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Succeeding in Construction

We love football. We attend high school games when we can and try to catch games online from our favorite colleges. We love our teams even if they aren’t winning, but it’s so much more fun when they succeed.

We feel the same way about our clients. Let me tell you about a young contractor that we watched succeed and what he did to make that happen.

He called with a long list of business problems. His wife told him it was time to get a real job. He wanted to see his construction company succeed, he just didn’t know how. He told me to tell him what to do and it would be done.

We put a plan in place. It wasn’t easy because his company was new so he couldn’t use history to make projections or set sales and profit goals. We roughed out a game plan and revised it as we went along.

Every time he called, he had a long list of questions. He read Markup and Profit Revisited at least twice and it started to click. He got his first sale, then his second, then his third. He had project management experience from previous employment, so he knew how to run jobs. It was the business end that was new. He read, he studied, he worked at it every day.

And he applied what he was learning. He believed me when I told him that he could sell his work at the 1.55 markup we calculated for his business, instead of the whopping 1.20 he’d been using. We worked closely on the details. Gang, it’s the little details that separate profitable construction companies from the rest. He returned every phone call, made every appointment and on time. He dressed and acted professionally, and most importantly, started believing in himself.

At the end of our first year, he’d sold enough work to support the family. It was time to make more adjustments and he started to get more serious about marketing.

I had the opportunity to visit and went with him on an evening sales call. I was a mouse in the corner as he went through the steps of the sales call just as it’s outlined in the book Profitable Sales; A Contractor’s Guide. Bing, bing, bing and they signed a design agreement for a bath remodel. They’d had two other remodel projects done on their home and weren’t happy with those contractors. But they did call one of them back to give a quote on this project, and that contractor’s quote was $16,000 lower.

Did he do everything right? No. He made his presentation, gave them a budget range on what the job would run and was filling in some details on a question the wife had asked. The husband got up and went to a desk in another room, returned with this checkbook and laid it on the table. Our hero kept talking. And talking some more. When we left the call with the signed design agreement, I talked to him about it. Folks, when a potential client brings out their checkbook, they’ve bought you. Or when you hear questions like “When can you start?” or “How much do you want as a down payment?”, they’ve bought you. It’s time to shut up. Stop talking before you talk them out of it. Get out of the way and let them buy. Start writing the agreement.

Our hero later told me that they decided to add another bathroom to the project and refinish the entire basement. That’ll roughly double the size of this job. Oh, and another family that he’s talked to called, they’re ready to move ahead with a whole house remodel.

This young man now believes in himself. He knows and understands what it takes to make his business work. He’s focused, works smart, and does what he is supposed to do when it needs to be done. He’s reaping the rewards of running his business as it should be run.

Can you do that? Yes, if you’re willing to do the work. Remember those football teams I started talking about? Do you know how many hours of practice and sweat they put in before they even get to play a game? Can you guess how many hours they’ve spent watching other teams play? With a coach giving guidance and spurring them on, they do the work and pay attention to the details. It’s not easy but the reward of winning is worth it.

Can you do it without a coach? Of course you can. We have online classes you can watch as often as you’d like, and Michael’s always available for short questions from those who’ve attended or watched his Markup and Profit Intensive course. In fact, while a coach helps, if you aren’t dedicated and willing to do the work it doesn’t matter if you have the best coach in the world. You need the drive to succeed and the willingness to do the hard work.

If you’d like to build your business as he has and are willing to do what’s needed to get the job done, give me a call, or view the online training we have available. We’d love to watch you succeed.


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