The declining economy has reduced many remodeling companies’ average job size. If you’re accustomed to managing a few large projects, this shift can add a degree of chaos. Time frames are shorter and profits are smaller, creating more opportunities to lose both money and client satisfaction.

Stick with what works. Smaller projects are not a license to abandon the systems you have in place. The need to get more jobs into production often leads to a sense of “hurry up” that ends in mistakes and losses. Follow the same steps that go into producing larger jobs, but at an accelerated pace. Continue your policies of careful selling, good paperwork, and regular client meetings.

Focus on job prep. Shorter time frames leave little opportunity to figure it out as you go. Small jobs place a premium on accurate paperwork, well-thought production processes, and installer prep time.

Neglect any of these, and you’ll create needless standing around and head-scratching. You may also need to beef up sales hours or take a cue from kitchen and bath companies and increase staff capacity for up-front administrative work.

Schedule carefully. It’s erroneous to think that shorter jobs don’t need schedules. The reality is that the shorter the job, the more precise the scheduling must be; instead of day-long scheduling intervals, you’re talking half-days or hours. Precise schedules help everyone understand expectations and perform properly.

In short, small jobs are about taking a deep breath, remembering what got you here, and continuing to improve. With luck and hard work, you’ll emerge from these challenging times with the ability to handle both large and small jobs at a profit!

—Tim Faller is president of Field Training Services, which helps remodeling and other construction companies develop production systems and training programs for field staff. Learn more at