Five Star Contractors, Inc.

by Emily Blackburn

Michal Zelubowski

Malvern, PA
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100%
GQ 2020 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2020: 32
Type of Firm: Design/Build, Full-service Remodeler, Home improvement/Replacement
CEO: Michal Zelubowski

1. Demand for services is stronger than ever. Supply delays are widespread. Building product prices are rising. Please name the concrete steps you take to keep customers satisfied as timelines and prices are fluctuating?

In order to maintain scheduling expectations, we secure commitments as early as possible so that we can lock in pricing with suppliers. We set realistic expectations from the first meeting if the scope involves products with longer lead times. More importantly, we connect weekly with our top suppliers to gauge current lead times and price increases. This is done so that we can minimize surprises with our procurement process.

STEP 1: Set preliminary budget before first meeting
STEP 2: Refine scope of work and propose solution
STEP 3: Lock in commitment, and begin design phase to finalize selections
STEP 4: Make customer aware of all possible optional add-ons so that we can stay ahead of lead times
STEP 5: Deliver on promises made

2. A good remodeling or home improvement firm knows the limits of its capabilities to take on additional work. What do/would you communicate to clients when you cannot handle their job and must decline their inquiry?

The most important aspect of residential construction management in 2021 is to be realistic and not try to sell a project based on unrealistic scenarios. Due to our unmatched reputation, our services are in high demand and future clients are anxious to get on our calendar. Unless there is an immediate need for services due to uninhabitable conditions, we space out each project to allow for proper planning, design, prep and procurement.

For our current crew setup, we start 1 new project each week, and we stick to this religiously. We let each prospective client know ahead of time that we will not rush their project just to get them started. We ask for a small commitment down payment, and then set realistic milestone dates for pre-construction prep, design and product selections.

The key is to run a stable company that is not dependent on quick sales or cashflow. As with most things in life, consistency is everything. Our mission statement was firmly in tact prior to the Pandemic, which has allowed us to remain consistent and productive.

3. During busy times like these, operational adjustments are needed in order to take on more work, often with the same level of staffing. What steps have you taken to ensure a quality experience despite the added workloads for your team?

In order to get more done with less, you must either add more resources, or find ways to get more out of what you have. For the latter, the key is to avoid resource burnout. The solution is automation and delegation. Utilizing technology and external resources has enabled us to maintain our staff and crews, all while improving productivity/output. Pushing your staff to their full potential can be a great thing, but long-term overworking can lead to burnout. Getting more efficient with surrounding resources is necessary to survive and thrive.

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