It’s All About Results
One of the scourges of the St. Louis area’s home contracting world is the ever-changing labor pool. Installers tend to come and go, mostly because they see this work as a stop-gap measure to get them by until they find something better.
The result, unfortunately, is delays due to short staffing or, worse, inconsistent installation quality. This used to be the industry’s standard until we came along and tried something radical – treating our installers with respect.
While it might seem that high energy and the ability to swing a hammer is all that is required to be an installer, that’s not the case. Each product line has strict guidelines for proper installation and its own set of quirks to understand.
The only way to master the process is proper training followed by repetition.
If you are jumping from product to product, the lessons have no chance to turn into muscle memory and then to expertise.
Sadly, the realities of the average home contracting company make it next to impossible for a reasonable installer to stick around. So-so pay, inconsistent hours, and multiple products aren’t things designed to create experts.
When we started our business over 10 years ago, we decided to flip the script. We didn’t want unenthusiastic workers with faces that changed every few weeks installing our products.
We wanted crews that we could rely on to do the job right every time and were excited to do so.
First We Train, Then We Train, And After That, We Train
When you just throw a worker into an installation with no training, you’re sending the message, “Just get it done,” and the quality of their work will reflect that message. If you want your installers to respect their work, you have to show them respect first. And nothing shows respect quite like taking the time to train them properly.
So we send our roofers to GAF to learn how to properly roof a house with GAF products. Our siding teams go to James Hardie, and our window installers know exactly what ProVia expects.
After that initial training, they are also taught how to act on the job site. We make them understand exactly what is expected of them and give them the tools they need to succeed.
That way, they can come at their jobs with confidence and a sense of pride instead of the indifference that so many exterior home solutions companies seem to prefer.
But even then, we still aren’t done. All crews receive periodic training to learn about product changes, discover new techniques, and explore changes in procedure.
When we spend time and money training our crews, they understand that they are a valued resource to our company and that we respect their abilities.
Once a crew is trained on a specific product, whether it’s roofing, siding, windows, or whatever, then that’s what they do day in and day out.
Our roofers don’t do siding, and our windows guys don’t install gutter-guards. They stick to what they know and, over time, become expert craftsmen in their particular field.
And boy, has it paid off!
Our crews are now, hands down, the best in the business. Through their skill, we have gained Master Elite status with GAF Roofing Products and feel comfortable giving a TRUE Lifetime Workmanship Guarantee on everything we do.
And when crews feel respected, they work hard to keep that trust. They sweat every last detail and can’t abide even the tiniest deviation from the manufacturer’s guidelines.
In short, our policies have turned a normally transient workforce into a bonafide team of craftsmen who care every bit as much as we do about the quality of their work.
Respect is nice, but installers have bills to pay and families to support, which is part and parcel of the whole nomadic culture in the installation world.
Sure, we spend heavily on giving them the training they need to become the type of installers we can rely on, but that doesn’t keep their heat on and their families housed and fed.
So, along with turning our crewmen into craftsmen, we pay them accordingly and do our best to keep them working 52 weeks a year. Plus, they know that we are paying them to honor procedure over speed.
Take window installers as an example. They are used to being paid based on how many windows they install, so the faster they work, the closer they get to a decent paycheck.
But that mentality makes for cutting corners and slap-dash installations, especially when the per window pay is crazy low. So we decided to pay our installers to slow down – slow way down.
We doubled their per window pay while emphasizing our expectation of detail-obsessed perfection for every installation. The result was more pay for our installers and excellent results for our customers.
High Expectations Are Infectious
We discovered long ago that if you pair high expectations with high wages and appropriate training, you get a stable workforce that always delivers and keeps your promises for you.
It’s such a simple equation, yet one that has been lost to the age of the always-replaceable and minimal-expectations worker.
We don’t mind being dependent on our worker’s expertise.
After all, we make sure that they have no incentive to leave. And if they do leave, they come back pretty quick after seeing how sloppy the work is on our competitor’s crews.
We simply train them too well for them to stomach working for anyone else, and we don’t mind spending the money to allow them to earn a good living.
The end result?
Happy and diligent workers and happy customers who are delighted with their work. And who could ever complain about that?
If you need exterior work done on your St. Louis area home and want it done by people who are happy to help, contact us at XteriorPRO / Window Depot USA of St. Louis for a free quote.