Episode 109

On this episode, the fifth episode of “The Building Code” COVID-19 series, Paul is chatting with Brett Lott of Brett Lott Homes in Kennewick, Wash., and Dave Leff of Leff Construction in Sebastopol, Calif., to talk about their experience with managing their businesses amid the pandemic in the West region of the United States.

Listen to the full episode to hear more about what they’ve learned and how they’ve adjusted as they look back at the challenges of 2020.

LOOKING BACK, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM GOING THROUGH THE UNKNOWNS OF THE PANDEMIC?

“I think one of the things we’ve learned through this whole process is the ability to adapt and change quickly. So, literally, one week it’s one thing, and we’ve got some changes to make, and we’ve got to have different things on the job site. It could be a couple weeks later and something else is going to be a littler bit different, so we’ve just really had to roll with the punches and adjust to the changes that come to be able to have everyone going and working. We’re waiting on things this very next week that’s going to possibly change what we do, so we just never know what that’s going to be.” – Brett Lott

“What we really learned from COVID-19 just reinforced something that I always knew and talked about. And that is that cash is king. We were fortunate and we’ve been around long enough that we built up enough of a working capital that it allowed us to survive through the really tough times. Whenever possible, keeping six months of overhead in cash allows you to get through these kinds of things. So, that’s one of the lessons that I got out of COVID-19.” – Dave Leff

HAVE YOU HAD TO ADJUST YOUR INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AND HOW HAS BUILDERTREND HELPED?

“We’re all really good communicators. And so, we’ve just had to sit down and say, okay, here’s the list of the rules that we’ve got to go by. And then we just need to adjust, so whatever we’re doing on the job sites or in the office. For us, I think a big part of it is that we’ve just had to turn a lot of things to virtual. So, anytime a client says, hey, we need to talk about something, it’s going to be a virtual meeting. I will say, one of the great pluses of Buildertrend is that it has allowed us to have a set schedule, so we line the jobs out on a schedule, and we are fanatical about keeping that schedule in Buildertrend accurate. So, anytime a homeowner or subcontractor looks at they’re going, okay, I believe that schedule. By doing that we’re able to keep the job sites specific to the subcontractor that needs to be there, so there’s not three subs showing up one day and there’s a whole bunch of people on the job site. It allows the subcontractors to be in more control of their social distancing and following the rules for their company.” – Brett Lott

“We are pretty much doing all of our design work and presentation work to clients virtually. Buildertrend has been a great resource for us just because we’ve started doing all of our client selections or material, unfinished selections via Buildertrend. It’s given us an organized vehicle to stay in touch with our clients. To communicate through Buildertrend, we use the scheduling module a lot. Anything that we can do that makes the virtual communication work better is something that we treasure.” – Dave Leff

LINKS AND MORE

Check out these builders on their websites and social:

Brett Lott Homes

Leff Construction

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