Systematizing for Quality and Profit

Many remodelers have been exposed to the kinds of business systems and processes that can help them improve their operations and their profitability, but a relative handful actually go through the hard work of incorporating the necessary changes in their companies.

Scott Balentine, CR, CLC, owner of Lifestyles Custom Homes & Remodeling Inc., is among the handful who have made the transition to a systematized business. His company today incorporates business planning strategies and tactics which have increased profitability and have also provided a long-term basis for growth and stability.

“The key thing about systems is that it’s about creating a road map to guide you as you move through your business from point A to point B consistently. For example, there are a lot of different paths for the same destination. We use the same map, or path, for everything. There’s no science to it,” says Balentine. “We look at what are the steps we take to point A and B, and how we replicate it when we bring new people in.”

Balentine was encouraged to put his road map in place at a peer-group roundtable meeting two years ago. Over that period, the company has developed a production process that is broken down into 12 steps. According to Balentine, those 12 steps are linked to key events that occur in between the time a new lead or client comes in, all the way through to project completion.

“Once we identified these key points, we looked at the positions in the company and then assigned a positions to each one of the 12 events,” adds Balentine. “Then we take each one of those tasks that each person has and we break it down. It’s a chain of events, 12 of them, basically broken down the same way. Everyone that’s involved knows what their responsibilities are.”

Aside from Balentine, Lifestyles Custom Homes & Remodeling consists of two production managers, along with a sales and design assistant. Each person in the team knows their role and what needs to happen at every stage.

This overview of production flow may sound simple, but it took hard work to get to this point, says Balentine. With solid systems in place, the company has been able to focus on serving their customers. Their attention to detail and customer service has driven improved performance, both in and off the field.

“The key thing you look at is referrals. We’re about 60 to 65 percent referral based,” said Balentine. “A system in place drives the consistency that your referrals come to expect.”