Business Builders Blog

Category: Increasing Your Profits

financial success: the contractor’s blueprint

The Reality Check

You’re on the job site before the sun rises and after it sets, but does your paycheck reflect that? It’s a common predicament in the contracting world: immense effort without a satisfying payoff. If you’re feeling outpaced financially, wondering what secret ingredient others have that you don’t, it’s time for a reality check. There’s no magic, but there is a method to the madness—starting with goal setting.

Understanding the Personal Impact

The consequences of financial underperformance reach beyond your business’s ledger. It’s the family time sacrificed, the upgrades to your services you can’t quite justify, and the peace of mind that seems just out of reach. We’re talking about a quality of life that you’re working towards but not yet living.

Andrew’s Story: A Familiar Struggle

Andrew’s journey might echo your own—a contractor putting in the hours but not seeing the profits. He was stuck in a cycle of marginal gains and stagnant growth, looking for the elusive ‘more’ that he felt was overdue.

The Solution: Defining Financial Success

Success starts with a vision. For Andrew, the breakthrough came when he stopped to articulate what he actually wanted from his business. How much revenue did he aim to bring in? What were his targets for Gross and Net Profit Margins? What was the salary he desired for himself? And what cash reserves did he need to maintain for stability and growth?

Setting Your Financial Goals

  1. Revenue: This isn’t about shooting in the dark. Determine a revenue target that reflects your ambition and the reality of the market.
  2. Gross Profit Margin: What percentage of your revenue remains after direct costs? Pin this down—it’s your workhorse for profit.
  3. Net Profit Margin: After all expenses, what should your profit margin look like? This is your business’s health check.
  4. Personal Salary: Pay yourself what you’re worth. Define a salary that compensates for your expertise and sweat equity.
  5. Cash Reserves: Set a goal for reserves to cushion your business against the unexpected and fund future growth.

Your Blueprint for Financial Growth

This isn’t about diving into the nitty-gritty of budgets or tracking mechanisms—not yet. It’s about establishing the cornerstones of financial achievement. Just as you wouldn’t start a project without knowing what you’re building, you can’t grow your income without clear financial targets.

Your Call to Action

Start crafting your blueprint for financial success now. Watch the video to get a more in-depth look into how to tackle this planning process.  Then reflect on these five financial goal categories. It’s the first step toward commanding the profits you deserve. Andrew did it, and his story isn’t an outlier—it’s a testament to the power of intention.

Ready to set your financial goals? My Budget Goals Worksheet is your first tool. It’s simple, and direct, and will lay the groundwork for the profitable year ahead.

Grab the Budget Goals Worksheet and plant your flag in the ground. It’s time your financial rewards matched your efforts. Let’s build that success, starting today. And make sure to grab my guide “How to Read Financial Statement” which includes benchmarks for industry standards on things like gross and net profit margin, as well as cash reserves!

lead lull: a familiar echo

Are you feeling that quiet dread? The one that whispers about fewer leads and uncertain income next year? It’s a common echo in the halls of the construction industry, where the hustle and bustle should never quiet down.

But when it does, that silence can be deafening—and paralyzing.

The Nagging Worry You’re not alone if you’re experiencing that persistent, nagging worry. It’s like an unwanted guest in your daily routine, taking up space, making itself at home. This feeling is not a mere inconvenience; it’s a signal—time to gear up and tackle the problem head-on.

In the Trenches Let me tell you about Steve and Bill, two contractors who stood exactly where you might be standing now. They hit a slow patch, a lull that looked like it might stretch out into the horizon. Their tried-and-true methods, like Yelp, just weren’t cutting it anymore. The lull was setting in, and it was real.

Turning the Tables So, what did they do? They reached back, way back into their past projects, and pulled out a list of clients they’d worked with over the last two years. They looked for unfinished business, for those “we’ll get to it later” projects that never got done. They crafted a hit list—not of cold calls, but warm reconnections.

The Strategy That Delivers Their strategy was simple: personal postcards, direct emails, and friendly phone calls. And the result? The silence broke. The phone started to ring, and bids started to flow. Within six weeks, their calendar was booked solid for the next three quarters. The lull was defeated by action.

Your Action Plan Now it’s your turn. Dig into your own client list, find those opportunities, and reach out. It’s not about selling; it’s about reconnecting, reminding, and reigniting past relationships. And remember, there’s no room for “head trash”—every call you make, every note you send, is a potential lead waking up.

Let’s Break the Silence Click through to our video for an in-depth walkthrough of Steve and Bill’s approach. It’s more than a tutorial; it’s inspiration to get you moving, to turn that nagging worry into your next success story.

Watch, learn, and let’s get those phones ringing. Share this with your network, and let’s all rise above the lull together.

The Final Chapter: Great Leaders in Construction – Meet Alison Heather

In the concluding episode of our “Great Leaders in Construction” series, I had the privilege of delving into a heartwarming conversation with a dear friend, and highly successful contractor, Alison Heather. Her leadership journey is both inspiring and enlightening, filled with valuable lessons for aspiring leaders in the construction world.

Who is Alison Heather?
Alison’s commitment to the construction world began in 1985, transitioning from a solo house painter in San Francisco to co-leading a flourishing painting business, Heather & French Painting, with her business partner Jill French. With a focus on high-end residential projects, Alison and Jill’s leadership has steered their company to notable success. Their team of 30 dedicated professionals, along with being an in-demand employer, is a testament to their consistency and dedication as leaders.

The Power of Authentic Leadership
Alison’s greatest leadership lesson is simplicity itself: Be Yourself. This approach has allowed her to accept her weaknesses and play to her strengths. That’s the kind of real talk that turns good businesses into GREAT ones.

Key Takeaways

  • Accept your limitations and seek out the support of others who can fill the gaps.
  • Leverage your team’s unique skills and talents.
  • Always be true to who you are and be authentic – it will take you far!
  • Being consistent in keeping your word builds a reputation of being a great company to work with and for.

Being Accountable: The Backbone of Leadership
Accountability and responsibility are non-negotiables in Alison’s business ethos. Doing what you say you’re going to do isn’t just a saying; it’s a practice. She makes sure her word means something, not only to her clients but also to her team.

Quick Points

  • Your word is your reputation.
  • Consistency in action sets an example for the team.

Building A Stress-Free Culture
Our industry is stressful; let’s face it. Heather & French manages to mitigate this by being relentless in having clear communication and precise scheduling—hats off to Alison’s business partner Jill and their bilingual field superintendent Francisco for nailing this aspect.

Why Employees Stick Around
Heather & French has an impressively low turnover rate. They check in with their team, listen to them, and value their input. People genuinely want to work for them because they feel valued, seen, and heard.

To Sum it Up
Alison Heather is a living example of how being authentic, accountable, and considerate can transform you into an effective leader. She and Jill are pros at placing the right people in the right roles, playing to people’s strengths. Make sure to watch or listen to my interview with Alison – you may just discover how to become an in-demand employer of choice like Heather & French are!

Great Leaders in Construction – a chat with Steve Rempe

Today, I’m thrilled to present a rich dialogue with a dear friend and seasoned professional in the construction industry, Steve Rempe of Rempe Construction. Our paths have intertwined for more than 25 years, and his unwavering commitment to leadership excellence and quality craftsmanship never ceases to inspire. Dive into this episode of our “Great Leaders in Construction” series for a firsthand look at Steve’s insightful approach to leadership.

Meet Steve Rempe: A Builder of Quality and Integrity
Over his 45-year journey in construction, Steve continually honed his skills as a builder and leader. He was intentional about some cornerstone elements in how he ran his business: be consistent in our practices; be excellent in our craftsmanship; and treat everyone with dignity and respect. This became the foundation on which Steve was able to grow a thriving remodeling business, and ultimately, successfully succeed it to his son Zac.

Core Leadership Insights from Steve

  1. Stay True to Your Ethical Compass: The foundation of Steve’s leadership was an unwavering commitment to ethics and quality. As businesses grow, it’s crucial to retain the heart, ethos, and core principles that you started with. It’s about consistency and ensuring your team knows what’s expected.
  2. Empathy is Key: One pivotal aspect of leadership Steve highlighted is empathy. Understanding how people perceive things differently is crucial. Not everyone will view things from a leader’s perspective. Taking time to understand someone’s viewpoint, especially when things don’t go as planned, can offer valuable insights. Whether you’re dealing with team members, architects, or clients, recognizing and valuing their perspectives can make all the difference.
  3. Discipline Equals Freedom: One of Steve’s cornerstone beliefs is that discipline in leadership can actually be liberating. By establishing a consistent routine or approach, you eliminate countless daily decisions, allowing you to focus on what truly matters. This discipline can become contagious, inspiring your team to adopt a similar mindset.
  4. Run Towards Trouble: Problems and challenges are inevitable. But instead of evading them, Steve believes in confronting them head-on. Addressing issues directly and swiftly showcases accountability and can often lead to faster and more efficient resolutions.
  5. Job Satisfaction Matters: While many work for monetary benefits, there’s an undeniable satisfaction in being part of a team that’s achieving excellence. Ensuring that your team feels that sense of accomplishment and purpose can fuel their drive and passion.

The Joy of Achieving Together
Steve’s journey, transitioning his business to his son Zac and maintaining an unwavering commitment to quality, is truly commendable. His leadership lessons emphasize the importance of consistency, empathy, and discipline. But what stands out the most is the emphasis on job satisfaction and the joy of collective achievement. When your team knows they’re making a difference and are valued for it, it instills a sense of purpose that money can’t buy.

To all my readers, I urge you to watch our conversation. It’s not just a chat between two friends but a reservoir of insights that can guide you in your leadership journey. Dive deep, learn, and always remember to lead with authenticity and empathy. Your team will thank you for it!

Great Leaders in Construction – a chat with Jenny Rios

Being a great leader doesn’t mean having all the answers or never making mistakes. I loved my conversation with Jenny Rios, of Jenny Rios Home. We talked about the gift of making mistakes AND how to have an attitude about it that still lets life be fun and interesting in the process. This is another amazing interview in our Great Leaders in Construction series that you don’t want to miss!

Mistakes are a Gift…
In construction, success doesn’t come without its challenges. How we face those obstacles and overcome those challenges is what defines our journey. It was refreshing hearing how Jenny handles those ups and downs, and how she uses those moments as growth opportunities.

It’s Okay to Have Fun
So often we think that we must be serious about the business of running a business. As Jenny spoke about her “cornerstone habits” for success, she shared how when the teams she works with are having fun, they are often more productive and engaged. Bringing levity and joy into our work can make it better for everyone.

Tips and Ideas from a Seasoned Leader
These interviews aren’t just stories; they’re brimming with practical advice. Jenny’s tips and ideas could be the key to unlocking your potential and building a better business. Imagine how applying some of these insights in your day-to-day operations could make a difference! Check out what she says about how to attract the ideal client – it’s eye-opening.

You’re Not Alone
Being a business owner can feel lonely. We often don’t have someone else to bounce ideas off or ask questions to. Jenny was so open and honest in sharing her experience. Anyone watching this will appreciate the “insider perspective” we don’t always get from our peers, and help you feel a kinship to this fellow business owner.

Take the Time to Watch This
I genuinely enjoyed my discussion with Jenny, and I’m thrilled to share this interview with you. Her wisdom about growing a business you love is something that I believe can benefit all of us. We’re on a continuous path of learning, growing, and striving for success.

Watch the video. Use the insights, share them, and work smarter, not just harder.

Great Leaders in Construction – a chat with Everson Perez

I was inspired by my conversation with Everson Perez from Perez Construction as we talked about his approach to leading his team, and what’s shaped him as a business owner. As we dug into the foundational elements he relies on to guide his team and his business, he shared some great nuggets on how he’s built a solid foundation on which he’s been able to successfully grow. I can’t wait for you to watch this next video in our Great Leaders in Construction series!

A Series of Inspiration
The reason behind this series is simple yet powerful. Often, we find ourselves stuck in our routine, facing challenges, sometimes even feeling defeated. It’s at these moments, hearing other people’s stories, their struggles, their breakthroughs, and how they managed to overcome, can inspire us.

Learning from Leaders
Each leader I interviewed brought unique insights, tips, and ideas that helped them along their journey. The wisdom Everson shared in this interview was not just about building better businesses, but also about leading a better life.

What made this interview so impactful:

  • Personal Struggles: We all face them, but it’s overcoming them that makes us grow. Hearing how Everson broke through his barriers can let you know you’re not alone!
  • Valuable Tips: Ever wondered what that one secret tip from successful leaders is? Well, there’s more than one, and Everson shared a few great ones!
  • A Journey Worth Sharing: Success is not a solitary journey. Learning from others and sharing in their triumphs is what builds a community.

I genuinely enjoyed this interview with Everson. The fun part was not just hearing his story, but feeling connected with his experience.

Why you will want to watch this interview…

  • Real-life Insights: This is the experience of a real contractor who started out just like you, and who through, trial and error, built a great contracting business.
  • Actionable Advice: Every tip shared is something you can apply in your business today. It’s practical wisdom that has been proven to work
  • Inspiration to Move Forward: Sometimes, a little motivation from fellow industry leaders is all you need to take the next big step in your business.

So, without further ado, here’s the interview with Everson…