These days, finding jobs is the least of a remodeler's worries. The real challenge is completing the jobs in the hopper, and for that having enough skilled workers is more than half the battle.
While finding good prospects often proves the harder task (see sidebar below), it's important not to blow it once you find good people. Unfortunately, getting off on the right foot often means learning the hard way.
Here are 6 common hiring mistakes to avoid:
The biggest heartbreak for many remodelers in the past few years has been losing workers. It's especially painful when an employee jumps to a competitor, but these days, workers are also leaving to join other industries.
Compensation. To attract and retain skilled workers, compensation is critical. Robert Criner, owner of Criner Construction, learned that lesson some years back when one of his best workers told him that he was leaving to work for a competing remodeling company simply because thatcompany was willing to pay $1 more per hour. Criner thought that he was paying fairly. But after doing some research, he discovered that he was paying a full dollar less an hour than his competition. “I gave everyone a $1 an hour raise on the spot,” says Criner, president of Criner Remodeling, in Newport News, Va. “But I still lost a good man.”
Beyond compensation. But paying enough is only the beginning. Tim Faller, "master of production" at Remodelers Advantage urges remodelers to look beyond compensation. "These days you need to create a working environment where people feel like they’re really appreciated.” One way to do this: Show workers you value them, urges Faller, by helping them solve problems—offering flextime for working parents who need to pick up kids, for instance—can be as enticing as high wages.
In a survey of remodelers, we uncovered these 10 other ideas for employee perks that can set your company apart: