Delegation — or the lack of it — is probably the biggest obstacle facing new remodelers. A young remodeling company requires a lot of attention, and 60-hour-plus work weeks certainly aren't uncommon. But if the company is going to move out of its infancy, then its owner must start to pass responsibilities on to others.

It is vital, and not just because you want to have more time to be with your family; only 4 out of 10 panelists said that they delegated to cut back on their hours. More than three-quarters do it to free their time to focus on other aspects of the business, while two-thirds delegate to grow their business. Nearly as many say they do it because “there is too much for one person to do.” Anyone who has owned a company for more than a day knows just how true that is.

Why was it so difficult to delegate …? Production

“Setting client expectations is the most critical aspect of remodeling, with meeting those expectations a close second. Production is where the rubber hits the road, and not having daily oversight took getting used to.”
John Coburn, Bowers Design Build, McLean, Va.

“It's what I do best, and I absolutely love it.”
Riley Shirey, Shirey Contracting, Issaquah, Wash.

Estimating “Inaccurate estimating can destroy a business.”
George Constant, Hess Construction, New York

“If a job is bid incorrectly, we lose money.”
Joe Arendes, Dillon Construction, Lusby, Md.

Selling “I felt like I lost touch with the customers.”
David Carlisle, Bayview Builders, Chestertown, Md.

“I wasn't sure delegees could accurately represent our competitive advantages.”
John Hinton, DeMattei Construction, San Jose, Calif.

Marketing “It's too conceptual to pass on to others.”
Dale Junttila, Finnwood, Minneapolis

Accounting/Financial “I need to know where every cent is coming from and where it's going.”
John Harkness, Nu-Starts Construction Co., Medina, Ohio

“I have many friends who over the years have had embezzlement problems with bookkeepers.”
Gary Eichhorst, Eichhorst & Co., Richmond, Ill.

Production Supervision “Since I do all the estimating, it's difficult to turn production over to someone and expect them to watch the bottom line.”
James Allen, Construction Et Cetera, Grass Valley, Calif.

“My name is on the sign. I wanted to be the one to approve our product.”
Peter Fenton, Fenton Inc., Wellesley, Mass.

Design “It is part of the sales process, and I do not feel that anyone does it as well as I do.”
Thomas Buckborough, Thomas Buckborough & Associates, Concord, Mass.

Office/Administrative “I felt like I didn't have control.”
Mark Wiltsey, Gannon Roofing Supply, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Which tasks have you delegated to employees?

How old was your business before you began delegating?

How have the hours you work changed since you started in business?

Which tasks have you delegated to third-party vendors (non-employees)?

Which was the first task you ever delegated?

Which of your duties won't you delegate?

Which task was most difficult to delegate?