It used to be that remodelers were pretty much on their own when it came to running their companies. There were simply no books available written specifically for home improvement businesses. Little by little, that changed, and now there is excellent literature on many topics specific to the industry, including pricing, lead carpenters, and other business and production systems.
In Tim Faller's mind, however, there was one thing missing: human resource documents for production staff. Remembering his days as a lead carpenter and production manager out in the field, Faller, a Remodeling columnist and founder of the consulting firm Field Training Services, says that "we never had any standards or guidelines for hiring people." To that end, he developed "The Human Resource System," a 235-page document full of forms and guidelines for hiring and managing field personnel.
Beginning with an overview of sound hiring practices and ending with an answer key for the evaluations provided within, the two three-ring binders are exhaustingly comprehensive. Faller has included extensive job descriptions for all types of field employees, complete with necessary skills, required tools, and suggested goals. Sample interview questions and training guidelines for each worker are also provided.
The system is as good for employees as it is for owners. "The general idea of the whole system is that it's the employee himself who should take responsibility for his own growth," Faller says. Faller is also working on developing a "study guide," particularly for people looking to earn a promotion to lead carpenter.
The system has only been available since February 1, and as of press time, only a handful of copies had been sold. Ron Sobanek, president of Home Improvement Services in Kansas City, Kan., says that he bought the system for the time it saved. "I've been trying to write job descriptions for two years," he says.
Sobanek adds that he's modified the documents slightly to fit the way his particular company operates, something Faller expects everyone will do. "Probably 90% of it will apply to any company," Faller says. "But the rest of it is easily adaptable."
Faller is selling the documents for $799; that price includes a CD with electronic files, as well as four reference books that Faller says "should be the beginning of your training library." Log on to www.leadcarpenter.com to order.