Business Advisor

Trade Contractor Management — Part 5

Posted on August 22, 2012 by Carl Seville

The most time-intensive part of creating a trade contractor management program is creating your company’s specifications for each trade which, in turn, provide you with the information to include in your checklists. To get started, assemble any and all material you have that includes standard specifications. Plans and spec books from previous jobs, your own subcontracts, trade contractor management books and programs, and your own experience are good places to start.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 4

Posted on August 6, 2012 by Carl Seville

It’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of trade contractor management — the control documents — what I refer to as the field checklists. Since these checklists are a key part of a larger process, it is important to understand just how the process works.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 3

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Carl Seville

If you’re following along with this series of articles, you will recall that I ended the last post with a list of the various pieces and parts of a successful management program. This post covers the General Agreement, your annual signed contract with your trade contractors that covers all the work they do for you.

The first question you may be asking is, Why do you need one? Lots of contractors just sign their trade contractors’ proposals and put them to work. Some people even work on a handshake without any contract at all.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 2

Posted on July 12, 2012 by Carl Seville

Before you commit to the time and energy required to put together a complete management system for your trade contractors, you may want to know what you will ultimately get out of it. A good system will help you get more consistent, high quality work, reduce confusion and problems, help new trade contractors get up to speed quickly, improve your back office operations, and avoid confusion throughout the company. Sound interesting?

Trade Contractor Management: Creating Programs That Work

Posted on June 26, 2012 by Carl Seville

Way back when I was a contractor, I always found it useful to develop well-organized systems to use in running our business. Whenever I was asked the same question twice, it was time to create standards and procedures for employees and trade contractors to refer to.

I called these the gifts that kept on giving: once you had them you could stop trying to remember what you said the last time and just refer people to the appropriate documents. Eventually they learn, and the questions become less frequent.

The Business of Building a ‘Building Business’ — Part 2

Posted on December 28, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP

In my last blog, I recommended that we builders should try to build our office team much like we build our construction team. We should move as quickly as possible from doing all the work ourselves to hiring specialty employees and professional partners. (In the field we call them trade contractors).

The Business of Building a ‘Building Business’ — Part 1

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP

On residential job sites, the polymath is virtually extinct. A variety of factors have conspired to make the jack-of-all-trades an endangered species, including greater competition, higher consumer expectations, increased technological sophistication in virtually every product category, tougher warranties, third-party inspections, more stringent codes and regulations, greater liability, and manufacturers’ requirements for training.

Labor Day Thoughts on Unemployment and Weatherization

Posted on September 6, 2011 by Michael Chandler

I’ve been thinking more than usual this Labor Day weekend about putting Americans to work while solving our energy crises. If our goals are to reduce unemployment, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and improve all the buildings that are bleeding energy into the night sky, we need a better way to sell and finance home energy weatherization contracts.

The problem: how we sell weatherization work

How to Sell Green Upgrades: A Few Small Things

Posted on August 23, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP

Offering your client small upgrades that have tangible green benefits for them (and profit opportunities for you) always makes sense. And when your business is not as strong as you would like, it becomes even more imperative that you not let these opportunities slip away.

Here are two of my favorite easy-to-sell small upgrades that can improve the performance of your home and make you extra money to boot.

How To Sell Green Upgrades: Better Insulation

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP

R-30 is good and R-38 is “gooder.” That’s kind of how we sell insulation, right?

At the end of the day, when we talk about green upgrades, this is probably the one item that most consumers understand better than any other. The maxim “more is better” is, with few exceptions, pretty safe territory when it comes to insulation. Oh, if it were on that simple!

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