Working hard at working smarter and making do with less, remodelers are seeking new efficiencies.
For example, Joe Mingioni, president of Mingioni Construction, in Edgemont, Pa., eliminated his company’s sales/estimator position and divided that job’s duties between his wife, his office manager, his field supervisor, and himself.
The office manager now handles some of the estimator duties, checking customer product costs against budgeted allowances, going over allowance upgrades, doing some job costing, and sending change orders. “When I asked her to take on additional responsibilities, she understood,” Mingioni says. “She realized what we needed to do to get through tough times. Everyone in the company respects that. They’ll do whatever it takes ... even if it’s technically outside their responsibilities.”
After Jack McGrath, president of Jonathan McGrath Construction, in Longwood, Fla., laid off his production supervisor’s assistant, he delegated the work she had previously done to other staff. The assistant had handled the administrative side of the production supervisor’s fieldwork. “One-third of what she did went away due to streamlining operations and less work in production,” he says. “I’m helping with a third and my assistant is helping with another third.”
In the past, McGrath was more regimented about holding people to their job descriptions, but he found that staff felt they could be “more valuable doing things differently.” Now the company has guidelines for its positions, but the smaller staff finds it’s more efficient to be flexible and share work.
Keeping It Simple
McGrath also simplified some processes and eliminated steps because his sales volume no longer justified the more complicated systems. “Three years ago, you needed a lot of steps to make sure you were not missing any details,” he says. “Now, we’ve cut steps, making the process simpler and faster.”
Several years ago, the company began to go paperless. McGrath can now quickly access documents on the company’s server from his home office — no time wasted sending faxes.
Lynn Hammerschmidt, president of Hammerschmidt Construction, in Los Altos, Calif., laid off her office administrator in January and cut the external bookkeeper’s hours. The company’s estimator now enters and transmits payroll, and the company uses a payroll service through QuickBooks.
The office administrator used to be the one to produce contracts and subcontractor agreements and to check on subcontractor insurance. Hammerschmidt created templates for some of this work and now she and the estimator split those tasks.
The administrator also answered the phones, helped John Hammerschmidt with design projects, and scheduled meetings. Now, Lynn, John, and the estimator take turns answering the phone.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.