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Common Obstacles to the Lead Carpenter Concept

Three arguments come up most commonly to prevent remodeling contractors from taking the first step toward employing lead carpenters, but these obstacles are more perceived than actual.

1. The first question is, "What is the customer going to say when I only put one person on the job?" The answer is of course, that on the very first sales call when you pull out the presentation book, it features pictures and biographical sketches of the lead carpenters. Then you describe in detail the responsibility, presence and service customers can expect from a lead carpenter. Presented in this way, customers are delighted.

2. The second argument is always, "If you only put one man on the job, it's going to take too long." Let me tell you one of my favorite stories. Some years ago, a home builder put three men in to trim out a house and it took them 2 weeks. He took one man off, put two men in to trim out the next house, and it took them two weeks. Then he took the second person off and put one man to trim out a third house -- it took him 2 weeks. When I told that story at a HomeTech seminar, a contractor from Cleveland raised his hand and said, "You know, Walt, that's interesting -- in 1973 my partner and I used to trim out houses in Cleveland and it usually took us two weeks. One month, my partner got sick and I had to do it by myself and when I did, it took a week".

Also, understand that because the lead carpenter is on the job all the time, something is done every day and customers can see progress.

3. The third complaint is, "How are we ever going to find lead carpenters to do this? They are supermen!" There are literally thousands of small contractors working for themselves 40 hours a week on the job, going out at night to sell at a 20% mark-up, doing paperwork on the weekends, and starving. Approached properly, they would be delighted to work as lead carpenters for companies that know how to market and sell their product and handle administration.