What Contractor Isn't Familiar With This Frustrating Story...
A contractor takes a call for service from a new client. After a brief conversation, they set up a time to inspect the customer's home. The contractor drives to the worksite (30 minutes*). While onsite the contractor spends 30-60 minutes* discussing the project with the customer, performing a detailed inspection of the conditions, taking measurements, documenting scope items, and listening to what the customer wants to have completed. The contractor drives back to their shop (30 minutes*). The contractor spends at least 30-60 minutes* researching products, creating an estimate with sufficient scope and cost details to reflect the vision of the customer and sends that to them for review. After a day or two the contractor follows up with the customer, there is a delay in response, and finally, the customer notifies them that while they appreciate all of the details the contractor provided they were able to hire someone who could do the work for significantly cheaper.
Is this just a "cost of doing business" or is there a BETTER WAY?
Episode 91 of The DYOJO Podcast will be part 2 of a discussion that we started in Episode 90 on whether contractors should charge for their estimates. For Episode 91 we will continue to review various approaches by construction professionals including providing FREE estimates, getting contracts signed prior to dispatch, using a Letter of Intent (LOI), or other means. At the end of the day, the contractor does well to develop and consistently follow a thorough screening process for all new clients so that they know what they are committing themselves to.
If the contractor does not value their own time, NO ONE ELSE WILL.
In this video promo for Episode 91 of The DYOJO Podcast:
Thursdays are forThe DYOJO Podcast - helping contractors shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development.
KEYWORDS: estimate, pricing, waste, contractor, article, clients, government affairs committee, restoration, industry association, feedback,
Every company has some form of leadership, and whether it is good or bad will be judged by the results it produces. A company with good leadership will thrive not only as a business but as a group of people. The amount of positive outcomes that are provoked by good leadership are exponential. For the restoration contractor, good leadership is critical due to the spontaneity as well as both physical and mental challenges that come from restoration work.
The discussion from Episode 84 of The DYOJO Podcast - Developing Your Leadership Skills, draws out helpful principles for the formation of functional leadership, such as the importance of having the right idea about what leadership entails. Leadership is not just rigid rules or pointless processes. The guests on this episode will help the leader build their own way to lead, unique to themselves and their company.
Ownership Creates Leadership
Denis Beaulieu an environmental branch manager in Thousand Oaks, CA and former guest (Episode 15) advises that a good leader will give their people opportunities to take ownership of things and make decisions. People that can think for themselves and problem solve will be able to execute things quickly because they won’t have to wait for authority and will be confident in how they conduct themselves on the job. A client witnessing lack of confidence from a worker will feel that same lack of confidence in the company. He also says that a good leader will hire people smarter than they are. This helps the leader to grow themselves from constantly learning from those they are around. And of course the company benefits from their knowledge, too.
Self Discipline Creates Leadership
Mike Kenny and David Smith joined the DYOJO Podcast for Episode 12 to discuss leadership formation perspectives. Mike, a skilled trades service manager, shared that a quote from former Navy Seal Jocko Wilnick that has helped him create his leadership mindset is, “Discipline equals freedom.” Details build the way to goals. Being disciplined will establish a foundation of habits. These habits over time are how goals are achieved. David, a former estimator skilled in the nuances of program work, adds that structure leads to discipline. If the structure is lost, so is the discipline. A good leader makes sure to hit upon the basics everyday. Even when things come up that may call for changes, they will fall back to their regular routine.
Structure Creates Leadership
Lex Sisney (Episode 22) is the author of two books about business growth,
He has this to say about structure, “Structure is a very misunderstood concept.” Structure is different from processes. He gives the example of your skeleton being the structure and the processes as the neural pathways, blood vessels, muscles, etc. If there is something off on the skeleton then the body will maladapt to it.
Adaptation Creates Leadership
Podcast host and author, Jon Isaacson, tells of what he learned about being a good leader as well. He warns managers not to hire people with the thought that because they have prior experience they can be just “plugged in” and ready to play. Experience doesn’t mean they know how to do things correctly for your company. As Jon talks about in So, You Want To Be A Project Manager? someone with technical experience won’t have experience with your company culture, you will have to be intentional as a lead to develop that within every employee.
Leadership is an active role. Leaders will always be adapting to the specific processes of how they lead their people. There are basic principles that won’t change, but the way those principles are practiced will take on different nuances according to the present circumstances. The company is a living organism and will work to develop ownership, self-discipline, structure and adaptation as they nourish their people to keep growing for the health of the company.
What do we all want as contractors? We want to provide a good service and be paid for our work. Where does this process start? As we discuss on Episode 86 of The DYOJO Podcast, positive project outcomes start with a clear and consistent client intake process.
Overhead and Profit for the Contractor
The client intake process also initiates the data collection process. The gathering, interpretation, and application of solid data is critical to helping an entrepreneur make good business decisions. If you want to be profitable as an organization you must manage the project lifecycle sequences. We begin this discussion on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 89 as well as a series of articles on overhead and profit that myself, Ben Justesen, Anthony Nelson, and Ed Cross will be releasing for the in-print version of C&R Magazine.
Using A Letter of Intent (LOI)
Contractor's often discuss whether they should be charging for estimates. Some of the options include:
We talk rather frequently with contractors about this concept of the Letter of Intent or LOI. We will introduce this resource during Episode 89 and will go into further detail in the following episode.
The Four Modes of Profitability
What does the average contractor want?
Our competition as contractors isn't even necessarily with the market, but with ourselves. We want to grow our company by laying a foundation. If you want to be a profitable company, it's important to understand some of these concepts that lead towards profitability. So that's why we're tying a lot of this together, from:
I'm working on the first in a series of articles with C&R magazine that's going to touch on some of those elements of overhead and profit. My contribution, the working title is The Four Modes of Profitability for Contractors.
There's an infographic coming out from Restoration Industry Association (RIA) that will also be a helpful tool for contractors as they work through the process of developing and growing their team. Within that tool there are definitions and visual aides such as these two:
These resources are designed to help shorten your DANG learning curve and to build your company through those stages of profitability.
The Contractor's Fight for Survival
We have observed or participated in many companies that don't make it unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 20% of small businesses fail within the first year and 30% after the second. You feel it right? You're in an all out battle for survival. You want to move from survival mode to scraping-by. At the end of your first year you get hit with this tax debt and renewals for indirect (aka overhead) costs such as your licensing, bonding, and insurance. You realize that to even scrape by as a business, you must charge more than you were charging. You're gonna have to think differently about how you're charging for labor, materials, equipment, overhead, and profit.
Every year is a fight to compete as a contractor, the average failure rate for businesses:
The DYOJO Podcast is designed to help you shorten your DANG learning curve. Going back to those statistics we talked about, which will be in the series of articles with C&R magazine. The mindset used to be that if you can make it past year three, you're probably going to be fine. But the statistics show that if you make it to the fifth year you're in the 50/50 club. 50% of the companies that started at a similar time are likely no longer going to be in business. And then if you push through to year 10, you're in the exclusive 70/30 club. Sadly, only 30% of entrepreneurs make it to the decade mark. Every year is a fight.
That's why we say you're moving from survival to scraping by, to having a fighting chance, and to competing. My latest book, How To Suck Less At Estimating, was written to pick away at some of those faulty foundations that regularly lead to profit sucking estimating habits. In doing this I'll try to break out those mindsets that are particularly helpful for the categories of professionals listed above which are (1) the aspiring professional, (2) the estimator, (3) the new manager, and (4) the business owner. By the end of this book and the course that soon will be coming with Restoration Technical Institute (RTI) you will have at least six elements that every estimator needs in their tool bag for success.
For the upcoming Episode 88 of The DYOJO Podcast, we have a conversation with a returning guest who shared a thought-provoking question that I believe all leadership teams should consider, “Which is more important, effort or results?”
Josh Zolin is an advocate for helping young people recognize opportunities for gainful employment and career development within the skilled trades. This passion is the impetus behind his book and podcast, both by the same name, Blue is the New White. As prominent as Josh has become as an author, podcast host, and speaker, he is also the owner of the rapidly growing WCE in Phoenix, Arizona where he is implementing the leadership challenge that he shared.
This teaser video gives you a glimpse of our discussion on the intersection between goals, effort, and results as you develop your team. Be sure to check out the article Goals, Effort, and Results: Developing Your Team by Jon Isaacson and published in Cleanfax Magazine.
In this content clip:
0:00 Josh Zolin drops a thought-provoking bomb
1:30 Psychology professor Carol Dweck weighs in
2:14 Kelsey Isaacson squares up with Mark Cuban
3:17 Pennies for your business growth
4:25 Join us for the 3rd Annual SOCKTember Competition
5:55 Curse words and question marks
Thursdays are for The DYOJO Podcast - helping you shorten your DANG learning curve for personal and professional development.
This content is sponsored by the new best-selling book, How To Suck Less At Estimating: Habits For Better Project Outcomes by Jon Isaacson.
Property restoration historian and watchdog, Pete Consigli, writes, "Lloyd [Weaver] introduced the first specialty designed Porta Dryer for on-location wet carpet drying. While that might not seem like much in today's sophisticated world, 35 years ago (written in 2007) Lloyd's methodology challenged the rug cleaning establishment and its in-plant wet carpet service." Lloyd Weaver is an icon of the water damage restoration industry, he is the man behind many of the core inventions of the modern age of property restoration as well as an early educator who trained many other industry contributors; as well as butted heads with a few others.
This is an extended clip, with new content, from a prior conversation (Episode 87) with another industry Founding Father, Cliff Zlotnik. Writing for Cleaning and Restoration (C&R) Magazine in March 2007, Pete Consigli identified Martin "Marty" L. King, Lloyd Weaver, Cliff Zlotnik, and Claude Blackburn as the Four Faces on Mount Restoration. This video includes some additional footage with Cliff, Jim Thompson as well as part of our conversation with Lloyd Weaver's two sons and grandson, all of whom are still active in the industry.
Learn more at PropertyRestorationHistory.com
In this video:
0:00 Lloyd Weaver
1:00 Lloyd invents the Porta Dryer
2:50 A discussion with Lloyd's two sons
6:45 Cliff learns water damage from professor Weaver
9:10 Cliff & Lloyd as business partners
11:00 Mr. Weaver learned through trial and error
12:30 Lloyd's restoration industry friends
YouTube.com/thedyojo 12am PST Thursdays
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration Certification (IICRC)
Advocate Claim Service (ACS)
THURSDAYS ARE FOR The DYOJO Podcast INFOtainment to help you shorten your DANG learning curve. New episodes of The DYOJO Podcast are released on Thursdays via video through YouTube and/or audio is distributed through platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Google, etc.
READ MORE in The DYOJO Blog
Additional Resources from The DYOJO:
BRAND NEW: How To Suck Less At Estimating: Habits For Better Project Outcomes (book 4)
Be Intentional: Estimating (book 1)
Be Intentional: Culture (book 2)
So, You Want To Be A Project Manager (book 3)
Property Restoration History dot com
Industry icon and property restoration founding father Cliff Zlotnik can be heard weekly on the O.G.'s of industry podcasting, IAQ Radio. Among his many contributions to the professional practice of water and fire damage remediation, Cliff developed an anti-microbial product that was ubiquitous in the industry. There was a time when you would be hard pressed to find a carpet cleaning extraction van or water damage emergency response vehicle that didn't have at least one gallon of Microban on the shelf (or rattling around in the cabin).
For this week's episodes of The DYOJO Podcast (#87) Cliff shares a few stories about this product, some historical figures, and a few other nuggets of wisdom that will be of great benefit to intentional restorers.
In this episode
0:00 The DYOJO Podcast Episode 87
5:30 I put that *Microban* on everything
13:00 Cleaning vs. disinfecting vs. sanitizing
24:00 Lloyd Weaver - Restoration Founding Father
28:30 Martin "Marty" L. King - Restoration Founding Father
35:30 Ed York - Founder of IICRC
40:30 Thoughts from Cliff for the modern restorer
The podcast includes clips from The DYOJO Podcast Episode 60 and Episode 81.
Pop-ups and shout-outs include:
YouTube.com/thedyojo 12am PST Thursdays
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
THURSDAYS ARE FOR The DYOJO Podcast INFOtainment to help you shorten your DANG learning curve. New episodes of The DYOJO Podcast are released on Thursdays via video through YouTube and/or audio is distributed through platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Google, etc. READ MORE in The DYOJO Blog
Additional Resources from The DYOJO:
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a 19 year veteran of the property restoration industry and a business coach through his organization The DYOJO.