Like many business owners, I’ve started spending more time in the field than the office. After eight years of doing strictly consulting work, I started my own remodeling company last February.

It has been a good year, but I have learned a few things about myself that I hope will help other owners reconsider the realities of life in production, whether for themselves or their employees.

I love working alone. The lead carpenter system is a tailor fit for me. I struggle to depend on or manage others without a certain level of frustration. On a few occasions, I have hired my son or a friend to help out, only to hear myself thinking, “I should have just done this myself.”

Is it possible that some of your managers (or even you) might be more productive and happy without supervisory duties?

I hate paperwork. After all these years, I still find it hard to work all day and then make lists, track time, and think about a new job when I get home. I have a system — basically, a notebook — but sticking to it is difficult.

Business owners: What tools or resources might help your field employees complete the necessary paperwork?

I hate to clean up. Recently, I was finishing up a day of working on my knees to install a frustrating 3/8-inch pre-finished hardwood floor. Despite the dust, tools, and cords around me, and though my clients had told me of their dust allergies, I still found it a chore to push myself past the fatigue and clean up.

Owners, encourage your crews to always budget for clean-up time at the end of the day.

I recognize profit as a production mindset. When I go through my numbers, I am happy to see a profit, and so is my family. Moreover, that profit represents a real accomplishment to me.

Set profits as a goal. Production people aren’t as motivated by abstract numbers as by tangible goals and accomplishments.

Charles Steck

I love the compliments. So far so good! I have happy clients and the beginnings of a good referral base. But mostly I’m gratified by hearing “thank you.” It makes the drudgery worthwhile and motivates me to do a better job next time. Remember that too, business owners.

—Tim Faller is president of Field Training Services, author of The Lead Carpenter Handbook, and a long-time proponent of this system.