Over the years, Mark Scott, president of Mark IV Builders, has learned the key to growing his business is to empower his employees. They challenge each other yet share the same vision to succeed, creating an interdependent environment where employees push each other to improve in a culture that encourages cooperation.
That wasn’t always the case, admits Scott. A highly motivated entrepreneurial spirit with a strong personality, he started small and like many contractors, relied on himself alone to get the job done.
“As a group, remodelers fight authority, we’re independent and we’re usually smart people. But we have a superman mentality,” he says.
Growing the business meant passing along some of that responsibility and empowering employees to make decisions. One of those employees is production manager Andy Hannan. Hannan spent a number of years in the field, came up through the ranks and now manages the team of project managers.
“We give them as much responsibility as they’re willing to take,” says Hannan. Those project managers, as a result, are very self-motivated and willing to learn.
Mark IV supports its employees with a strong training program. All employees are encouraged to expand their knowledge as a way of improving job performance. Lead carpenters are encouraged to attend the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Certified Lead Carpenter class, paid for by the company. Mark IV has also contracted with Tim Fallor, author of The Lead Carpenter Handbook.
“Almost everyone who is offered continuing education takes it,” says Hannan. “We do a tremendous amount of training, and it’s worth it.”
One of Mark IV Builders’ best practices is its production board. Remodeling disrupts the lives of the clients, and this posted schedule is designed in part to ease that burden. Events are benchmarked across the course of the project to let all parties involved know the status of the job and whether or not it’s on time. It details when the roof will be sheathed, when the drywall will be hung and when the electrician will be stopping by.
The production board serves an internal purpose as well. All project managers know where each job stands, so in the event that one of the managers is sick, another can assume extra duties wherever possible. In this manner, the project managers work together to keep from getting off schedule.
“We try to stop it from happening,” Hannan says. “You’re going to have problems, but it’s how you deal with those problems that separates good companies from great.
MARK IV BUILDERS, INC.
Full-time employees: 17
Industry memberships: NARI
Annual design/build projects: 100 percent
Residential remodeling: 100 percent
Average annual revenue (including sales, overhead): $3 million