Today’s builders can streamline their business with these smart builder business lessons that include new technologies and procedures borrowed from other industries. Implementing these successful builder business guidelines will help any builder achieve a thriving and profitable business.
It’s easy to criticize some builders’ resistance to new technology but, given the complexities of this business and the huge financial risks, their hesitance is understandable. Established methods can seem safer and more predictable than changes that may or may not pay off.
However, a growing number of builders understand that implementing these smart builder business lessons will improve their survival and profitability. Implementing these new guidelines will ultimately depend on their willingness to adopt new business practices and technologies. These practices usually aren’t complicated they tend to be proven, mainstream, and even obvious. The key is having the mindset to embrace them.
Case-in-point: San Diego-based Murfey Company, a 10-year-old builder/developer of single and multifamily homes as well as commercial projects. Owners Russ and Scott Murfey say that the careful application of new technologies and ideas has helped them build a thriving business.
Besides using industry-specific software (like ProCore for project management), the Murfeys often look to other industries for best practices and smart builder business lessons. This has helped them reduce errors, raise revenues, and improve employee retention. But getting there hasn’t been without challenges.
Cad Pro is an affordable and easy alternative to other more expensive design software programs. Cad Pro is great for creating kitchen design plans, innovative smart home designs, custom home plans, building plans, office plans, construction details, and much more.
CAD Pro allows anyone to share their ideas and plans with clients, colleagues or professional remodeling contractors using Dropbox®, Google Drive™, OneDrive®, and SharePoint®. Export files to Microsoft Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® with a single click.
CAD Pro has helped thousands of professional designers, builders and contractors implement these smart builder business lessons. CAD Pro is used by NARI professional remodelers and contractors and the NRCA roofing contractors. CAD Pro is also used by NHBA home builders and contractors, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). as well as the (NALP) National Association of Landscape Professionals.
Here are some smart builder business lessons:
Going paperless takes time. Digital communication is the norm in many industries, and homebuilding is getting there.
“We still need paper plans, but we also give our supers tablets and digitize everything,” say the Murfeys. “Our projects are cloud-based, with all documentation available online.” Getting the system in place has taken a few years, but it’s saving time and money.
The slow adopters of these successful builder business guidelines have been some sub-contractors. “We still get faxes from some of them.” And while the Murfeys try to help subs go digital, they realize that keeping a reliable one may require an exception. “We’re not heavy-handed. It’s case-by-case.”
Simple tools are important. Take plan changes, for example. “Markups can really get out of hand,”. For instance, if you decide to change a smaller JELD-WEN window for a bigger one, the framer needs to get the correct new rough opening.
For field changes, these builders prefer a generic tool like Adobe Acrobat for these successful builder business guidelines. The details can be marked up and then synced to the framer’s phone via a cloud service like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
SOPs are superpowers. Manufacturing companies rely on standard operating procedures, or SOPs, to make sure work gets done efficiently, whereas builders tend to lag behind here.
The Murfeys are big believers in SOPs, which they develop and reinforce through weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings. “We strive for a Henry Ford approach, which means looking for ways to do everything the same way, every time.” This is the most productive of the smart builder business lessons.
Letting go can be smart. Pulling a horse’s reins on these successful builder business guidelines slows forward motion and, the Murfeys insist, the same goes for people. That’s why they loosen the reins and allow employees to work remotely part of the time. Site managers have to be on the job, but office-based staff—sales, accounting, purchasing, etc.—don’t necessarily need to be in the office.
There are two big payoffs to allowing remote work:
Better talent. Flexibility attracts self-starters. “We want lifelong learners who embrace new ways of doing things and have no problem attracting people of all ages and experience levels who fit that description,”. “We give them direction and opportunities to excel, but we don’t micromanage. This empowers them.”
More sales leads. Employees who spend more time in the community and less time in an office tend to meet more people. To leverage this, the Murfeys make it clear to all employees they’re part of the marketing department and incent them to look for business opportunities. This helps fuel the sales tank. “For example, one of our supers has good relationships with a few architects, which has brought in work. And we have a project manager who consistently brings us new deals.”
The Murfeys insist that the prerequisite to creating smart builder business lessons is a culture for the builder to embrace technologies and processes that attract creative people. It’s smart business.
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