Build Overhead, Build Profit


Published:
November 2, 2011

Q:
I have put into practice your twelve steps for making a profit. It works great with two exceptions:

About 30 percent of the time the market won't bear what I need to charge, I can't hire quality workers and I have do most of the work myself. I've cut overhead where I can and run a pretty lean operation. What steps can I take to keep growing and always make a profit?
Thanks in advance,

Jon Ambler

Ambler Carpentry


A:
It sounds like your company is you, and that is your problem. You don't need to cut overhead, you need to add overhead! Overhead and a strong management team will help you build a business that works without you doing all the work. And my guess is, you didn't start your company with enough cash equity to build a real company. Until you have enough financial strength, larger customers won't hire you at the price you want, and you will have to continue selling low price to get work. A company built with a strong financial foundation can hire excellent people, create a marketing program to establish an image and customers will pay extra for quality workmanship. Do you want to build a business built around you or what your company can do? Look for ways to raise cash, find better customers, differentiate your company from every competitor and build a management team that can take your company to the next level. Remember, when you think and act small, you will stay small forever!

 
Q:
We are a small commercial and residential HVAC contractor and sheet metal fabricator. I find the HVAC business to be low dollar wins. And my service technicians take customers with them when they leave to work for another competitor. I need help developing an effective marketing and sales plan to grow our business. Any help would be welcome.

Greg Black

Black Sheet Metal

A:

Why do your service technicians leave your company, and why do they take the service work with them? Perhaps you need a better employee retention program and a better customer loyalty program. The problem is not with your employees or your customers. The problem lies within how you run your business and prioritize your time. Keeping customers loyal is simple: Go see them on a regular basis, take them to lunch, send them thank you cards and show them you care about them. They are not your employees' customers. They are yours. Make customers your top priority and treat them like you want to keep them instead of just doing work and sending them an invoice as your thank-you gift.

Keeping employees is another simple task. What do you do to motivate, recognize, appreciate and train them? Do you let them into your management decisions and let them feel like they contribute to the success of your future? Do you compensate them based on results and acquiring new customers?  Employees leave because their employers don't give them a reason to stay. Think about your company and what you do to find and keep customers and employees. Perhaps you have to do something different with your time and money to make more money.

 

Construction Business Owner, January 2009


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