Creating a More Productive Crew

Productivity is at the heart of a successful home service business. Your operation can only be as successful as the people who work for you. Working with Dealers for over 25 years, I’ve found enhanced productivity comes from focusing on three main areas:
1) Motivation – this comes from a number of different means, but mainly it’s the atmosphere and culture your company provides your crew people. I’ve seen owners and crew chiefs who can get more out of their people by setting a pace on the job site, keeping the atmosphere upbeat and letting the guys know when they’re doing a good job. Other ways to motivate are also bonuses when a crew exceeds production goals for a time period, this could be money, lunch, or other material ways to show the crew you appreciate them.
2) Training – In working with the Dealers, I’ve noticed a distinct difference between when a crew is unmotivated and when they are not properly trained. A poorly motivated crew normally moves through the entire project in slow motion; a poorly trained but motivated crew will normally show signs of slowing down only during the phases of the project where they are not as sure due to the poor training. To combat this, you first need to understand where the training gaps exist. The easiest way to do this is to simply ask the crew or observe them in action. Most people want to do a good job and if they are unsure how to do this will tell you what they need to be better if asked.
3) Organization – This culprit is all too prevalent in the home services industry these days. Most businesses in this industry have to take their materials and equipment to the homeowner’s location. This leads to a challenge of insuring everything needed is in the trailer when the crew arrives for the project. When a crew has to go back to the warehouse to get missing materials or equipment, you not only have the downtime of the employee who is retrieving the materials, but many times you have the downtime of the entire crew to contend with since they cannot move any further on the project. Checklists of all items that could possibly be used on a particular project is one of the best ways to address this issue. If a crew shows up Monday morning and is preparing the trailer for a project they are starting that day, a checklist should be provided to insure they load everything possibly needed in order to avoid the dreaded downtime.
Working with your employees, motivating, training and keeping them organized will not only lead to higher productivity, but will also lead to better longevity with your crew and higher profits.