Victoria Downing
Sharpe + Harrell Photography Victoria Downing

This is the follow-up to Victoria Downing’s previous column, “Meaningful Meetings.”

Many remodelers say, “I don’t have time for formal meetings; besides, we talk to each other all day long.” You may think you’re saving time, but you’re almost certainly wasting more time than if you had a real meeting with a proper agenda.

Patty McDaniel, owner of Boardwalk Builders, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and David Bryan, president of Blackdog Builders, in Salem, N.H., swear by these weekly meetings.

Weekly Meeting Goals

Patty McDaniel uses a series of meetings to keep Boardwalk’s operations on track. One of the most important is the weekly staff meeting. Attendees include the office manager, production manager, McDaniel — who represents sales as well as top management — and the estimator.

“We’ve become very efficient with this meeting,” McDaniel says. “We can complete the agenda in about 20 to 30 minutes, and it is time well spent. It allows us to recognize problem areas, see trends, and keep our company as profitable as possible.”

The agenda:

Goals for the quarter: Define how to tackle new initiatives or improvements to a process.

JDI — “Just Do Its”: Determine small but necessary projects that just need to get done.

Department issues: Alert staff to areas where department heads need immediate help.

Warranty and autopsy issues: Identify cracks in Boardwalk’s system so these issues can be immediately addressed to eliminate the problem.

Upcoming meetings: Decide on the topics that will be addressed.

Weekly Meeting Debrief

At Blackdog Builders, Dave Bryan meets weekly with his production team for a high-energy “Job Jamboree” where the project managers debrief the team on every one of their jobs. “This helps us verify information and not leave it to guesswork,” he says.

Bryan has this meeting down to about 30 minutes and says, “It’s worth every bit of the investment. I trust that everyone, including me, is getting their work done, but here, once a week, we’re proving it.”

Agenda items categories:

Potential clients; projects in design; projects moving into construction. “We review these projects closely so that we are prepared to hand a complete binder to production, giving them everything they need to do the project.”

Permits; preview meeting schedule; pre-construction meeting schedule; jobs in construction. “During this part of the meeting, each project manager discusses and rates their jobs in these areas,” Bryan says.

Client satisfaction; schedule review; current gross profit margin; completed jobs open. A job stays on this list until it’s paid in full. “If we see a job appearing here for several weeks in a row, this agenda brings it to our attention so we can deal with it and get it closed,” Bryant says. “In addition, as we move through the agenda, we go over selections, make sure draws are being billed and collected, review openings in the schedule for new projects coming on line, and go over each project in construction.”

—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage.

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