Much of the work a remodeling company “does” is done by a variety of other companies. In fact, trade contractors and vendors often perform more of the work than the in-house employees of the remodeling company the client has hired.
The in-house employees of the remodeling company are trained (or should be!) in the company’s systems and procedures. That is what a company sells: its way of delivering a consistent experience for its customers.
Given that the typical remodeling company depends so much on trade contractors and vendors, why not train those folks, too? Seems obvious, right? But how many companies take the time to do that? Very few.
Some may wonder how you can find the time to do such training. The better question is, how can you NOT do this training, as it is critical to the success of the company’s projects?
Food For Thought
Here's a suggestion on how to help your partners understand what you are selling to your remodeling clients: Have a breakfast with them and your employees where you share a presentation that will help the attendees understand how to work well with your company. Schedule the date out far enough for all whom you want to invite to be able to plan around it. Encourage the owners of the companies you are inviting to have as many of their employees as possible attend; you want to present to the actual workers, not just the salespeople or bosses.
Secure a room large enough to comfortably accommodate all attendees. When we ran our company, we would use a meeting room in a hotel for these types of events: the hotel provided all the food and beverages, and we would not be interrupted by phone calls or visitors, as we would be if the meeting was held at our office.
Start the meeting at 7 a.m. or so, early enough that all the attendees will work the better part of the day. Tell the hotel to have breakfast ready at 6:45 a.m. If attendees will arrive between 7 and 7:30 a.m., you and your team want to be there at least by 7 a.m. to do the setup.
Welcome all the attendees and have everyone introduce themselves. Remember, you are trying to create a sense of community. We would then introduce our trade contractor and vendor binder, with copies for all the attendees. In it were all the forms and procedures we needed our partners to understand and follow.
Then, get your message out there. We did one presentation called “Promises, Promises.” In this order, we laid out:
- The promises our company makes to our clients.
- The promises our company makes to our trade contractors and vendors.
- The promises we need our trade contractors and vendors to make to our company.
- What we need from our partners to fulfill the promises we make to our clients.
In our area, it is common for the actual workers of several of the trade contractors to be fluent primarily in Spanish. Therefore, we had the presentation in English with the Spanish translation following each point. This is important because it shows you truly are interested in communicating with everyone in the room and you are more likely to influence their behavior on-site.
Before the event, we assigned each of our employees a different point of information to speak to during the presentation. When we hit the appropriate slide, I would ask the employee to answer the question while he/she referenced the page in the trade contractor and vendor manual that contained the answer.
Why do this? It is important to increase the visibility of your team members and to reduce your own importance in the eyes of all the attendees. Your company is not just you, it is a team of good people. Asking these questions also makes it so all the attendees are taken on a gentle journey through a binder that they might otherwise never open.
Then, we presented awards. We had awards for things like fewest change orders, best looking trucks, and best attitude. We had a lot of awards, as we were trying to let everyone know what we thought was important.
One of the awards was for the company who brought the most employees. One year a painting company and a concrete company were calling employees while the meeting was starting to get more of their respective employees there so their company could win that award! The awards were simple certificates we had printed with our logo on them. It was neat to see how much getting an award meant to most of the attendees.
The entire presentation took about 45 minutes or so. We wrapped it up by thanking everyone for coming.
Follow Up and Follow Through
Over the course of the year, we would then interact one-on-one with different partners to find out what we do better and to let them know what we thought they could do better. Yes, that took time. However, it created fewer hassles when we were working together.
Helping one another and all those you work with become more successful is some of the good work you get to do as a remodeling company. Remember, you don’t just remodel people’s homes. You remodel the working relationships with your partners so all of you experience greater success. That is the great work!