Without a doubt there were plenty of times running my building business I thought, “What the fudge am I doing this for???”. Days and days (actually years) when everything was going wrong, carpenters being complete idiots, apprentices…being apprentices, a bad customer or three at once, sub contractors being irresponsible, again. Who would want to be a builder FFS?
Well if you allow those things to continue on, if you don’t make changes so you can stop employing idiot carpenters, if you keep seeing the wrong type of customers, if you keep signing the wrong type of contracts, if you keep repeating the same silly stuff, then you probably should not be a carpenter / builder / tradie.
Bad things happen in every job. Builders and tradies get way more than their fare share. Sorry, we builders. I have not been paid thousands of dollars, actually tens of thousands. I have employed many dingbat carpenters (Read my post about Tom the foolish carpenter – not his real name (yes it is)).
However, I made changes. It did take a while, but I was at least smart enough to know that I was as much to blame as anyone. So it took some years, lots and lots of soul searching, lots of reading and lots of talking to my wife. But I would say we did work it out and so can you. (team JD has his wife on the team, and so should you). You wouldn’t put up with a carpenter making the same mistakes month in, month out, year in, year would you?
So I now love being a licensed builder. I love the knowledge, I love the independence and I love that I eventually developed formula that works. But please note, my formula works for me. My formula may not work for you. But I would encourage you to work out a business formula that will work for you and then follow the steps mentioned above. I will write more about business formulas (in building) in another blog post.
Here is a simple summary:
- Talk to people. Talk to people who are smarter than yourself. Accountants, other builders, your wife, your father, your father-in-law, but get objective advice.
- Develop a personal business formula that makes sense to you. Actually what I am saying is find a niche. This is the ‘What’.
- Be prepared to pay someone to help you with that formula. It is called a business coach. They don’t have to be super expensive. If you don’t know any, I’ll give you three or more names to start with.
- Use technology. BuildManager and /or other software is the ‘How’. It is not the ‘What’.
Finally, be kind to yourself on a regular basis (once you get into control). This means go and have fun. Once, twice, three times a week.
My niche became small building jobs. Not a lot of architects, not many plans to look at, mostly Cost Plus jobs and easy to quote and usually I got paid to go and look at a new job.
What niches do you think would work for you and how would you get into them?