Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Succeeding as a Decorative Contractor -

This article by Khara Dismon, of the Concrete Network.com (Managing Editor) has always been a favorite of mines..in it she interviews Jim Peterson, president of The Concrete Network and asks him about how to succeed as a decorative concrete contractor.

Q: What's the number one thing a decorative concrete contractor
can do to ensure his success?

A: Hire an administrative assistant. I got this idea at the Rocky
Geans business School.

Q: Why does a decorative concrete need an administrative assistant?

A: Because as a small business person there are too many things that
need to get done- so if a contractor is a lone ranger and is attempting
"wear all the hats" lots of important things are not going to get done.

Q: What type of things does an administrative assistant do?

A: The administrative assistant can answer the phone (this is huge-
contractors must not let their calls go to voicemail), file time sheets
with a payroll service, order job materials ahead of time, call and
confirm jobs are ready, order rental equipment, schedule appointments
for showroom visits, input the payables, prepare the invoices, and
even do proposals and send out mailers.

Q: It seems like the administrative assistant is doing everything but
building the projects.

A: You got it! That's what most contractors get into decorative
contracting for, so they can build. Having an administrative assistant lets
the contractor do what they do best.

Q: Is it possible for an administrative assistant to get all this done?

A: You need an organized person who is not a goof-off surfing the internet
or talking on the phone to friends all day. Many of these tasks don't
take long - they just need to be done consistently. For instance,
taking a call from two crews to report the time daily takes two minutes;
calling to order materials for a project about five minutes; entering
invoices into the system takes about 20 minutes per week ( I think it
depends on the workload and how many assistants you have).

Q: Sounds like most of this is fairly straightforward once a person knows
what they are doing.

A: It is straightforward. It does take some time at the start to teach the
administrative assistant - and maybe some of the decorative contractors
don't know how the systems should be set up. But they should work
their butt off in the beginning getting all the systems set up with the
administrative assistant. ( I attended this Rocky Geans Concrete
business school in January this year and it is definitely worth every penny
paid to learn this stuff)

Q: How can small companies afford an administrative assistant?

A: The real question is, "How can they not afford an administrative assistant?"
If a decorative contractor gets to 500 K to a million or more in sales,
they have no problem with paying for the help. The problem is that if the
contractor doesn't have some help in the beginning, they will never reach
the $500 K to a million or more in sales.

Q: How much does an administrative assistant make?

A: It all depends on the location. It might be from $500 per week to $750 per week.
It sounds like a lot to a new company. Sometimes in the past when I've hired
I digest the expense mentally in quarter increments, " This person is going
to cost me $8,500.00 in the next quarter, but if they can be doing the job by
then, the company is really going to be progressing."

Q: What holds some contractors back from making a hiring move like this?

A: Money is tight in many cases. But this should be looked at just like you would
look at renting a skiploader to grade flatwork. You wouldn't grade flatwork by
hand because money is tight.

In other cases, maybe money isin't so tight but the contractor doesn't want to spend
money this way, they think they can do it all themselves, and most of the time
they just burn out after awhile. It's counterintuitive, but I've always found if
one works on the right things (and being organized and effective is a right thing')
what seems expensive actually proves to be a great bargain down the road.
You just need a lot of hard work and faith at the start.

When attending this training Rocky asked the male contractors there, how many
of them pay their wives for doing this and about 2 hands went up. He then asked
them to take the time to pay them for helping out. I not only run the office from
home, but I also juggle that and my homemaking duties, cleaning the house,
doing the family laundry, gardening, cooking meals, and taking care of the young
ones..and do not get paid for it..so a word to those out there who don't pay
your dw to do the administrative assistant work..kindly pay your wives what
they truly deserve.

So visit www.rockygeans.com to attend
their 2 day training. Next one is March 20-21, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.
That was a life changing training!! Definitely will plan on attending again.

Rocky Geans will hold a two-day concrete contracting business school in Dallas, TX where he will share his experiences in concrete contracting and show you the business tools and systems he's developed for running a highly successful concrete company. The following topics, and much more, will be covered:

Estimating Strategies Maroon Arrow Financial Statements
Maroon Arrow Bidding Maroon Arrow Managing Field Operations
Maroon Arrow Job Costing Maroon Arrow Job Scheduling
Maroon Arrow Marketing Ideas Maroon Arrow Employee Management
Maroon Arrow Managing Markups Maroon Arrow Strategic Planning

Rocky will cover 24 topics in all. Register Now.

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