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Looking at good practices

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Looking at good practices

A successful home renovation requires a solid business relationship between homeowner and contractor. Both have the best intentions at heart. However, things can go wrong, and often do. Researching best business practices can guide both the contractor and homeowner through the process.

The contractor’s life is not simple or straightforward. Some work for firms where processes are all prescribed and non-trade functions, such as, accounting, marketing and bid preparation. These are all done by office staff. The majority of contractors doing household renovations are individual, independent business people, proprietors, and practitioners. Skilled in their trade, and more often than not, they can't do it all.

A typical day for a contractor consists of trade work during the day, fielding calls for the next job and then catching up on paperwork. This can be billing, timesheets, finding suppliers, arranging other sub-contractors, preparing quotes, etc.

Some contractors are well capitalised having enough money in the bank to cover all contingencies, as well as meeting payroll. Others work hand to mouth. Owning your own business has its attractions as well as its traps. Cash management is very important.  

An independent contractor has to be good in his/her trade skill as well as be good in business practices. Some rely on a spouse to do all the office work.  

There is a big difference between common business practices and best business practices. Common business practices are what are typically done, in rote fashion. Sometimes it is a minimalist approach, meaning minimum work that can be done to satisfy the overall requirement. The difference between common and best business practices can often be characterised as the difference between a C and an A. Best business practices are ones that contribute and drive superior performance, not just average business performance.

By Alex Beraskow

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