—Manny Neves, Hardcore Renos
There is no set price in construction; it costs what it costs to make the job right. —Carlito Pavlovic, my cohost of our podcast, The Construction Life
Eleven years ago, I began Hardcore Renos with a very simple goal: to build things the best I can, using the best products I can research, working with the best crews that truly cared, and loving every minute of the construction life.
What is the construction life? It is a 5 a.m. wake up, work out, shower, prepare lunch, send off the family, hop into the van, call, email, text the crews and suppliers, arrive on-site, organize, prep, build, have fun, wrap up, end the workday on a high note, head home, spend time with the family, prep for the next day, schedule the next day, place orders for the next day, turn in, sleep tight, wake up and do it all over again because you love what you do for a living—construction.
What does the construction life really cost? From your brand to your designs to your crews to your materials to your tools to your reputation to your clients to your legal counsel. What does all of this really cost you as a business owner and operator? You begin a business for the passion within you; you recite your mission statement over and over in your head; you spend evenings and weekends sketching design ideas and material takeoffs; you network to build the best possible team; you do the research on new tools; you build a reputation and stick to that mantra; you become a people person for your clients, your crews, and your suppliers; and you protect yourself and your brand with legal advice.
Day one of your business and you had a dollar value attached to your brand—it was worth 100 percent of that dollar. The moment you decide on a company name, there is a dollar value attached to that name, your name, your brand. The moment all of the inner working details came into play that dollar fluctuated and it became a constant push and pull to maintain that 100 percent value. With each passing project we reluctantly position our brand lower than what it is truly worth because we want that job and we want to stay busy, look busy. Being busy can be bad for that dollar. Stop that BS! (The Busy State.)
As a contractor, a supplier, a subcontractor, a business owner, you need to understand true costs: what the value of a single dollar is worth in your business, how far that dollar really goes, and what that dollar can generate in terms of revenue. Understanding that dollar and what percentage of that dollar goes into your brand is the very first step in building the best construction business you can for yourself and generations to come. There is one set price once the renovation is signed and approved but that price changes on a daily basis, and those pivoting moments in every renovation project affect the costs of running your business. They also can place you in a negative state of mind and a negative state for your business and books. You need to be proactive and seldom reactive when it comes to that dollar. Never forget how you got here, what it took you to get here, why you began a career as a contractor. It’s no longer a hobby; it’s a strong and thriving business comprised of your brand, designs, crews, materials, tools, reputation, clients, and your legal counsel.
My hardcore values: Renovations That Last Generations™. The work must last. Respect the Next Trade ™. The team must work together. Good Enough Is Never Good Enough for Us™. The brand must be better every day. How do we do this? How do we attach a dollar value to our core values? By managing the clients and the crews with full transparency. Keeping up with the paperwork for the clients, the crews, the suppliers, the business. Delivering the full scope of work within the approved budget. Although things nevergo as perfectly as planned, a company’s core values keep everything aligned and on a path to success. The path may shift, but if your core brand values are a part of the team, it will be easy to get back on the path and back on track. Communicate: Use clear and simple communication throughout the project with everyone. Deliver: Deliver on time and on budget—budget more so than time, but as changes are added, so is time. Last: Leave a positive, long-lasting impression on every client, every subtrade, every supplier, every time. Quality: Quality is never sacrificed but, rather, always prioritized.
When we explore “building better” further, what does this mean? A contractor should want to change the construction industry through the projects they complete, with a focus on educating both clients and trades on what the true meaning of quality construction is all about and the associated costs. Each client is different and comes with a varying level of understanding and knowledge on construction and products. Lots of times clients receive their education through the web or TV, or from other unreliable sources like family, friends, or home improvement part-time salespeople. In any case, it is difficult to earn the trust of clients so they start to listen to you as the professional and understand the true costs associated with the figures you are presenting. Providing the right level of education is the challenge, but it is necessary to do, as clients gain comfort through this process, which then equals approvals and prompt payments. This highlights the importance of good communication.
What should you as a contractor, business owner, supplier, or subcontractor want to achieve with every project? In other words, what are the goals of the renovation and added value to your dollar at 100 percent of its value? Have projects run smoothly from paper to broom. Sell the standards and sell the work effectively. Deliver what the client wanted, changes and all. Make it a positive experience for the client and crew. Stay on budget and on time, with all of the changes. Have every client share their experience in a positive way to friends and family. Strong communication. Pre-, during-, and post-production assess the work. Making a profit is paramount. Have a look at your next profitable dollar; take it out of your bank, your wallet, your pocket, wherever; hold it in your hand; flip it over; and understand what it took to earn that dollar.
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