By Jon Solomon
I fairly regularly get together with folks coming out of college from the state’s various construction management programs. Some of them are looking for jobs, but most are looking for career advice. The typical question is, “What area in the construction field do you think I should focus on?”
The cocky kids typically blurt out, “I want to be a home builder. How do I get your job?”
So to all those self-confident types – let me tell you all my secrets.
I don’t have any secrets. There’s no special sauce. Sorry.
Being a successful Tampa builder is no different than being successful in any service business. Sure we build a product. It’s a really big product, but we really are a service business. So if we have any secrets, here they are.
- People: You’ve got to surround yourself with great, experienced people. Again if we are in the service business, you have to have great people to deliver that service.
- Process: You must have a detail-oriented process that is efficient and effective. It has to flow from the selection schedule to the construction schedule, and continue on through the entire process to ensure everything runs smoothly.
- Value: Maybe some homebuilders have customers with unlimited funds, but that’s not the world I know. We focus on value and getting the best costs through competitive bidding and analyzing the best products.
- Service: Great customer service needs to be ingrained in everything. Unfortunately, service has become lost, so we have to go the extra mile. Overstaffing to make sure everyone has the time to do it is one way, but in the end it comes back to the great people.
So you can see, it’s really not much of a secret. That’s why the more brash and self-assured folks I meet react with - “That’s it? Not much of a secret. That doesn’t seem so difficult to me.”
My reaction is that it shouldn’t be a secret. It’s what we all expect from a service business, but it must be difficult. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it.
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