Avoiding Burnout: Tips for Home Improvement Business Owners

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Janet Mobley

Running a home improvement business can be incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with its own set of challenges that can lead to burnout. With long hours, demanding clients, and constant pressure from all sides — lead generation, production schedules, a tight labor market, and more — the stress can quickly build to a breaking point.

As the founder of FatCat Strategies, I’ve managed a small business for more than 20 years. I freely admit that I don’t know what it’s like to deal with weather delays, supply chain issues, and irrational homeowners. But, I’ve survived multiple recessions and grew through all of them. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that building good business systems, delegating tasks and empowering your staff is the path to stress reduction and profit.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I hope you find them helpful.

1. Delegate and empower your team.

If you started the business out of your home & truck, in the early days you probably did everything yourself. You estimated the jobs. You sold the jobs. You installed the jobs, and you collected the money.

As you grow, it can be tough to remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Trust your team by delegating tasks and empowering them to make decisions. Be prepared for them to make mistakes. Remember, that’s how you learned.

Think of some of the big players in the industry. Do the original owners still do everything themselves? No. Nor should you.

Start by outlining roles and responsibilities — even if it’s just notes on a yellow legal pad. Then, look at your current team. Start delegating, even if it’s small stuff. Before you know it, other people on your team will be doing things that you thought only you could do. If you’re lucky, they’ll be even better at it.

2. Recruit younger talent – train them up.

If you haven’t already noticed, some economists are calling Gen Z the “Tool Belt Generation“. How can you tap into this younger labor pool? Can you shift where and how you recruit? With training, these kids could be your next wave of project managers, in-home sales reps or production managers.

3. Automate and streamline processes.

I’m often surprised when I talk to contractors that don’t have basic systems — like a CRM — in place. These owners will even debate the necessity of such systems. That’s fine if you never want to grow.

But, without a CRM, you have no systemized way to follow up with homeowners who requested a quote 3, 6 or 12 months ago. Those old contacts can be great sources of repeat and referral business, when mined correctly.

Our largest, multi-location home improvement clients generate and respond to 600-900+ leads a month. There’s no way to manage that kind of sales and production volume without strong systems and automation.

Many CRMs are designed specifically for contractors and include both sales and project management features. Other systems like Renoworks offer photorealistic 3D renderings that can help you sell bigger, more profitable jobs. RenoWorks also integrates with most popular CRMs in the home improvement industry. For a free Renoworks demo, sign up here.

If you haven’t already, invest time and energy in a basic tech stack that works for your business. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It can grow and change as your business does. But, without systems and automation, the stress and responsibility to manage everything will always fall on your shoulders.

4. Monitor financial health closely.

Keep a close eye on your business’s financial health. Regularly review your financial statements and ensure that you have a solid understanding of your cash flow, expenses, and profitability. Financial stability reduces stress and allows you to make informed decisions about investments and growth.

Burnout is a real threat in the home improvement industry. Every day can bring a new crisis to solve. If you can shift your focus to delegation, automation, and financial health, you can avoid burnout and keep your passion for your work alive.

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