Schedule it

We had a visitor on a recent Remodelers Circle mastermind call.

The bottom right corner is Justin Shipp’s little daughter.

Two reasons I took this screenshot:

1. Wanted to capture, arguably, the cutest moment in Remodelers Circle history.

2. To remind you (and me) that time flies by! Let this be a quick reminder to schedule special time with your kids and important people in your life. SCHEDULE it. Mark off your calendar. Make a plan and execute it.

If you aren’t proactive with scheduling it – it’s MUCH more likely to not happen.

Hope this is a helpful thought/reminder!

What’s Your Backlog Stomach?

This is a question that Dennis Gehman asked that I answered live on The Remodelers Show – see the written answer below – hear me answer the question live here.

“How much backlog should we have before turning down small projects and only accepting projects that are $100,000 or more?” – Dennis

I know Dennis’s business and in normal times, that’s more the ideal project that he takes on – the bigger projects. With the pandemic, with COVID, with everything that is going on, he, like a lot of remodelers, has been a little bit more open to taking on some smaller projects. 

To answer Dennis’s question, I would say it depends on who I’m talking to. I know that some of my clients have more stomach for a shorter backlog than others. Some of my clients, if they don’t have 3+ months of backlog for their team of six people out on the field – they start to get nauseous! I have other clients that feel fine about having 5 weeks of work ahead of them.

The guy that needs 3+ months would have a very hard time understanding how the guy with 5 weeks of backlog is okay. So everyone has a little bit different stomach for how big of a backlog they want.

If you schedule out too far it can become a little bit of a sales problem where some people might not want to wait that long. There’s a lot of different factors in play here. 

Dennis, my biggest thought for you is this: If a previous client approaches you about a small project, we are going to be much more open to taking on smaller projects and little things for them. We want to continue to enhance and develop that relationship and trust that we have with our previous clients. But if it’s a small project for someone we’ve never worked with before, and we’ve got a really strong backlog (which as we said means different things for different people), we might turn that down.

So my answer is that I want to know how many irons in the fire you have out there. If you’ve got 6 things under design and development that you are feeling really good about and you’ve got two and a half months of backlog, and you think you are going to get from two and a half to four months of backlog in a hurry, my advice is different than if you said, “You know what, we’ve got two and a half months of backlog but I don’t have a lot in the hopper.” In that case, I might say to continue to push on those small projects.

So, it depends on multiple factors, but those are some things to think through. I hope that helps!

The other thing I would encourage you to do is to really get clear with this month, next month, and the following month. We have a spreadsheet that helps you calculate your backlog. If you want a copy of that email Bailey ( and ask her for it! 

Using this spreadsheet you can document all of your projects that are sold (not that you might sell) and how many labor hours you are expecting for each of those different projects. In the spreadsheet it’s got a formula that says, “Okay, based on the number of hours that you have sold and that are still remaining, and based on the number of guys you have out on your field, here’s how many weeks and months that you have as far as backlog goes.” 

When you have that and you’re clear on the amount of backlog you have, that helps you make a decision about which projects to take. 

When you’re unclear with that and you are just operating off of how you feel, not facts, then it’s a little riskier to turn things down. But once you have the facts about your backlog, then you can make clearer and better decisions. 

If you want a copy of the backlog spreadsheet, Email Bailey at and ask for the spreadsheet for the project backlog and we’ll send that over to you. 

Raise your mark-up 1% today!

I’ve been sharing some thoughts over in the Remodelers Community Facebook Group about ways to strengthen your business.

Here they are – I hope they’re helpful!

  1. Raise your mark-up 1% today! – You’ll still sell the job & it will lead to $1000’s of additional Gross Profit $’s this year. DO IT!
  2. During the sales process, always schedule your next meeting before you end the current meeting. Self-imposed deadlines!
  3. If you’re not doing it already, start charging for Design & Project Development. It’s a valuable SERVICE you’re offering!
  4. How you finish the job is more important than how you start it. Work hard to finish strong!
  5. Your previous clients are your most valuable marketing asset. Do you have a plan to stay in touch with them consistently?
  6. IF (that’s a big if) you’re not able to present your proposal in-person AT LEAST present it via Zoom. Emailing lowers close rate.
  7. Tell prospects your story and why you love what you do. Tell them about your team – how great they are. Build know, like, & trust!
  8. Get your step-by-step remodeling process in WRITING and practice presenting it to prospects. It’s really key!
  9. Be excited about their project! When you talk to a homeowner and you’re excited, that excitement is contagious.

Which one resonates the most with you? Email me at and let me know!

P.S. – At 12:00PM EST – we’ll do Day 11 of The Remodelers Show! Visit for more information on how to join in LIVE!

P.P.S. Have you checked out Remodelers AutoPilot yet? Try it for $1 – it will help you generate more repeat and referral work.

10 things I learned while fixing a fishing pole at a sheep farm in Elk Creek, Virginia this morning

My family and I are at a house on a sheep farm in Elk Creek, Virginia this week. A little time away from home.

We’ve been here for a couple of days now and this morning my wife (Sarah) and one of our kids (Calvin) went to the pond around the bend, past the creek, and down the meadow (sorry for the extra description, I feel like I have to write a little poetically because we’re on a beautiful farm with hills and meadows.)

Here’s what I learned while fixing a fishing pole:

1. I’m talking about the fishing poles where you can see the string (a ‘spinning reel’ I think they call it.) They’ve become more popular over the last decade and they’ve been nothing but frustrating to me. I don’t know how they work, can’t seem to fix them, and they elevate my blood pressure. This morning one of the poles got all twisted up and I became frustrated.

2. I huffed and puffed and just when I was close to tossing it down and just moving on with the one remaining working pole, I took a breath, slowed down, and DECIDED I was going to figure out how to fix it. Sometimes you have to take a breath and, more importantly, DECIDE that you’re going to work to fix the problem. We can control our attitudes way more than we realize.

3. I had my wife and one of my son’s watching me. That was a bit of a driver for me to step up and figure it out. Not wanting to disappoint those close to you can be a big driver!

4. I wished Phillip (the owner of the 450-acre sheep farm) or one of his farmhands would have driven by while I was struggling with it because I would have asked them for some help. Think about that in your life or in your business – are you to the point that you’re ready to look outside yourself and get help? A quick 5-minute lesson from Phillip would have made the whole thing easier. He didn’t drive by, so I just keep messing with it. By all means, keep messing with things – keep working to improve your situation, but don’t be shy about getting some outside help and coaching. It can lower the pain, frustration, and speed up the improvement and fixing of the problem.

5. Instead of trying to untangle the string, I cut the string, cleared the tangled knots, and started with a fresh string. Keep that in mind as you work to improve things in life/business – sometimes it’s good to start fresh instead of trying to fix something clunky and broken.

6. Before I started trying to dive in and FIX – I stepped back, looked, and examined. Sometimes it’s better to look and study before just diving in. Maybe something like the phrase ‘measure twice, cut once?’

7. I realized my first attempt was wrong and before I got too far, I went back and fixed it. This only happened because I walked over to Sarah and Calvin and looked closely at the working pole. That’s when I realized the string needed to go UNDER and out vs. over and out. Seeing that other example and gaining that bit of knowledge went a long way. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge and/or seeing how it works from someone else can be a huge key to moving you forward.

8. I have knowledge now that I didn’t have before. I have more confidence. I know how to fix it if things go wrong again. That’s powerful. In business, we can go years and years and years without stopping to learn and gain knowledge. Push through frustration and work to gain new insight – it will help you for the rest of your career/life.

9. I’d say the biggest thing that stands out in this little story to me is the part where I stopped whining and made the decision I was going to figure it out. We can change our attitude and turn things around – don’t forget that!

10. What is an area of your business you keep ignoring and/or that isn’t clear to you? Understanding financials? Reading your P&L? How to sell design and project development? How to manage your team in a better way? How to improve your marketing to generate better leads? Pick something, stop whining that it’s too hard (like me with the fishing pole!), and get to work on gaining new knowledge/training.

Anything stand out for you in this story? Please let me know!