The remodeling business is full of 2x4s, nails, screws and asphalt shingles. The mathematics of profit and loss are critical to success. You need a truck, trailer and an arsenal of tools to carry out the contract to completion.
But without a determined heart behind every decision and a love for the process, the business will never get off the ground.
Every day there are guys (and a few more gals) who decide they have seen enough to put their own sign on the truck and go into business for themselves. After watching bosses show up, look around, bang a few nails and speed off again with a big check in hand, it looks pretty good and very easy.
More often today, there are some with enough schooling in their background to understand the math of gross and net profits. They invest in air guns and cordless every things and even know how to build a website as well as when to engineer a truss.
Still one statistic that has never changed is that only a handful of many start-ups last beyond a few years of hard knocks. I know this only too well, having gone through numerous transformations on my own and with others to learn that desire and good intentions are not enough to keep food on the table.
I write this not to discourage, but to remind us that pots of gold are not just waiting at the end of the rainbow. They are filled step by step with vast amounts of experience, determination, discernment and patience.
At the most basic level, we take on projects to make money. Obviously, not all of us are born to lounge on the beach. Reading this, you are likely one of the many who must find ways to earn our keep and support families. For individual reasons, we have come to this business, but for all of us dollars are critical and profits necessary.
Making payroll (our own first) is an important goal of every Friday.
Customers, however, in addition to their budget and without even realizing it, are looking for something less quantifiable. They assume expertise and hope for reliability. They trust references, reputations and a clean truck.
It is the heart on your sleeve, the passion with which you speak, that can make all the difference.
The customer is welcoming you into their home. This is sacred space to them that must be treated respectfully. As much emphasis as they put on price, in those initial visits, whether they know it or not, they are also evaluating how much you care, how much you love what you do.
When the obvious quantifiables on paper are reasonably equal, the customer will rely on this intangible measure of heart to make their final decision. To have the best experience, they want someone who loves what they do and is excited to be there.
The builder who can share this enthusiasm gravitates out of the ordinary and reaches success one job at a time.
A heart-centered business still relies on all the numbers and skills of the practical construction requirements. You are nothing if you can’t put the sticks together for a reasonable and profitable price, but you are so much more when your excitement and love for your work is evident to those around you.
In addition to the labor and materials, this critical ingredient of the heart is proficient with the mathematics and structure, but relies more heavily on the decisions that are based on the quality of the experience to ensure success. Intuition, trust and confidence become tools as necessary as the hammers and scaffolds.
Creating partnership with the homeowner takes the relationship to a deeper place than a simple contractual negotiation. By educating the prospect on the process, showing them that a remodeling project is different than driving a new car off the lot, you let them see you are capable of much more than just getting the mess to the dumpster and a roof over their heads.
Offer your clients an experience that is much more than nails and 2x4s and the money will follow.