In the last few months, the world has been completely upended by COVID-19. Construction and building material suppliers have been named “essential” businesses in many states, but the designation continues to evolve in both definition and implementation. The NAHB has an interactive map with statewide stay-at-home orders and construction exemptions to those orders, but contact your local HBA or regulatory offices for up-to-date or more detailed information. While uncertainties about the future of the building industry loom, there are a number of proactive measures you can take in the interim to help your business during this trying time.
LP Building Solutions reached out to some of our most trusted building partners to learn more about how we can all work to get through this crisis.
Learn from the Experience and Improve Your Long-term Business
“I think in a time like this, all you can do is the best job you can for your clients and hope that this is resolved soon enough to not make major changes to the way we all do business,” said Kyle Stumpenhorst, Owner of Rural Renovators in Dixon, Illinois. “Hopefully it makes us stronger and smarter when it comes to running our business and keeping cash on hand, not overhead and debt.”
Now is a great time to dive into your business model, focusing on your financial plan and working to build your social media presence. “Slow times are a great opportunity to streamline your business,” said Austin, Texas–based Jordan Smith of Jordan Smith Builds. “If you have extra time in the office over the next few weeks, work on your business. Write down and review your procedures, best practices, objectives and key results. It’s a great time to work on your business instead of just working in your business.”
For some, this may mean you need to look at bringing in outside help. “Too many business owners in our industry are spread thin and trying to work in the business as much as they work on the business,” said Kyle Miller of Minnesota’s All-Around Construction. “Prepare to hire some qualified help so you can work on growing and scaling your business more, instead of working so much in the daily operations.”
Use any downtime to educate yourself on high-performance products that can enhance your installation processes and overall build. Look to manufacturers that offer premium building solutions designed to seamlessly integrate with one another on the jobsite. Consider using offerings from the LP Structural Solutions portfolio, like LP WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier on the exterior of your next project. LP WeatherLogic panels install just like regular sheathing for potential labor savings while keeping your jobsite cleaner and more professional. Additionally, you can help your clients save money in the long term by installing LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier, which can reduce attic temperatures by up to 30o F, lowering their home cooling costs long term.
Consider Changes to Client Communication During Coronavirus
Focusing on digital skills is another great tactic to brush up on. Being able to communicate with your clients through video chats, screen sharing, and other virtual methods adds a human element to socially distanced business practices. As an additional tool for your digital toolbox, check out the LP® SmartSide® Home Visualizer. With the home visualizer tool, you can choose your clients’ home style or upload a photo of their house to show them just how LP SmartSide Trim & Siding will look on their project.
Here are some digital communication tools to consider:
Financial Implications and Steps to Consider
An additional step to take is speaking with a financial advisor or qualified business analyst about the future of your business. While you know your own company better than anyone else, getting an outsider's perspective on financial and larger business impact decisions can help you think about the big picture rather than focusing on the day to day.
Seek financial counsel if you are considering or currently have a small business or construction loan. The U.S. Small Business Administration has resources for small business guidance and loans.
Stay current on how the construction industry is impacted by and responding to COVID-19 with industry-leading updates:
As you think further down the road, it’s important to consider the economic implications of COVID-19 on your clients’ building needs. Instead of focusing on larger renovation projects, many homeowners will focus on smaller projects that are less stressful on the bank. “I will be transitioning my business from full re-sides to siding repairs and screen porch enclosure systems,” said Brent Taylor of O.C. Taylor in Raleigh, North Carolina. “This will hopefully allow my company to keep busy and most importantly retain quality workers.”
Remember to Care for Yourself
Finally, and most importantly, "Take the extra time you have now, while business is a little slower, and invest it into your family and other relationships that may have taken a backseat to you running the business," said Miller. The impacts of COVID-19 are and will continue to be far reaching for the future. While focusing on the immediate short-term needs of your business is important, looking at the long-term plan for your business can help you remain competitive moving forward.
January and February typically usher in the season's coldest temperatures, bringing the need to use building materials that can withstand frigid temperatures with them. However, it's often the freeze/thaw cycle--cold days followed by quick warm-ups--that can cause significant damage to a home's siding. So, what is the best siding for cold climates to combat this?Continue Reading
With temperatures dropping, insulation and protecting new construction against the elements are top of mind. Of course, builders must consider how insulated wall sheathing can help meet code requirements and contribute to the overall performance of the building envelope. However, they must also carefully consider potential moisture problems both during and after the build and the potential impacts of freeze/thaw cycles. With the season of potential hard freezes followed by fast warm-ups upon us, let's explore methods for choosing the best house sheathing for cold climates.
With housing demand at an all-time high, builders do not have the ability to halt home construction during the winter months. Builders can work safely year round, even building houses during winter with planning and preparation. Advanced products and installation methods allow work to be performed during wet and very cold temperatures, but builders also need to consider winter safety for construction workers.
Engineered wood siding has long been considered a trustworthy exterior product for single-family homes, but it is often overlooked for multifamily and commercial construction. LP® SmartSide® products are versatile enough for a range of builds beyond traditional single-family homes. Take a look at the homes featured in Madison Parade of Homes for siding inspiration and to see how LP SmartSide Trim & Siding might suit your building needs.