Rules for Success

It’s December -- time for wrap-up. By this I mean a year-end evaluation of your business’s successes and failures.

November 30, 2000

 

Jan Williams, CGR, 2000 Chair, NAHB Remodelors Council

 

It’s December -- time for wrap-up. By this I mean a year-end evaluation of your business’s successes and failures. Our company, Williams-Builder, is known as a top residential remodeler in the central New Jersey area. Over the 40 years that we have been in business, certain ground rules have evolved that make up our core values. The rules apply in any situation: through recession, inflation, cash flow problems, labor shortages, dictatorial customers and unplanned business booms. These principles have emerged as the key to our success and endurance, and not incidentally, our reputation for the finest creativity and craftsmanship. Without further ado, here are Williams-Builder’s top 10 rules for sustaining a top-of-the-line design/build remodeling firm.

 

 

 

 

  • This is more of a service business than a building business. You have to assume personal responsibility for making sure the client is satisfied with the job.

     

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  • Have empathy for the clients. There’s a lot of uncertainly in this venture for them, too.

     

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  • Remodeling is an intangible product, so photograph good jobs and use Web pages to show your projects to clients to help them visualize your suggestions.

     

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  • Build what you sold -- this is where the profit comes in. Changes are headaches at best, money losses at worst.

     

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  • Find out what the client wants for the whole house, not just the part in which he or she is currently interested. That way you’ll know that what you are building now won’t need to be torn up in the next phase of a master plan.

     

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  • Hire the best people you can find -- caring, service-oriented people. Pay competitive wages and benefits. Train, train and train.

     

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  • Don’t expand until you have sufficient capital to cover the loss involved in hiring new employees. Most won’t produce enough for several months to cover what they cost you.

     

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  • Keep accurate financial records. Examine them frequently and closely.

     

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  • Maintain the highest standards of integrity.

     

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  • Hold weekly staff meetings to keep management staff updated and quarterly ones to involve all the employees who work for the company.

    Those who attended the recent Remodelers’ Show were rewarded by the many sessions providing expertise to help you serve your clients’ needs while maintaining a healthy profit margin. A smart business decision for 2001 is to join your local Remodelors Council, where you can get the lowdown on your competitors, investigate local pricing deals and network with people who can really do you some good. If you do not have a local council nearby, you can join as a remodeler-at-large at the national level for just $25. Then you can sign up to become a Certified Graduate Remodelor and take courses in Business Management, Sales, Estimating and Building Technology. Another avenue open to you is the Remodelor 20 Clubs, which offer in-depth sessions with other remodelers throughout the country who are faced with the same business challenges as you. I urge you to make a New Year’s resolution to take advantage of the many opportunities provided by the NAHB Remodelors Council. Join, participate, and soon you will have a list of rules for your own company.

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