Fall in Love with Your Business, Not Your Job – One thing you must do that is crucial for your company to survive, is to “fall in love” with your business. I do not mean the remodeling you do or the buildings you build, but with the aspect of being in business.
Too many people in construction get caught up in the “quality” of their work. They want to build their business based on their “great work.” While this can be admirable, it is not good business. Your objective should be to provide your clients with a good job. The job that you contract for at the quality that you’ve said you would give them.
In short, give them what they pay for. That is a good-quality job – no more and no less. Do not be tempted to add that little trim molding around the cabinets. Or those full-extension drawer guides to the kitchen drawers if they were not in the plans and on your estimate sheet. Sure, they would be a nice addition to the remodel, but who is going to pay for them?
Marry Your Business, Not Your Work
You’ve got to keep your eye on the budget for the job. There is only so much money estimated for each job; when you know it will cost more, you have to stop. It doesn’t take many little “extras” to eliminate your profit on a job. If you have a good idea for a modest improvement and you take it to the owners and they decide to pay for it, that is fine. If they do not want to pay for the change, leave it at the quality you have agreed on and move on with the job. When the job is complete, assemble the final costs, analyze the job, and then make adjustments to the way you will estimate or build similar jobs in the future. Next time, if you want to include those little extras, you can build the improvements into your estimate.
Good business owners pick up on this approach quickly, while many employees will not. Watch your employees carefully to make sure they do not spend too much time on any phase of a particular job. That is why it is important to tell your job superintendent or lead person (before you start) the hours you’ve estimated for each phase of the job. He needs to know how much time is allotted to build each portion of the job. If it isn’t clear during the estimating process how long some phase will take, the job superintendent or lead person should be consulted.
You can do your jobs well and on budget with your own employees. It just takes more planning and supervision. If you can’t find a sub who can do the work the way you want it done, then keep looking or rethink your expectations. Maybe you expect too much. Unless you are getting paid for perfection (most of us don’t), relax your standards just a bit. Give your client a good-quality job, keep the job moving, get it done, and get out, and your client will be happy. The longer it takes you to finish a job, and the more problems that you encounter along the way, the less happy the client will be with the result – it’s just human nature.
Moral of The Story?
Get excited about your business. Fall in love with it, but not the work that you do or the people that you do it for. The daily mechanics of construction are too time-consuming for the owner of a construction company to be involved in. Hire good people and trust that they’ll do a good job for you. Now that is not to say you shouldn’t work on any of the jobs. If you like the physical work of building then, by all means, get right into it! But never forget that you have a business to run and that always takes top priority.