One sure sign that the economy is improving is the number of companies that are hiring. Peter Michelson, president of Renewal Design-Build, in Atlanta, says that hiring is a leap of confidence backed by information. He watches a variety of key indicators to help him decide when it’s time to make a move:

  • Number of active leads each project consultant is developing. In Michelson’s company that’s two to four. “Viable prospects need lots of attention, so we don’t want project consultants overburdened,” he says.
  • Number of total leads each project consultant is managing — active leads plus those in construction, on hold, or just moving into an active stage.
  • Overall schedule. “If we get booked up too far out, we know it’s time to hire another project manager,” Michelson says.
  • Dollar amount that each project manager has to handle to reach the company’s budget.

Good Timing

For Lori Bryan, vice president and COO of Marrokal Design & Remodeling, in San Diego, running by the numbers is never more important than when considering hiring staff. “We are always looking 90 days out to [see] ... if we have enough jobs for our production teams and if the sales numbers are strong,” she says.

Owner Gary Marrokal also looks at the number of design agreements signed each week. “We want our design consultants to go on no more than three new appointments a week — that’s the optimum amount for them to run effectively,” Bryan says. “Now that jobs are smaller, the company needs more design contracts to reach its goals, so we’re hiring additional design consultants to help bring them in.”

Michelson says that even with close scrutiny of the facts, a business owner still is making decisions in a microcosm. “If we hire too soon, we waste money. If we ramp up too late, we miss opportunities to capture jobs. So we try to hire at exactly the top of the curve.”

—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage — helping hundreds of remodelers across North America build strong, profitable businesses. 301.490.5620.