Replace Yourself With Systems
You can’t do it all yourself.
During my first seven years starting and building my construction company, I tried to do it all myself. I did all the estimates and presented the bids; signed all the contracts, subcontracts and change orders; made the big field decisions; purchased all materials and equipment; awarded subcontracts; went to all the job meetings; supervised concrete slab pours; and made every personnel decision. This made me crazy, raised my weight and caused most of my hair to fall out!
One evening, I took my family for a “happy” meal at McDonalds. I noticed the boss wasn’t there, the employees were 16 years old, customers were happy, and the food was consistent and relatively edible. I thought, “How do they do it without the owner supervising and making every decision?” I asked a server to show me the secret. He took me behind the counter where they have pictures clearly displaying how to build different hamburgers and menu items.
Good people or good systems?
Wow! A huge company runs smoothly using pictures of the finished product. This guarantees consistent quality. Plus, the owner doesn’t have to be on site all the time, making every decision for every customer’s order. If I could do this in my business, I could also build an organized company. This could reduce my dependence on having great people.
A systemized business produces consistent performance and results. How much money are you losing when you rely on your people to do their best, but not follow company installation and operational standards?
The results of owning a systemized business include:
- On-time projects
- Quality workmanship
- Staying on budget
- Safe projects
- Repeat customers
- Always making a profit.
All these results occur with or without you being everywhere all the time, and maybe you can take a regular vacation some day!
Good systems are simple
Excellent companies have simple systems. Outline each system on one piece of paper, writing or drawing a detailed picture of the end result desired to meet your company, customer or project specification. The best systems are team designed by the people who actually do the work and know how to do it best.
For example, at hotels, all rooms look the same when ready to occupy. How is this done? It’s simple. A picture of a ready room is shown to the housekeepers and the supervisors explain what is expected. They don’t care how the result is accomplished, just that the room is perfect when completed. This simple approach can be applied to every part of your business.
Create a “DO” manual
Organizing and systemizing your company requires time and money to produce consistent results and get everyone doing business the same way. Create a “DO” manual of pictures, checklists and guidelines as your company minimum standards. Build a three-ring binder of standard systems for every aspect of your company and field operations. Include everything from how to prepare a timecard or calculate change order markup, to how to install slab expansion joints, form door openings in concrete walls, do monthly job close-out, and get paid. Focus on the important things first that will make a difference in your bottom line. Make a goal to create one system per week, and you will be organized in a year.
Best-selling author and professional speaker George Hedley helps entrepreneurs and contractors build businesses that work. He is the author of the “The Business Success Blueprint Series,” available in eight workbook and audio CD sets. Contact him to present to your organization on his proven system to build profits, people, customers and wealth. Construction company owners are invited to attend his two-day Profit-Builder Circle boot camps. Email George at email@example.com to receive a free copy of his book “Everything Contractors Know About Making A Profit,” or signup for his free monthly e-newsletter. For more information call 800-851-8553, or visit his Web site and bookstore at www.hardhatpresentations.com.
Seven Steps to Create Systems
1) Identify areas to systemize.
The beauty of systems is not worrying whether every project will be built the same way. This will allow you to spend your time on important matters as little problems go away. To get started, create a Fix-It list today, and you will be organized sooner than you think.
George Hedley, HARDHAT Presentations. 3189-B Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626
- 43Builders, contractors and subcontractors complain they can’t find enough good trained help. It seems like they continually hope for a miracle, but don’t want to put in the time, energy and resources to build a great place to work that attracts, retains and trains great managers, supervisors and employees.