As we start a new year, there is no better time for professional installers to start making positive changes to their business. So, between now and the start of Spring, consider the following:
PAY YOURSELF FIRST!
Make sure you not only take a salary, but also earn enough money to grow your retirement account! Regularly deposit money (no matter how small an amount) into an account dedicated for your future!
FIND WAYS TO REDUCE COSTS
More and more manufacturers are coming up with new installation details that can save you money. Pier savers, reduced footing depths, and alternative anchoring methods can save you time, money or both! Work with the manufacturer’s Quality Assurance Manager and see where you can cut costs.
BECOME A BUILDING CODE EXPERT
If you ever attended any of my training courses, you should remember that I encouraged you to get a copy of the HUD Code. Ok, now that you have a copy, start reading it! In case you forgot how to download a copy of the code Click Here! Once you become the expert, you can re-educate the code officials!
CONSIDER SERVICE AGREEMENTS AS A NEW SOURCE OF REVENUE
At a recent training course, an installer told the group how he has agreements with a lot of former customers that increases his profits and provides a valuable service to homeowners. He performs an inspection of their home and their foundation every year when things slow down (like this time of year). The inspections cost $100, and if any repairs are needed, he will credit them the $100 towards repair costs. Even simple tasks like changing furnace filters are often a valuable service for our customers.
There is no better time than now to start thinking about safety. Require eye protection for everyone on the job site. Make sure seat belts are worn in company vehicles. Limit cell phone use. Purchase safety harnesses for working above grade. Inspect ladders, pump jacks, scaffolds and remove defective equipment from service. Safety toed shoes are a must. Make sure extension cords are in good condition and provide GFCI protection!
Do you and your crew look professional? Have you considered work uniforms? Job Signs? Are your work vehicles signed with your company name?
IMPROVE RECORD KEEPING
More than a federal requirement, good record keeping is good business! Make sure you are taking the time to complete installation checklists for every manufactured home you install. Make sure you have records of every defect you reported. Take pictures! Be prepared to defend every aspect of the installation in the event of a dispute! If you are a sub contractor, review your current contracts! If they are verbal, get working on written contracts!
I expect 2018 to be a big year for manufactured housing. Professional Installers are in demand and the need will only increase over time. Let’s start the year off right!