Yesterday Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (Dem) pulled a fast one on small contracting firms. He convinced his party colleagues to help union contractors compete with small contractors, making them carry employee health insurance. He added an amendment to the senate health bill to force contractors, remodelers, small home builders and trades with as little as 5 employees to carry health insurance. No one will say that health insurance isn't important because we all know it is. However, this is discrimination since it only applies to contractors and exempts all other industries who are exempt with 50 or less employees.
The Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog
Last night, while out with the family, my blackberry was humming like a bees nest with responses to the EPA lead post on the NARI LinkedIn Group. My wife told me shut the darn thing off! Next time I'll leave it in the truck.
In our recent Remodeler Roundtable Forum for contractors we introduced a questionnaire for our 12 members to get them thinking about the subject of running a design build company. It was interesting to hear some of the comments during the session.
What allows you to have a business that works and produces profits? The answer is systems with clearly defined processes and procedures. The systems needed to run a fine tuned contractor business are marketing, sales, production and administration. In our training, we use the Four Legged Chair analogy to represent these four systems. Each leg must be strong to prevent the chair from falling over or collapsing.
2008 was a challenging year for contractors in the residential remodeling industry. With declining home values, tightened credit, lack luster new home construction, smaller remodeling projects and erosion of consumer confidence many contractors are facing uncertain futures. The time and need for change has never been more apparent than now. We need to analyze our businesses and make sure that we are able to deliver outstanding products and services to the Next Level Consumer.
Owning and operating a residential contracting business presents unique challenges for contractors servicing the homeowner market. These challenges are unique because the industry has very little structured business training for residential contractors who provide services to a savvy, demanding and educated consumer. Contractors with formal business education or experience from the commercial construction industry tend to do better with today's homeowner consumer if they use and apply, industry best practices and systems.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about writing your business plan for 2009. How are you doing? We have a few more days until the New Year, will you be ready?
When confronted with challenges sometimes it is easier to give up than to stay focused on what we want. Some say this year has been the Perfect Storm for the American people. Yesterday's post talked about keeping and maintaining a great attitude by working on yourself and minimizing exposure to things like negative news and the media. Now let's talk about staying the course in spite of challenges facing the residential construction industry.
Over the past week many in the northeast have been walloped by the Ice Storm of 2008 leaving many without power and the basic necessities. On top of the recent economic downturn, foreclosures, declining real estate construction activity and financial troubles it is not suprising that people's attitudes are affected. We are easily reminded of all the recent and current challenges on the news, in the paper, the radio, the internet, work and the coffee shop. It is very easy to get caught up in the misery and before you know it you are not feeling very positive and your attitude towards things turns negative.
Today's residential homeowner construction market has tightened and leads for contracting services are scarce. Leads are more precious than ever. Many remodeling companies were founded by carpenters and tradesman with little or no formal training in sales. You are very good at building things, you are an expert at crafting and your miter joints are perfect. You started out working for someone else only to find you were treated poorly, paid less than what you are worth with no benefits and blamed for the mistakes of the owner. You said the heck with this crap and you started your own remodeling business. After all you can do better and you won't treat your people that way.