Builders and renovators currently face a number of challenges that keep them from the business, and results, they really want. But what about the more successful builders and renovators? Don’t they operate in the same market, with the same economy, and the same prospects? What are they doing different than the other 80% of the industry that always seems to struggle just to get through the day? You may be surprised at how simple, yet effective, the differences are.
The Secret All Successful Builders and Renovators Share
The secret all successful builders and renovators share is simple: they are no less affected then any one else in the industry. They, of course, deal with the same problems and pressures as you do…they just do it differently.
A successful builder or renovators knows there will always be ‘problems’…there’s always ‘something’, and either prepares for it or discovers how to avoid it entirely. Here’s three of their secrets for doing this…
Secret #1: Stop Giving It Away
Probably the most important change you can make in your business is to actually get paid for the work you do!
Builders will erode their profits by reducing prices, or giving things away just to get the job…or to avoid confrontation during or after the job.
Now, I’m not suggesting you don’t throw a few ‘freebies’ every now and then, or fix something that went wrong…but know how it affects your profit when you do it.
Imagine the builder or renovator (maybe you?) that’s constantly fighting for, or complaining about, money lost on the job. Maybe sitting down with the client, locked in a staring match, trying to recoup thousands of dollars for changes made during the job.
Unfortunately, what creates this situation (and one that successful builders and renovators avoid like the plague) it most builders or renovators go ahead with changes (and, therefore, committing expenses and risking profits) before getting agreement in writing how much it would cost, how it would be paid, and when.
Whether you’re trying to get the business, or in the middle of a job, don’t give anything away before you know how much your goodwill will affect your bottom line.
If there’s a non-financial reason to go ahead, or it’s a fix to something you were responsible for…by all means go ahead. But if you’re just trying to impress the client with your generosity, impress them with your value and business sense instead.
Sit down, discuss changes, go through the proper change request process, get it in writing and continue with the great job you’re doing.
Lesson #2: Remove 80% of Your Daily Work (and Stress)
My philosophy (and general business guideline) has always been, 80% of any builder or renovator’s business consists of the same day-to-day, or week-to-week activities; the remaining 20% are the surprises that come out of nowhere.
To be able to react quickly, and effectively, to the 20% that we can’t predict, systematize the 80% you can predict, which will free up a mountain of time, resources, brain-power and energy for those ‘unwelcomed surprises.’
Case-in-point: A friend, and fellow business person, used to follow-up with prospects who called and left a message for him. Unfortunately, other things would get in the way, and he’d only get back to a handful…and forget, or abandon, the rest.
We discussed this and he said, “I didn’t have time to contact them all.” But, I said, can you afford to lose them? “No…I need more business.”
Here were people considering spending money on his services, and he: a) couldn’t afford not to lose them; but b) didn’t find the time to contact them.
Seemed to be a bit of a contradiction.
So, what did he do? He hired someone to make the calls. Too expensive, you say? Maybe he thought so too…but look at it from his new perspective:
The person he hires: a) loves talking on the phone with prospects (he didn’t enjoy the initial conversations very much); b) does it for close to minimum wage; and c) frees up his time to actually run the business, do what he wants, and make more money (while ensuring his prospects are contacted).
Because of this change, he’s seen a rise in his seminars (one of his ‘entrance vehicles’ to his services) and his business.
The secret? He effectively systematized his call-back procedure, told the hired-hand what he wanted (and how he was going to measure the results), monitored the situation then, other than minor tweaks here and there, didn’t give it another thought.
What part of your 80% can you systematize or have someone else do, so you can spend more time running the business, becoming more successful, and doing what you want?
Lesson #3: Test, Test and Test
A lot of builders and renovators will put way too much time, and money, into an idea before proving it…and then suffer great disappointment (financially and otherwise) when it fails. Others are too afraid to fail (and lose the time and money invested) to even try.
How to solve both problems? Test, test and test.
Just like you may buy a new tool for the site and try it out for awhile before buying a bunch for the crew, use the same mindset with your business.
Have a website? Change you busiest (or least busiest) page and see what happens to the results. Got a new sales idea? Incorporate it with your next ten prospects and see what happens. Think a new business idea will free up your profits? Try it out on a small (but significant) scale, and measure the results.
Use flyers to drum up business? Send out half with your original design, and half with a new design and see which one generates more response…and more business.
Don’t try thing haphazardly…but don’t be paralyzed into doing nothing, and getting the same results as last week, or last year. Focus on one, two or five things, and try them out. It’s your business…which is different then anyone else’s — find out what works and what doesn’t. Keep the winners, and tweak, or reverse, the losers.
Doing this will let you know what works, and what doesn’t, before spending a lot of time or money.