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Business Advisor





 



Trade Contractor Management — Part 5

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 10:14:11 +0000

Subtitle: 
Use brainstorming sessions to create your own company checklists and nail down your specifications
Images: 

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.

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Trade Contractor Management — Part 4

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 10:09:57 +0000

Subtitle: 
Control documents: Using checklists to manage quality on the jobsite
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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.

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Trade Contractor Management — Part 3

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 11:35:39 +0000

Subtitle: 
What goes into your general agreement
Images: 

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.

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Trade Contractor Management — Part 2

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 18:30:53 +0000

Subtitle: 
Why you need one and what they are made of
Images: 

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?

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Trade Contractor Management: Creating Programs That Work

Tue, 26 Jun 2012 10:15:16 +0000

Subtitle: 
Creating an effective system in your business is the gift that keeps on giving
Images: 

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.

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

Wed, 28 Dec 2011 10:52:36 +0000

Subtitle: 
Every builder needs to hire a bookkeeper
Images: 

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).

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

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 12:20:44 +0000

Subtitle: 
Sometimes, it pays to hire experts to help with bookkeeping, contracts, selling, marketing, and even estimating
Images: 

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.

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Labor Day Thoughts on Unemployment and Weatherization

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:34:29 +0000

Subtitle: 
Let’s create jobs and reduce our dependency on foreign oil by changing the way we sell and finance energy-retrofit work

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

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How to Sell Green Upgrades: A Few Small Things

Tue, 23 Aug 2011 14:43:34 +0000

Subtitle: 
Part 7 of a series explaining the art of selling upgrades to environmentally conscious customers
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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.

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How To Sell Green Upgrades: Better Insulation

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 10:12:24 +0000

Subtitle: 
Part 6 of a series explaining the art of selling upgrades to environmentally conscious customers
Images: 

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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