Episode 108

On this episode of “The Building Code,” the fourth episode of our COVID-19 series, Paul is joined by Matt Kowalske of Kowalske Kitchen & Bath in Delafield, Wis., and Dana Webb of Ashlar Homes in Blue Springs, Mo., to talk about their experience with managing their businesses amid the pandemic in the Midwest region of the United States.

Listen to the full episode to hear more about their company stories and how they’re maintaining internal processes and sub relationships during COVID-19.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH SUBS, ESPECIALLY DURING TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY?

“I don’t think there’s enough conversation around how important those sub relationships are. Especially in times like this. A lot of people tend to beat up on the subs a little bit, right? And try and get better pricing. To us, it’s important that their businesses are profitable and that we can help them succeed, too. To get these projects done on time and with the quality we expect.” – Matt Kowalske

HOW HAVE YOU MAINTAINED INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION? ARE THERE ANY PROCESS CHANGES THAT YOU’LL MAINTAIN GOING FORWARD?

“I’m really lucky with the team I have. They were all working from home, and I think the showroom was shut down for four to six weeks. And it was clear to me that they were still going to get the work done, and I wasn’t going to have to manage tasks. I was still able to just manage the outcomes. Zoom was a big part of it. Getting digital contracts signed through Buildertrend has been a huge help. And we’re still adapting and learning on all those platforms and how they’re going to help us.” – Matt Kowalske

“The municipalities that we work with, some of them were not ready for what happened, and they don’t do things digital. And we pretty much do everything in Buildertrend. Everything’s loaded in there, and we do as much as we can digital. So, that was a hurdle we had to overcome with them. Extra phone calls for finding our if our permits were ready because you couldn’t go into those city halls. We had to make extra phone calls for inspections because they were short of staff. We’re actually excited because most of them now are online.” – Dana Webb

“We would typically do our pre-construction meetings in our showroom attached to our construction office. So, people would come in there and pick out their selections. But just in the past few weeks, we’ve changed that to Zoom meetings. And that is a change that we’re going to keep forever. We’re going to do all of those that way. The reason is because it allows us to have the meeting recorded. And then during that time, we can actually show the homeowners documents, we can make changes on CAD and other programs right while that meeting is going on. So, it’s really good change.” – Dana Webb

LINKS AND MORE

Check out these builders on their websites and social:

Kowalske Kitchen & Bath

Ashlar Homes

Get signed up for IBSx, the 2021 virtual International Builders’ Show.

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