects and interior designers. We do about $7 million in work a year and have about 35 employees. We've been in business since 1980 and have many years of experience. At this point, I'm the “captain of the ship,” but I don't have any specific function other than as general manager.

Jud: Jason, how long have you been in business?

Jason: I've been in business for six years. Last year, we did $1.1 million, and are looking to do $1.4 million this year. I have a total of five employees.

Jud: Michael, describe your schedule and what your schedule was like before you started focusing on trying to get the work-life balance under control.


Michael McCutcheon

McCutcheon Construction

Photo by Bill Geiger

Michael: I'd have to go back when I started the business to answer that accurately. Back in those days, 1980-1985, I wore all the hats. I was working in the field, I was selling, estimating and even doing the bookkeeping. I was doing payroll. I had a small company with less than five people for those years. I pretty much worked seven days a week. I worked out of my house, as many small contractors do to this day. It was really hard to get away from work. I kept my schedule and would eat breakfast and start work around 7 a.m. I would work until 5 or 6 in the evening, take a dinner break, and go back to work from 7:30 to 10:30 — pretty much did that seven days a week for several years to get the business going. Over the last 23 years, I've been slowly delegating work and getting to the point where I have a business that I run, instead of the business running me!

Jud: Good point. Jason, how about you?

Jason: When I started, for the first 3½ years, my wife did not have a husband. I worked 80 to 100 hours a week. I wore many more hats than I do now, and pretty much did everything. It was very stressful. Like Michael, I love this business. I'm a carpenter by trade and really enjoy it. Building it from the ground up, I really had no idea how much it would demand of my time. Looking back on it now, I'm glad to say that I'm no longer doing 80 to 100 hours a week.

Jud: Jason, what was the first step in the process of getting the balance in there? What did you do to begin with?

Jason: I hired a part-time admin as the first step, and I hired a helper in the field, a carpenter's apprentice.

Jud: Michael, what about you?

Michael: The first thing I did was hire helpers in the field. I started the business in 1980, and about 1985 I had three or four guys working for me in the field. It wasn't until the late 1980's that I eventually got Admin help, 1986 or 1987. I was a slow learner. It took me a long time.

Jud: In that process, both of you have indicated that the part of the name of the game was to hire additional help. Would that be a fair statement, Michael?

Michael: Yes, a very fair statement. In my case, the first thing I hired or delegated was production work. The second thing was foreman level. Supervision. The third thing was admin, and then eventually sales.

Jud: Michael, can I assume that you were not a hands-on carpenter in this business?

Michael: No, I was a hands-on carpenter.

Jud: You were; I'm sorry.

Michael: In the beginning, I designed, built, estimated, and everything.

Jud: Did either one of you get any help in making this decision that you needed to delegate authority to get your balance of life? 

Michael: My wife definitely helped me. Another person who helped me was Walt Stoeppelwerth. In those days, he used to go around and teach classes. He'd teach about markup, delegation and this kind of stuff. I worked on it. There was a time during the mid-80s where, as Jason said with most people starting, your 80- to 100-hour weeks were not as much wearing me down but were wearing my wife down. I remember one time she said, “It's time to take a vacation!” I thought, “I can't take a vacation, are you nuts? Take some time off?” She wanted a week. “I can't do that!” About two or three days later, she gave me one of those looks and said, “We're taking a vacation!” I knew she meant business. We actually did. We delegated to everybody we had, and we got on a plane to Hawaii, and it was a great time. We had a couple of issues, because it was very impromptu. I learned from that that the company could survive without me for a few days.

Jud: That's great. Jason, what about you? 


Jason Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick's Construction

Photo by Gary Laufman

Jason: Yes. My wife was definitely a key player in the same respect. She wanted weekends. I'd work 80-100 hour work week, that's 15 hours a day, 7 days a week! She got bored being a newlywed and sitting at home by herself. What also came into play was I realized I needed to start putting things into place — things such as boundaries with clients so there were no phone calls during the weekends and things of that nature because we were looking into and wanting to have children. I wanted to be the best father that I possibly could, having grown up without a father, and I knew there was no way I could continue the way I was working and be a good father simultaneously. I didn't have time to be a husband; how in the world was I going to be a good father? Those were two paramount points of motivation. Another was just from speaking to others who basically said, “You need to have more balance in your life. You need to be able to spend more time with your family. You need to be spending your weekends off and not working.” I got some guidance from people who were older and wiser than I am.

Jud: That's a good point. If I can summarize, then: both of you got the realization from other people and your spouses that there's more to life than just work; there's also a life out there. We've got to delegate authority and give up those long hours and start living life. Did you find that, once you delegated authority and had some free time to yourself, that you ended up running your business better and/or even making a profit? Jason?

Jason: Yes, absolutely. It made a difference in our company — the realization that, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow there is no company. By default that happens. However, I then became active in not wanting that to be the case. If the company's built around you, you can't go away for a week; it's impossible. If you do, you're on the phone all the time and your wife's going to kill you anyway, and so you might as well.

Jud: Michael, did you find your company grew because of this?

Michael: Yes. A good friend of mine, who is a very successful contractor, Steve Nichol here in town, pointed this out to us years ago. It ties in to the previous topic of where you get advice and ideas. Steve is English, and he had to go back every year at that time to check with his family for three weeks at a time. He used to tell us that it's the best thing he does for his business every year. When I'm gone for three weeks, they can't come running to papa — people have to figure it out. One of my guys here, our vice president Paul Montgomery, has been with me for over 20 years. Years ago, he commented to me when I got back from a two-week vacation and said, “You know, you're right, it was fabulous! He's a production guy, not a great computer guy. He said, “Typically, I have a problem with the computers, I just run in and you help me fix it. When you weren't here, I had to fix it myself. I learned more in the last two weeks than in the last two years.” There's just something about getting out of the way of your good people and letting them figure it out. I think that alone strengthens the company.

Jud: That's good. Michael, also, was this delegation difficult to overcome?

Michael: I think it's extremely tough. Anyone who has done the work and was any good, your God's gift to creation. You're the only one who knows how to trim and do concrete. I had a really inflated idea of my ability to do everything. But you learn early on there are some pretty talented people, but you still think, “They're slow.” How often do we do that? You think you can do the bathroom in 40 hours and end up taking 200 or 250 hours. I've got to tell you this story. In 1985, we built a second-story addition, and there was a problem with the dining room light fixture. At that time, I used to do a lot of the troubleshooting work myself. I still had all the tools with me, and I got out my electrical testers, and I couldn't figure it out. There was still 20 volts on the neutral and the light was flickering, and I was messing around with the relay switch. It was beyond me. I worked on it for a couple hours and couldn't fix it, and then called in the original electrician. Within five minutes, he fixed it. He knew so much more than I knew that it wasn't even funny. After a few times of doing that, where I had this fantasy that I was God's gift, I eventually realized that there's people who can do sales, estimating, admin and production supervision better than I can. Then it was just a question of finding them and keeping them.

Jud: Jason? Was the delegation hard to overcome?

Jason: It was extremely hard. I very much mirror exactly with what Michael said! It was very tough. As I continued to delegate more and more and hired more people — a full time office manager, a part-time bookkeeper, hire another lead for the field. It does get easier. But, in the beginning it was difficult, and so hard to let go. One I let go and realized exactly what Michael realized, I had a falsely inflated ego.

Jud: My comment is that I ran production for many years, and that's the first thing I got rid of. No one could run production better than I could. If you didn't believe me, ask me and I'll sure tell you. However, when I hired a production manager, he did a better job than I did! Jason, why was that?

Jason: Because that's all he was focusing on.

Jud: That's all he had to focus on, so he did a better job. We've all been through that. I think, if nothing else, trying to get across to the people reading this article: guess what folks? We've done it, we've been there, we know it's hard; just bite the bullet and go do it.

Michael: What we can relate to is when we first do this, one of the things most of us contractors are pretty good at is getting the work, or we wouldn't be in a position to have a company. We can do the work, we can do the admin and are pretty good at convincing people to trust us. You'll find it's a challenge when you're no longer the person putting that work in place or running production or whatever. You can point it out to homeowners, too. Do you want the contractors working 80 or 100 hours a week, and not have the time or energy to really focus on this job? Or would you rather have someone who hires a lead that can just focus on putting your work in place? Doesn't that sound good? And you can use it to deal with the homeowners to free up your time.

Jason: That's a great selling point, Michael.

Jud: Yes, just use that as a part of your selling point. You have the team of people, and we consider our office a team. I always say I don't need anyone in the front office if I don't have a good team out back, but I don't need anyone out back if I don't have a team in the front. Michael, was your transition, as you can remember it, seamless, or were there humps in the road?

Michael: I've been doing this since 1980. You get to the point where there're so darn many humps, I don't know that I can count them. At every stage and every level, developing the old idea of two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes you're obviously making progress, and other times you're going through extensive learning experiences. We've had plenty of humps and roller coaster rides.

Jud: Jason, was yours seamless, or did you find a few bumps in the road?

Jason: In the remodeling industry, everything is always seamless and everything is always on schedule! I would agree wholeheartedly with Michael.

Jud: I think that's one of the things we need to express. Just because you hired a production manager, the first one might not work out to begin with. There's got to be things there, bumps in the road and other things.

Michael: The trip to Hawaii with my wife, she got me out of work, saved me from myself. I'm sitting in Hawaii and having a great time and my wife is having a great time and we were just having fun. My foreman calls and says, “Michael there's a bigproblem and you'll have to call the owner and call the Realtor. We were doing a little termite repair in a home and my guy had inadventently used some copper green treatment under the porch. When the terminte guy came back to reinspect for the house sale, they said you don't have the license to put this copper green on there. This whole house is condemned; you can't sell it!" This was not what I wanted to hear in the middle of my vacation! A couple days later when we got home, we put a couple vents in and everything settled down. It wasn't a big deal.

Jud: There gets to be a point where you still have the final word and, even though you try to get them to make decisions, there some decisions they still have to depend on you to make when they get to that level.

Michael: You call it escalation. They have to know. It's like a tree. On a tree, you've got the little leaves, and they should be able to deal with the leaf things. You have little twigs; they should be able to deal with that. Then, they've got the branches, that's a little more serious, and you probably want to know about it. If they've got issues that involve the trunk of your tree of business, you want to be making the decision.

Jud: I don't think I've ever thought of it exactly as a tree, but I like your scenario. Jason, can you say it's affected your profits either positively or negatively, as you went through this transition?

Jason: Going through the transition, I know it affected our profit as we had a difficult time finding the right people for the right seat on the bus, if you will. However, once we had the right people on board, we had a positive swing in our numbers.

Jud: I asked it in a positive or negative. Realistically, in your comments it was both. It was a negative for a while until you got it straightened out, and then it became a positive in the end.

Jason: Right. And the only reason there was a negative is because ultimately we didn't have the right people in place. We ended up having to rehire. Every time you rehire you end up having a little bit of an impact on your bottom line.

Jud: Michael, how about you? A positive and negative?

Michael: I would agree with Jason entirely. I would say I also think his point about the rehire is correct. I've had to do that many times. Each one of those was a bit of an adventure. You do your best. You build a reputation. You get to know how to interview people, the testing whatever, you can reduce the odds of the problem, but you're not going to eliminate them. Everytime someone leaves, you've got a new challenge. If you don't start to delegate, I always feel that a bigger company is a little safer. I remember when I only had three people working in the field for me. I sold two real big jobs. I thought I'd supervise one, and the other key guy will supervise the other. Two of the three were brothers. At the same time they got an opportunity to form their own business. Now I was down to one guy who at the time was an apprentice. That's a little grueling when you've only got three employees and two of them leave right at the same time. If you have 30 people and five leave, it's a much less grueling adventure.

Jud: I think that's a good point. Jason, are you always looking for new employees?

Jason: Yes. I'm always looking for highly qualified individuals. I've learned that they usually don't come around when you need them when you're looking. It's when you're not looking that that ace in the whole will come around and you make room for them accordingly.

Jud: Michael, how about you? Do you always look for employees?

Michael: Yes. I think recruiting is the one job as an owner that you've got to stay involved in. I don't think there's any trivial position at the company. I agree that when the right person comes along, you need to make room for them. If you don't, you're not stockpiling talent.

Jud: We just went through that. We stumbled into a gentlemen who actually walked in the door. He was watching us; we weren't particularly watching him. That's exactly what happened. We saw a diamond in the rough and it didn't take much polishing to get him out on the road on his own. I think we need to encourage that the owner of the company — and Michael, I think you brought this up — needs to be working on the company, not in the company. That's certainly how we work on this work and life balance as much as we can.

Michael: Jud, someone like you, and like me for that matter, has to use the local contractors and build more reputation. Some might not do that kind of thing. It helps you in recruiting, wouldn't you agree?

Jud: Absolutely. Being involved in the community certainly has helped me not only business-wise to find other people and find new business, but also helped me to realize that I've got another life out there beside just construction. Jason, if you had it all to do over again, now that you've done it, what would you do differently, or would you do anything different?

Jason: I would have started hiring people and delegating much sooner. No questions asked.

Jud: Good point. When I went into business, I had a bookkeeper two months before I opened the doors. I knew I didn't know how to take care of the books. I didn't know how to run a business. I knew how to do carpenter work and how to handle people, but I certainly didn't know that. I put someone in place ahead of time. Michael, if you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?

Michael: I think your system was very smart. Bookkeeping is good, but the sooner you can get a great CFO, part time CFO or maybe a CPA or accountant, the better. Someone who can look at what's going on in your business, even quarterly, and give you a heads up. Get involved in an association. Get involved with NARI, NAHB Remodelers Council or even Remodelers Advantage. Get involved in something where you start getting some advice from your peers as well. I should've done that way earlier.

Jud: So you're saying that not only would you have delegated, you would've been involved in association work one way or another. Jason, how about you? Have any of the associations helped you?

Jason: Absolutely. I completely stumbled on NARI. I wish I had become a member early on. I wish I had become a member of Remodelers Advantage roundtables years ago. I've benefited from both associations dramatically without exaggeration.

Jud: When you both got started, you were far too busy to even think about being in an assocation. Is that correct?

Jason: Yes

Michael: Yes, correct. And that's the thing, you know. I was so busy. I'd like to go to the Remodeling Show. You never get there. If you could get off your high-horse and just get there, you learn some things inevitably that will benefit you in many ways — financially, and also in your work-life balance.

Jud: I was lucky enough to have a previous employer before I went into business that believed in associations. I was subject to those associations prior to going into business. The day I opened the doors I belonged to the National Association of Home Builders, which I certainly can blame a lot of my success on. You have the opportunity to talk to people that have been in business a long time. Actually, when I bought warehouses, I did exactly the same thing. I went to an association convention. Then things were considerably smaller. But I found someone I could talk to there and said, “I've never run many warehouses, help me.” These folks took me under their wing like I was their son. In trying to get this work-life balance together, we've got to have help to do it. Part of that help is through an association as well as the other things you both have mentioned in this. Jason, describe your schedule now in comparison to what it was when you were working 100 hour weeks.

Jason: I have a life! It's night and day. The largest difference is going to be in the overall easily measurable way of looking at it is the fact that I still do work 60 to 65 hours a week. However, to me that's like being on vacation. My roundtable group is constantly on my back about getting that down. We are working on that. One of the key things for me of the difference is that when I started setting boundaries with my clients in terms of being available by mobile phone from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you can't get me during those times, I'll reach you the following day and will check the messages to make sure your house isn't on fire. However, other than that I'll talk to you about the disposal in the morning. I do not accept calls or make any appointments or anything else on the weekends. I actually have full weekends now. All of this was done almost two years now; my son is 22 months old. It's just a night and day difference, the best way to describe it. The quality of life is so much better. I work less, and I make more.

Jud: You do not work on weekends, per se.

Jason: Not at all. The only time I would work on a weekend would be few and far between. Maybe when there's a transition going on when we have a shift in staff where we're trying to hire someone, or if there is a very large job we're trying to land and there's a time constraint, whether they're moving in or whatever it is, and they need to have a very large contract turned around within a two-day period in order to be eligible to do their job. No, I do not work on weekends.

Jud: Michael? What does your schedule look like differently than it was when you first started 28 years ago?

Michael: It was pretty much seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a couple of breaks. I always did a lot of work on the weekends; it was just crazy. I've slowed down a little bit on the weekends but not much. Now,  I work 40 to 50 hour weeks. I'll move up if it's a transition type of thing. I might be losing some key staff or moving to push a particular area of the business. At the moment, things are running pretty smoothly here at the company. I still work five days a week, Monday to Friday. My hours are roughly 8 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. in that range. The latest is around 6 p.m. I do sometimes get in a little bit before 8 a.m. for my own convenience. I take a lunch break, have dinner, exercise in the morning and meditate twice a day. During the weekends, no work; not any more.

Jud: I think, for both of you, that's a good point to get across to the readers. We hear you, and you don't think you can take time off. But delegating and getting rid of some of those jobs you think you have to do, when realistically you don't have to do them. Your business will run better. You'll have a better work-life balance in this whole situation. I hope that with input from both of you here, people will realize you've got to give up those weekends and make those family weekends instead of workweek workdays as you normally would.

Michael: Another industry guru is Les Cunningham. Les came into the Bay area about 5 or 10 years ago and was going to teach a time management class. I knew Les had quite a background. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him like I do for you and other gurus in the industry. I wanted to hear what he had to say. I sat up in the front row with my little notebook — I'm a pretty experienced contractor at this point. I've got sales staff, production and admin staff, but I'm still pushing pretty hard. I'm thinking, “This is great. He's going to tell me in time management how to get more done during the day, how to get more focus on what's important, etc.” He didn't do that at all. He asked what our priorities were. What's the most important thing in your life? He didn't ask us about at work — what's the most important thing in your life? No one had a very good answer; it's a hard thing to answer. He said, “For me, first of all, it's my spiritual life. Second of all, it's my personal health. Third is probably my close relationship with my wife and immediate family and friends and community. Somewhere down the line, maybe 6 or 7, he put in business. Now, that was a great time management lesson!

Jud: That's for sure. I think that's the problem. We put business up there at the top instead of putting it on the list. Jason, do you have any comments on that? Have you changed your list around, if you want to call it that?

Jason: Yes. I've definitely changed my list around. It took me a long time trying to do so. However, I don't realize how I did it prior to it. I look back and am thankful I still have a wonderful, loving wife. The business was No. 1 and only: it was the top five. It was the company, the company, the company. Part of the shift change in the work-life balance was making it so that if I hadn't had this phone call today, it's 4 o'clock, I stop work, exercise for an hour. I try to exercise two to three times a week. It doesn't matter if I'm in the middle of a big estimate at that point in time. I know that I physically need to have that stress relief and that physical activity to continue to have a healthy body. I just do it. If it's 5 o'clock or 5:30, I know my son comes home and my wife comes home, that's it. Everything else goes out. The cell phone goes on top of the fridge, and that's it.

Jud: You've got discipline, if you will, in doing that. I've got a final question, and two others I want to throw in here in the mean time. First, Michael, do you make out a time sheet yourself?

Michael: No.

Jud: Do you put any kind of schedule together and put your personal life in it first?

Michael: Yes, I do. I used the day-planner system and I put my own appointments in there. By the way, when I talk about 8-5 or 8-6 that includes the doctor or dentist or whatever, it's all in there, and that's not weekend stuff. The other thing is we use ACT, a computerized system I got not just for myself, but for my employees who I also have to encourage to have a work-life balance. I want people to put their personal appointments into our company network calendar system. If they need to go to the doctor, that's fine; I don't have a problem with it. I want to know when it is; I put my own in there. Everything goes in there.

Jud: Jason, do you make up personal time sheets?

Jason: We use the JobClock system. I find that I work more efficiently. I want to pick up my key tabs, and I don't want to walk over to the clock and change from estimating to working on the business or sales or production, or whatever it is. It helps me stay more focused. I do, and it's interesting to see at the end of every two weeks a printout of exactly how I'm allocating my time. I use it to study and look at how many hours I've spent in production at a particular job and did impact one way or the other, how the job went. As far as scheduling is concerned, I put my personal appointments on the calendar the same as Michael; haircut, doctor, dentist during the week, etc. I can't say with 100 percent certainty that I put my own in there first. If I go to put something in there, I usually try to do things at least 2 weeks ahead of time. If there's something scheduled there, I'll usually try to work around it. I do make a great effort to put my items in there within a two-week time frame because know that I have the first shot at doing something. I have less of a good shot at doing something personal if it's a last-minute kind of thing. I'm not afraid to rearrange the schedule either if it's something important like picking my son up, going to do something last minute with my wife, etc.

Jud: You do list the balance we really want in our conversation today. Michael, you're not particular about keeping a time sheet, but you are putting your personal stuff in there first. Jason, you are doing a time sheet, per se, which we think is an excellent idea. Two and a half years ago I sold my company to my oldest son. One of the things that he put into effect is that everyone keeps a time sheet. From the time you come in in the morning until you go home at night. If the office is open, he wants a time sheet made out for you. If you're off on vacation, just write on there, “on vacation.” He wants a time sheet. We do what you do, Jason, take all that information and compile it. For the Fisher job, I spent 9½ hours doing an estimate! I can go back and look at it; how can I make that more efficient? What can I do to get 9½ hours down to 6, or whatever. We encourage the idea of making out time sheets. You used the key system, Jason. I would not have thought of using the key system in the office. Literally that's what you do. Is that a fair statement?

Jason: Absolutely. My office manager uses it as well. It's phenomenal. My office is in my home; it's the entire basement. I have a JobClock and it's locked to one of the railings. It's so easy we track it. When someone comes to drop something off, it's easy, and when they pick something up or what have you. It's really effective time keeping. By implementing the key system, and this is an aside, I was able to then provide healthcare for my guys and my company, because I saved $30,000 a year by using a key system versus the honor system of time sheets.

Jud: Those are some of the things that certainly help the guys. One more question. Do you have future plans to improve your work-life balance, and what does that look like in the long run? Michael?

Michael: I'm getting older now, I'm 57. I've got to start thinking about the next 5-10 years. Yes, that means bringing in the next generation of leadership in the company. It's something that's pretty much in the forefront of my mind all the time now.

Jud: What do you want that future to look like, Michael?

Michael: Right now, I'm trying to identify and develop a system for key employees here to take the business over, including eventually taking ownership of it.

Jud: Good point. Can we also include in that that you hope the 50-hour week gets down to 30?

Michael: Yes. Or 20, 10 and then zero. I don't think I can go from 40-50 to zero immediately. It's possible. I'm envisioning a slow backing out here, consulting, etc. Eventually, 10-15 years down the road I'm out entirely.

Jud: Jason, what's your future look like?

Jason: Looks wonderful. Not as many working hours. One of my next hires is going to be a production manager. That's going to really help me just focus on sales estimating and the business. It's going to really open things up. I probably spend 30 hours a week on production. That's huge. I really would like to be around 40 hours. By choice, as Michael has, going to 50 if it's a transition situation, but, doing 40 and being able to accomplish everything that's necessary and having the right people in place. I'm just looking forward to continuing to grow. I absolutely love this industry. I love design/build. It's so much fun, I joke it's like Legos for adults. I plan on continuing to do well the rest of my life, without question. I just continue seeing it getting better; working less hours; being more efficient and productive; and becoming a better business operator and owner.

Jud: Thank you both very much. I think you've both thrown a lot of great points out here for everyone to think about and take into consideration. Certainly, if nothing else, these are testimonies that we don't have to do everything outselves, and we can cut those hours back. I think you've both indicated that the thing you would have done differently would have been that you would have done it sooner instead of having your head buried in the sand like all of us have.

Jason: Can I add just one last thing?

Jud: Sure.

Jason: This is one last comment as far as what I do with my day and calendar. I forgot to mention what I found to be a wonderful blessing. That is that my wife works full-time as well, and if I'm in the area, I will go and surprise her, and we'll go out to lunch once a week. That provides us time, we're not with our son, we're not at work. Just being able to go out to lunch is just such a great treat for us. It's something that previously, in the beginning, would never have been possible.

Jud: Through delegation, and through listening to your peers, you realize that those things are important in life now.

Jason: That's right. And my RAR group has me committed to taking her out on a date at least once a month!

Jud: Michael, do you have any final words?

Michael: To encourage anyone listening to this, if you are one of the people, like we've all been, working 80-100 hours a week, get off it, and start getting a work-life balance. Besides killing youself, you're actually ultimately disservicing your clients, too. That's seems counterintuitive, but if you thing about it, you'll find out what we mean.

Jud: Thank you both very much.

Michael: Thank you!

Jason: Take care, bye!


This month featuring:

Jason Kirkpatrick, Owner 

Kirkpatrick's Construction, Centreville, Va.

A high-end residential remodeling company focusing on the Washington, D.C. area. The firm has been in business for six years, has five employees and expects to do $1.4 million this year.

Michael McCutcheon, President 

McCutcheon Construction, Berkeley, Calif.

In business since 1980, this design/build remodeling firm has 35 employees. The volume for this year is expected to be $7 million.

About the Author

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