How an Efficiency Program Killed My Business

Posted on April 26,2015 by Nate_Adams in business

Note to Homeowners: This article is primarily aimed at the Home Performance industry. I strive for radical transparency, so I put this in the public sphere for you to read as well.

Disaster Responses

Posted on April 26,2015 by Dedalus in business

In this blog I will periodically discuss particular numbers and other metrics that I think can be of value in helping you run your business. In this installment, I discuss the concept of “triage,” which ultimately derives from the Latin word for “three.” Literally and historically, “triage” refers to a simple way of allocating emergency medical care among a group of injured people who outnumber available medical resources. In its original form — dating from the Napoleonic Wars — these were the three categories to consider when doing triage:

Strength in Numbers

Posted on April 26,2015 by Dedalus in business

I’ve had three extended learning experiences in my career that have taught me the power of numbers. Thanks to my friends John Abrams of South Mountain Company and Jamie Wolf of Wolfworks, along with key support from the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the Yestermorrow Design Build School, I’m about to embark on a fourth such experience — one which promises to be the most exciting and powerful of all.

Green Building is a Growing Business

Posted on April 26,2015 by ScottG in business

A new study from McGraw Hill Construction suggests a number of reasons why builders should get up to speed on green building. First, the green building market is growing. According to a summary of the report, the green share of the single-family residential market has grown from 2% in 2005 to 23% in 2013 and should reach between 26% and 33% of the market by 2016. That would be worth as much as $105 billion.

Architect Turned Master Marketer Writes a Book

Posted on April 26,2015 by CarlSeville in business

Architect, urbanist, and new media guru Steve Mouzon's latest book, New Media for Designers and Builders, is a how-to manual for business owners who want to use social media and other marketing methods to promote themselves for fun and profit. It is truly a 21st-century book, since it is available in PDF and iPad formats, and since much of the content is published on separate websites accessed through embedded links.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 4

Posted on April 26,2015 by CarlSeville in business

It’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of trade contractor management — the control documents — what I refer to as the field checklists. Since these checklists are a key part of a larger process, it is important to understand just how the process works.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 3

Posted on April 26,2015 by CarlSeville in business

If you’re following along with this series of articles, you will recall that I ended the last post with a list of the various pieces and parts of a successful management program. This post covers the General Agreement, your annual signed contract with your trade contractors that covers all the work they do for you. The first question you may be asking is, Why do you need one? Lots of contractors just sign their trade contractors’ proposals and put them to work. Some people even work on a handshake without any contract at all.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 2

Posted on April 26,2015 by CarlSeville in business

Before you commit to the time and energy required to put together a complete management system for your trade contractors, you may want to know what you will ultimately get out of it. A good system will help you get more consistent, high quality work, reduce confusion and problems, help new trade contractors get up to speed quickly, improve your back office operations, and avoid confusion throughout the company. Sound interesting?

Trade Contractor Management: Creating Programs That Work

Posted on April 26,2015 by CarlSeville in business

Way back when I was a contractor, I always found it useful to develop well-organized systems to use in running our business. Whenever I was asked the same question twice, it was time to create standards and procedures for employees and trade contractors to refer to. I called these the gifts that kept on giving: once you had them you could stop trying to remember what you said the last time and just refer people to the appropriate documents. Eventually they learn, and the questions become less frequent.

The Business of Building a ‘Building Business’ — Part 2

Posted on April 26,2015 by michaelds in accountant

In my last blog, I recommended that we builders should try to build our office team much like we build our construction team. We should move as quickly as possible from doing all the work ourselves to hiring specialty employees and professional partners. (In the field we call them trade contractors).

How To Sell Green Upgrades: Better Insulation

Posted on April 26,2015 by michaelds in business

R-30 is good and R-38 is “gooder.” That’s kind of how we sell insulation, right? At the end of the day, when we talk about green upgrades, this is probably the one item that most consumers understand better than any other. The maxim “more is better” is, with few exceptions, pretty safe territory when it comes to insulation. Oh, if it were on that simple!

Do It Now: Review Your Company’s Health Insurance Policy

Posted on April 26,2015 by ShelterNerd in business

With the economic downturn, I've been looking for ways to get better value for overhead dollars, and one thing that really stands out is the cost of our company-paid health care insurance.

Work-Life Integration

Posted on April 26,2015 by ShelterNerd in business

We all know people who hate their jobs and count the days until Friday or retirement. And we know folks who live for expensive hobbies and passions that consume their paychecks, or who count their worth by the size of their compensation package.

Green Jobs Coming Up

Posted on April 26,2015 by Rob Moody - Organic Think Inc in business

Vice President Biden led a task force recently on creating green jobs. Among the opportunities: weatherization. Among the challenges: connecting people to jobs. Some questions: the role of organized labor, business, and of public/private partnerships.

Every Green Builder Needs to Have This Book on the Shelf

Posted on April 26,2015 by ShelterNerd in business

There are a small number of books that have been so important to me that I buy them in quantity to give to friends. To new parents I give Kids Are Worth It by Barbara Coloroso, and to new employess, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Among the books I give to my fellow green builders is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

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