While homeowners expect your online and social presence to be top notch, they’re ultimately signing up for your expertise in home improvement above all else.
To put it simply, it’s very unrealistic for contractors to actually find the time or wherewithal to do everything their company needs doing as it seeks to grow. And in the rare event a contractor is able to miraculously spread themselves that thin, there’s virtually no way they’re going to be doing everything well enough to scale or even well enough to meet expectations.
One way to ensure you are not going to burn out and that your talent, experience, and skills are put to the most efficient use possible is to delegate appropriately. You could choose to hire other people with specific talents that complement yours. Or you could choose to pay a service whose own value proposition it is to take one of your hats and dedicate a team to make it shine. Or you could mix the two or even come up with your own cocktail of ingredients that works best for you and your company’s needs.
Whichever path you choose, dividing the work is a worthwhile investment in the future of your company and, by extension, in your own future success as a contractor.
Home Improvement Contractor Hats: The List
Let’s recap some of the hats every contractor has found themselves wearing at one time or another:
- Business owner
- Production supervisor and/or manager
- Operations supervisor and/or manager
- Estimating, Budgeting, and Quoting Lead
- Home Improvement Contractor
Maybe you should be the in-house expert on some of these, if you so wish, but you cannot realistically expect yourself to have the time to do all of this and to do it so well that it benefits the future of your company.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these hats and how they try to monopolize your workday.
Home Improvement Contractor Hats: A Breakdown And Some Useful Tips
- Contractor Hat: Business owner
- Contractor Hat: Production supervisor and/or manager
- Contractor Hat: Operations supervisor and/or manager
- Contractor Hat: Marketer
- Contractor Hat: Estimating, Budgeting, and Quoting Lead
- Contractor Hat: Recruiter
- Contractor Hat: Auditor
- Contractor Hat: Home Improvement Contractor
Contractor Hat: Business owner
As the final line of authority on everything to do with the company, you’ve surely been overwhelmed with asks for decisions or priorities.
For example, what exactly should you do when and if a customer decides not to pay you? From knowing your rights to providing sufficient and timely notice, the best way to respond takes (your) time. Or consider the ever-evolving world or mobile and desktop software out there to help you manage your company. While infinitely useful and worthwhile, paying for, learning, and executing new processes could easily swallow up hours each week.
Contractor Hat: Production supervisor and/or manager
Whatever style home improvement your business sits in, there’s a service or product to be delivered, created, constructed, installed, and so on. You’re the final authority on it going well.
From employee timetabling to building out project schedules and fine-tuning daily (or hourly) priorities within a given workday, you need the time to focus on strategy. And as a contractor, your work naturally lends itself to visual interest — as long is it was installed well and homeowners are pleased. Even if they don’t kill the project, little mistakes could cost you the ability to use a completed project in marketing efforts for a future one.
Contractor Hat: Operations supervisor and/or manager
From HR to accounting, you’re the one in charge of keeping the lights on, so to speak. Of course, there’s a world of software available to you for ensuring a high return on your time, but figuring it out and implementing it is just as consuming as doing the same from a production perspective, as mentioned above.
The best apps take some of the administrative burden out of contracting and reduce the amount of manual labor and time you spend following up with stakeholders. From DEWALT Mobile Pro to Fieldwire, there are certainly ways to reduce the weight of this specific hat.
Contractor Hat: Marketer
Whether by social media, phone, website, or any of the long list of marketing channels currently deployed, competing in the marketing universe is almost as important to sustaining your business as the work itself.
Companies with strong alignment between sales and marketing could see their annual revenue grow by as much as 20 percent. It’s important your marketing efforts focus expertly on listening to potential clients, communicating often, and always following through. While Modernize isn’t an expert in installing solar panels, we’re very much experts in every corner of marketing and could be just the time-saving investment you’ve been considering.
Contractor Hat: Estimating, Budgeting, and Quoting Lead
Whether you’re directly involved in this most crucial of contacts with potential clients or managing someone else who is, you’re certainly an expert in the topic and spending time every day keeping yourself that way, either by working on it or learning about it.
Here are a few overall tips in the estimation process we’ve learned through our engagement with both contractors and homeowners (see a deeper dive on these here):
- Be accurate: Whether it’s about materials, labor, or the miscellaneous costs that could come up, your estimate packet must include them.
- Be honest: Funny thing with this one is inevitable white lies. You didn’t misrepresent any information in our packet but you didn’t break down a few potential issues that could arise and when they do, the client feels misled. No one expects you to predict the future, but the client will appreciate some information on what neither of you presently know and what could impact the project, if even only in broad strokes.
- Be professional: This seems obvious but when it comes to keeping an eye on your labor force or online presence, it’s easier said than done. From communicating consistently about the project to keeping an organized paper trail of the process before and during it, it’s important to focus appropriately on providing a customer experience that will make your client want to come back (and prevent negative online comments or complaints).
Contractor Hat: Recruiter
From your labor to reception, you need to ensure you have the right talent in the right place.
In construction, for example, professionals have named hiring as their top concern for a number of years. Recently, the National Association of Home Builders survey findings revealed that 82 percent of construction professionals listed the cost and availability of laborers as a pressing priority for the year, compared to just 13 percent in 2011. From obvious solutions like making your company more enticing to work for to less obvious ones like widening your recruitment radius or getting help finding talent, your time is regularly taken by efforts to keep your labor force full.
Contractor Hat: Auditor
Is your project process efficient? Are your marketing efforts showing trends in either positive or negative directions? Have you followed up with potential clients who were unsure last year but might be ready now? It’s important for contractors to keep watch of their output and use results and data to increasingly improve it.
In 2019, the same old approach to home improvement lead generation is not going to cut it. One of the easiest—and fastest—ways to assess the current state of your business is processing some data that you already have. Data analytics measure your online presence and determine which parts of your business are currently and potentially most profitable. At Modernize, for example, we use the thousands of surveys homeowners submit to us to learn more about homeowner needs and challenges in the home improvement space — whether for solar, roofing, HVAC, windows, or other projects. Learn more about our most recent findings in the latest Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019.
Contractor Hat: Home Improvement Contractor
Lest we neglect it, you’re of course an expert in whatever service or product you offer, meaning you wear that hat first and foremost as any homeowner needs to know they’re handing their home, their investment, and their trust to someone whose experience merits the deal.
In that sense, there’s a lot to know. Here are seven overall mistakes we’ve learned about from our conversations with contractors and homeowners (see a deeper dive on the topic here):
- Mistaking an Ally for a Threat
- Letting Personal Ties Get in the Way
- Refusing to Get with the Times
- Taking an Ego Trip
- Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
- Spend Like It’s Going Out of Style
- Hire for Skills, Not Character
Home Improvement Contractor Hats: How To Hang A Few Up
No one knows your top priorities better than you. Likewise, no one can really advise you on which of these hats fits your head better than others.
Here at Modernize, we know our business and we know what we can offer you. From marketing to auditing to guiding an ever-growing online presence (and its various benefits), we can take one or two hats and leave you the ones that best fit your skill set and your time. If you’re ready to take back your hours and increase your future potential earnings, give us a call.