Episode #0037 Setting realistic expectations in the construction business with Rahul Faria

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson with fellow podcaster Rahul Faria. 

Rahul works in construction and has a clear passion for the craft. He started his podcast Build Our Future to better understand the changes the world of construction is making. He believes in understanding the past in order to create a better future. He also found that while in his podcast pursuits he fell in love with his job all over again. Sometimes in our lives, we can hit a rut in our careers and forget why we loved our job in the first place. This podcast has helped him reignite that love, by having meaningful discussions with others about various topics related to construction. 

As we navigate this new world, we all have had to adjust to new difficulties due to the pandemic, and sometimes relying upon realistic timelines and budgets is almost impossible. Many want discounts due to COVID, but he has to explain the added hardships that the job now encounters including safety measures, extensions, guidelines in place during COVID outbreaks, and more. 

Rahul reminds us that the client should always be given realistic expectations and an understanding of the buying decisions. For example, sometimes quality is better the more you pay.  In other cases, sometimes the price is high, but the quality is not. It is his job to explain to the client what their expectations of the products should be. This allows for clients to fully understand what their choices are and what their purchase means long term.

So, join Crystal and Rahul as they talk about podcasts, constructions, and realistic expectations. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and listen to Crystal on the Build Our Future Podcast.

How to reach Rahul:

Website – rahulfaria.com     I     LinkedIn: rahul-faria 

Twitter: @rahul_faria      I      Instagram: @rahulfaria 

Rahul Faria as guest on TPD episode Setting realistic expectations in the construction business
Recommended podcast:

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- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

So welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer I have a special guest with me today I have Rahul Faria and he is from One Oak Construction as well as Build Your Future podcast welcome Rahul.

0:17
Thank you Crystal great day, great to be here.

0:19
Oh, it’s so great that we finally managed to schedule us and just sort of make it happen because I know we talked about it and

0:24
as I know last year, it’s a better part of a year now right I

0:26
know, but life happens right quarantine and lockdowns happen.

0:31
That’s right, that’s right. Sometimes it feels busier during lockdown and quarantine then.

0:37
I totally agree. I just keep looking at my to do list going. Okay. Some of these are self imposed I probably could take some things off but then you also feel this pressure of, okay, we’ve got a little bit of downtime, now’s the perfect time to do it right so it was a double edged sword. So tell our listeners a little bit about your day job, and then your podcast. Yeah, yeah,

0:55
so I started up a construction company about March will be eight years now, called window construction as you mentioned, worked in the industry. I mean, full time since 2005 But, you know, I went to school for civil engineering and at Waterloo University of Waterloo and we had Co Op program there. And throughout my many Co Op turns working with engineers municipalities, the one field that I really enjoyed working in was construction, you know, I could see a 2d drawing and actually see it being built, you know, and it was it was, I was fascinated by that you know that lines on a sheet of paper. Now I mean now you can see it but some of the construction modeling software right Oh yeah 3d renderings Come on, but back then I mean, I mean it’s not that, you know that long ago but yeah 1617 years ago that stuff wasn’t necessarily the way it is now so now that come to fruition like physically and, you know, being able to walk in to a store that was built by the company and you know it was just, to me it was fascinating. Yeah, so when I graduated, I you know had a couple stops and learned the ropes and as most entrepreneurs do know, we tend to think that we could do it better so we start. So I started eight years ago and most entrepreneurs will know in any business you know you go, ups and downs and left’s and rights and sidesteps and restarts and refocused and replanting and re, you know that we went commodity, a lot of reuse right. But you know, with those reasons, there’s always like fundamental core beliefs that you have as a person, you try to, you know, you try to find team members that that believe in that same vision that you have, you know, because that’s, that’s the goal at the end of the day you know we, I always want to do something I love. So I try to get that same passion with the people that I have. Yeah, yes, there’s always the mundane stuff we got to do like paperwork. Yeah, so you know, you know, I’ve been doing that for eight years and as you know last year, I started to build our future podcasts as well and you know I’m more of a research person analytical person and so I was planning it probably eight months prior to that, like the idea was actually in 2019 in the summer, but we’re busy and so it was slowly like Kid where, what might do I need What software do I need, how do I want to break like that I like. That gives me confidence. Yeah and then the lockdown happened and I had already recorded a few episodes and I was like, You know what, now’s a good time it’s any and we’ve been, you know, talking to people from all over the world and it’s, it’s eye opening some of the construction methodologies and you know initially it came out, it started as more of a conceptual kind of show where we talk about we talk to people and companies that have been pushing new concepts in the workplace that either gonna improve efficiencies or provide some value added service. Yeah, but as I started talking to people and hearing about what other people are doing, you know, it kind of evolved into, you know couriers, operations, sustainability ideas and concepts you know that were actually challenging our mind, you know I like to say thought leaders, shall I say, yeah, absolutely. And so I found it fascinating talking to these people and I’m a talker too so it came, came a little bit my wife likes to say, you know you’re gonna do this podcast, you got to let other people talk more than you do right so that was a little bit of an adjustment for me and it’s it’s been fantastic and you know I took a bit of a pause at the end of October, and back was getting was every week was too often for all the concepts and such. So, take a little bit of a pause and McKay, tried to refocus on okay. You know the many things in the podcast, we’ve talked about it but now it’s like a rat and never ending rabbit hole right, it really is. Yeah, Really I think for me the podcast is so phenomenal because I think it kind of reignited some of the passions for construction that kind of waiver wavered for me at times, you know, dealing with, you know some of the, I call them punch lists, other people might call them deficiency lists, you know, dealing with some of the trades and this you know sometimes you can really just dive into it fully and forget about family life, you know just other things. Oh yeah, absolutely, and I kind of was starting to lose some of that passion and with the podcast and hearing other people so passionate about what they’re doing and kind of just kind of just jump back into it right.

5:06
That’s great. I mean that’s good too. Yeah, cuz you do like, as you say there’s 24 hours in the day and you’ve got, you know, work that can consume 24 hours if you let it. But, yeah, you know, and then wanting to do in the podcast and I feel the same way when I start talking to people and because at times you go, you know the podcast it’s it’s something else right on top of all the other things, but once you get talking with somebody, you’re like okay no now I know why I’m, you know, I remember why I wanted to do this and it’s just great to have the conversations,

5:33
yeah, yeah. And part of the reason to is what I was finding the initial idea was, there’s so much technology out there, and I was really having a hard time trying to really figure out what kind of platforms work for me and my business, shall we say, No More often than not, most companies, they would set up like a one hour, an hour and a half like pitch brief, and you know you’re trying to find that time when you’re busy, is really challenging, trying to find that, you know, sometimes it’s hard finding 15 minutes in a day, when you’re really busy like driving around everywhere. So, you know, and I’ve been through so many different SaaS platforms, just trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. So, I thought it would be something really cool. You know that people driving, or just listening on their leisure time can can just listen to it and be like, You know what that actually works for you because coming from the industry it’s easy for me to ask more pointed questions for as relates to the industry. Yeah right. It’s stuff that you know I’ve had people from other general contracting firms telling me that, you know, the questions you ask them is what we would ask them, but now we can just listen to it and see, okay, yeah, this actually might work for us. Well you know what they’re not quite there yet, but we’ll keep it in mind, you know, we’ll keep updates and see So, so you’re getting that kind of feedback has been, you know, it kind of pushes you to be some more to write,

6:50
because you know that you’re giving value right your eyes right people are gaining the knowledge, they’re getting value from what it is that you’re doing and you’re not just another podcast out there, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s definitely a niche, you know podcast as is mine but the people that are in it, that niche or, like, find value in it. So tell me about how many people are in your company like what is what is this size because I was finding that, to the point of software. Yeah, you know I’ve researched stuff for as I was mentioning before we recorded my husband’s contractor and it’s like, you know, we’ve tried to look at different songs but some of them is just way too big, like way too, robust and really not so really not needed a lot of the stuff so what, tell me about the size of your.

7:28
So actually, right now it’s just me. Okay. Unfortunately your great COVID Yeah, it’s just been, you know, I know it’s been a struggle for a lot of people right, we went through, I think at a peak, we’ve had as many as like 1213 site and office staff, yeah, when we were doing residential as well. Yeah, then we kind of pared down to about five seven kind of thing depending on workload, but then you know when, when the pandemic hit and then we had the lockdowns last year, all of my work I shut down, you know, for like six, I think, six, seven months was completely shut down. I kept my guys on for like a month, month and a half and just suddenly so long you can do, there’s only so long you can do it right, unfortunately, so you know I had to make some really challenging decisions at the time. And then I think late late in the fall, we got back to you know some smaller jobs and stuff and you know I was going. It was a really tough decision whether I should hire people or should I not hire, you know, a few of my guys found full time jobs for a man which was really good for me like I gave them glowing references I mean, they were with me for a reason.

8:30
Yeah, exactly.

8:30
So you know, at least I’m grateful that they found found some spaces but you know it’s been it’s been, it’s been a challenge right I mean, we were just getting back, I think last week we started a project and then, you know, the new lockdown started I put up a V log that I’m trying to do now once a week as well about the shutdown and honestly like, it felt like such a gut punch you know I started getting excited to get back to work and re engaging with trades and you know, challenging my mind on issues and you know like that kind of stuff that we take for granted sometimes again right

9:05
so like dope sorry doors rocket can go away

9:07
yeah so I mean so that was a bit of a that was a bit of a struggle. You know, it’s kind of one of those, it’s hard, but we’re not the only ones in this position, so we try to lean with our friends I keep in touch with my subs, my clients, my consultants because you know as business owners and even as just regular people, you know, we have ideas and visions of budgeting and planning, and so on and so forth and when that doesn’t come through, it’s really hard to put stuff on hold for, I mean, you can probably tell to you for as a business owner, like you’re always looking at okay how do I market myself what do I do, how do you market the business, but the problem is during this pandemic like the way marketing is changing so much. How do you, you know, commit a certain dollar value to marketing and stuff and then, you know, all of a sudden like that’s not resonating. You know what I mean like it’s, it’s really hard because no one knows what the start or the finishes right now.

10:01
Absolutely and I think with you and I, being in a project based type of business, you know, there’s budget, you know, these companies or clients, whatever, you know, if it’s not in their budget. It’s not you, it’s just not in the budget because

10:14
of, you know, can be so many things,

10:17
yes so many circumstances that are that are unforeseeable uncontrollable. And yeah, like, it’s kind of one of those where you can plan all you want but right now, like we just don’t know any.

10:29
Yeah, I mean, I think on one of my V logs again I put in, you know, everyone’s always trying to get a deal right. And so but I think I’ve heard it so many times right now, I don’t know if you have it’s, you know, can I get a COVID discount, so like it’s, and you know, in all fairness, I understand the psychology behind that. Yeah, well, would they don’t understand is how much more it’s actually costing us to save has

10:53
anybody looked at the cost of lumber that has not gone down.

10:57
Yes. Forget the cost of materials, the cost of the additional health and safety, the cost of scheduling workforce. Yeah, you don’t I mean, yeah, approaching that was normally two months is now three months because you can’t quote unquote blow it up, you know what I mean, people have to be segmented off in different different segments Absolutely

11:16
yeah, if you can continue right I mean,

11:19
if you can continue right, so, but I think it goes back to, you know I think fundamentally what you’re about, what any company is about when individual is about I think it’s how you present. I guess any, any, any business that aligned businesses, how do you present your proposal, you know, are you looking to provide the client with, You know as much valuable information upfront, or are you looking to get the job work, because there are two completely different things. I can price to get work, no problem.

11:51
And that’s unfortunately what a lot of the stereotypes of the contractors are right, they are really really low balled and then as the project goes on, you know that it’s like oh well yeah I only quoted extra that even that you know and it’s just, just like in that’s where the distrust is I think a lot of the time with, with the profession,

12:09
but I don’t necessarily blame the contractors, I think both people are at fault right because I know when I give a detailed proposal I’ve got broken down by division, you know, unit costs of things that you know if the stuff that we got to provide or assembly, they’re still trying to figure it out, but they don’t look at that they just go to the bottom dollar. Right, and I’ve had many times that people have come back to me, clients have come back to me and say hey can you match this price and I say okay, send it over. I’ll take a look and literally it’s like an Email Proposal. Yeah, you know, and here I’ve got a typed out letter with, you know, a full like spreadsheet breakdowns, referring to the drawing numbers, you know, so I’ve gone through and then I’ve got lists of assumptions. Yes, you know, lists of identify prices and lists of alternate prices in case they want to attend, but my main price is what the designer or the architect has has specified, because I don’t deviate from that, there’s a reason for that right because the vision that needs to be met. Now, I can come up with alternatives, but I need like you as the designer or the designer on the project to sign off because it might be a slight shade different, but now the lighting might have to change as a result

13:18
variable

13:18
that. That’s right. So you know it’s not a problem, like I mean, it’s something I had to. With time kind of just accept that this is what I wanted and I’m not, I’m not going to be hitting at that I mean what do they say 20% is a good great winning projects like I’m not gonna hit at the 20%, but I’m okay with that because I want to make sure that upfront, I’m as honest as I can as open, because that also leads to a quicker job quicker payments quicker issues down the line, I’m not saying, I’ve done stuff perfectly, but the Loyalists progress not perfection. Right,

13:54
well, and less surprises right

13:56
surprises. That’s right, the

13:57
biggest thing right it’s transparency from the very beginning, you know, it’s the same when somebody says, Oh, you know we budgeted 20 grand for master bathroom, And you know I could say, Yeah, okay. That’s not gonna happen, like 20 grand is not going to cut it for what, what needs to be done. So yeah, I think it’s just being honest and upfront and managing expectations from the start, as opposed to, you know, kind of having that in that’s, that’s what I was saying about sort of the reputation was where, you know you’ve gone in because you’ve priced it so that you get the job, knowing full well that you haven’t priced it accurately and that there’s going to be additionals and then you lose it’ll

14:33
be additional, and that’s where you’re gonna make your money and another is that you look at all the soft costs involved to that people, especially on the residential side commercial side, obviously, the larger the company, the more they know about it. The smaller independent owners, they don’t know that what you know, because a contractor’s certificate of insurance is or what it actually does. They don’t understand WSI B, they don’t understand that you’re, Like residential, like no one really provides WSI B to their, you know, to the clients when they’re building. No but in commercial it’s mandatory no one pulls insurance and residential, right, but those are all costs that add up with time and it’s just like on the insurance. Yeah, you know, when you actually need it, you pray that you need.

15:18
Right, yeah, it’s only, it’s only there or what was the terminology something like it’s only good when you need it, type of thing or Yeah, yeah.

15:25
So I mean, you know if that’s the exact same thing has happened a few times that we lost a project to a client and then a week before the opening, they’re like, oh the landlord needed insurance and our master business license they do this so a member of some association and me like do you have and I was like Yeah, can you send it to me it’s like yep so here you go. Okay. Can you do the job and I was like, well I gotta let you know because obviously I was looking at other after other projects right well yeah because yeah, the low contractor didn’t have like they might have had a $2 million insurance not five, right, like, like little things like that like people kind of cut corners on and stuff right so I mean it’s unfortunate, but I think there’s got to be some place that can educate clients more because, you know, I think that they don’t know,

16:07
I always say that it’s, they don’t know what they don’t know. Yeah, yeah, and a lot of it’s not ignorance, it’s not. It’s just they don’t know like if they haven’t been through the situation or, you know, or somebody hasn’t done a renovation in a while, or, you know like they just, sometimes they really just don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know the cause, so they don’t understand the process and why things need to be done in a certain way and, yeah,

16:30
so it’s a 100% with even even little things like, Oh, well, why are you charging me a markup on materials like when I was doing residential, and I was like, Well, do I have to give you specs, and then, like when a designer wasn’t involved like do I have to give you specs for you to approve and how many rounds is that going to be. Then, when we have to buy it, like, do I have to come up with the square footage, do I have to buy it, do I have to pick it up.

16:55
Right. You don’t have somebody do your accounting in your book,

16:58
do I have to offload it. Do I like what I look at all the steps involved just to get one piece of material. Yeah, right. And, you know, and then I asked him that I was like, listen, like you can do it if you want to just bring it on site, and I’ll do when I first started, that’s what I did you bring it on set, I’ll do it. No problem, like no no it’s easier going through yours like the price. Yeah that’s right, right, right this way or this way or this way, one or the other. Yeah,

17:22
yeah, yeah and it’s better, you know, knowing from, from experience is better than the contractor does it because again the clients would be like, Oh, I didn’t realize you needed the Ruffins or, you know, because you’re just at framing I didn’t think you needed the plumbing yet you’re like the that now, you know like, exactly, again, they don’t know what they don’t know.

17:40
Right, so don’t know what they don’t know. That’s right, that’s right completely agree.

17:43
Who are your what like I know you said that you were, I guess you’re doing more commercial work now,

17:47
what Yeah,

17:48
who are your typical clients I know you’ve done some restaurants. Yeah,

17:51
I mean, a couple years ago I think 2019 We kind of made the decision, I used to work with my wife, you know, so we decided not to work together anymore. No, only because we had our first child, a few years ago and, you know, we kind of said, You know what, in the interest of like having a family life. Yeah, let’s try and separate something plus we were both so that sometimes we forget, we talked about earlier just spend time with each other, but we kind of decided that, you know, commercial was the way to go, it’s actually more my passion, shall we say, on the commercial side, as our IP I, I feel like most commercial clients sometimes like the big world but more chances, and I also like the structure around

18:31
commercial. Yeah,

18:32
there’s a little bit more structure in the drawings, a little bit more structure in the process to which I quite enjoy.

18:37
And to be honest there’s less, I think, emotions around the finances

18:42
100% Obviously with the independent businesses there are some emotions, but they can still look at things at the lens of a business right yeah like money in money out if I add this. Now, when will I be able to recoup that money right as from a business person. Yeah, exactly. They can, they can look at things more tangibly, and so you know is this actually a value add, or is it like this is a fun thing to have, which we do in our, in our residential lives. So there’s so many times, right, yeah, yeah so so we switch over to commercial completely our predominant like area is restaurants as you mentioned that do a lot of quick serve restaurants Domino’s that sort of stuff. We’ve done a lot of red lobsters, even though they’re not building new, you know, we get a lot of facility management for them, like maintenance, I should say, Yeah, we also did a lot of universal washroom additions they needed the new code compliant washrooms, which is challenging to say the least, because obviously I want to keep the restaurants open and you know to Washington still always have to be open and then trying to figure out how we shouldn’t cut seating as well.

19:48
Exactly where they try a new generating party,

19:51
and then still get your pop up like it’s been you know so having a good team, we’ve had some really good teams on that right from, you know, the, the designer, the interior designer to the clients like they were, you know, it was pretty fantastic and, you know, we’ve been doing sit down restaurants and, but that that’s probably I would say 70 80%, we’ve done a few offices to not not quite as many but we’ve done another few offices and I kind of liked them too because they’re more design, build, which, which is which is a little more fun you can give options and styles and stuff. And then we’ve done a couple of retail retail spaces, which is always challenging trying to work in a shopping mall at times you know there’s always noise restrictions and, yeah, you know, but, you know, construction right back if you’re either building new or you’re renovating right one or the other. Yes, your options.

20:37
Yeah, and I guess yeah retail for sure would have been more of a challenge because you know, you can’t be disrupting business. So you’re going in after hours and yeah,

20:44
that’s right. And so, yeah, it’s not as easy because, you know, people always think that, oh you know I’m just laying tile, it’s not gonna be noisy I’m like yeah but then you have to cut the tile at some point,

20:54
I was gonna say what you

20:55
want to cut that one tile

20:59
noise the dust the

21:01
yep completely, completely. Yeah, it’s not.

21:03
No it’s not, not an easy one for sure and I can imagine even just staffing like that from a trade standpoint, of trying to get those coming in after hours and non regular and

21:14
yeah that’s a bit of a challenge. Yeah, I mean you know the commercial side, I said I like the process of things but you know there’s certain ambiguous notes and some of the specification manuals that that drives me up the wall, you know, it’s like, you can, you know you can work in doing daytime hours, but if someone complains, you got to stop, like how do you, you know what I mean like how do you price something like it’s but it but that’s been the case for a while and we kind of we kind of have figured out a happy medium with that I feel just generally with contractors.

21:41
Yeah, yeah, I

21:42
think you go into knowing production, you know, the chances are we are going after work after hours, and if we don’t, it’s a bonus kind of a bonus for us you

21:49
got completely.

21:51
Exactly.

21:51
So you mentioned that you developed a simple yet unique approach to projects, can you expand you know expand.

21:57
I mean, that that’s also kind of evolved with time shall we say, and I really started focusing on when I was doing residential and trademark and all of this stuff and it was essentially was like a simple five step process. Oh really, that I call the stress free revenue solution. Okay, which is basically, it was just meant to serve as a guide clients prospective clients to help them understand the process that like the full gambit of a construction project right so you know and I created all these fun names for each one so they easy to remember, you know, it was, you know, started out with the design advantage, right. Most times, like they love to send Pinterest photos through contractor thinking they can build it from Pinterest photos were not geared that way. Generally I’m not saying no, I’m not saying not all contractors of use some do have that flair, you know, I mean that they can kind of see something and build it, but most contractors, you know, they don’t know putting two swatches together, how they like how what the end result is going to be right. They’re good at what they do kind of thing, right. So, basically the design advantage, a little blurb about how important you know that, that portion is the second one was called the budget Maximizer which is essentially, you know, they might have their budget, but you know we all love marble floors and we all love the you know the high end clawfoot tub and stuff, but once they start seeing those prices, they’re like you know what maybe we don’t need the Lambo, maybe I need you know something. And so, but that was really just created because what I found is, you know, we all want the nice things right, but what we want to do is kind of show them that there are alternatives, but we also have to understand how brutal a product might be, you know, how often they might have to change it, what’s the customer service like with, with a certain product you might be paying a little bit more, but you know how long is it actually going to last, right like little things like that. Oh

23:49
yeah, like the marble floor, no.

23:52
That’s what I mean right so you know just going, because there are pros and cons to every product right so just going through that to see what fits with their budget. What do they want to sacrifice on whatever they want to splurge on, that’s, that’s the best way to go. Yeah, I remember because now that I’m not in residential it’s been it’s been a little while. Yes, a budget Maximizer then we had the rental process, which is obviously we talked about weekly meetings photos every week. Construction status that sort of stuff. Yeah, then it was the punch list I referred to earlier. Much of the soul, you know, so they know at the end of the project I tell them all the time you know we’re humans doing the job 3d printing is not there yet. You know for stuff like this. So you know humans doing the job and, you know, I always tell them to take two weeks to use it first before we come back in to fix anything because they’ll notice things you know sometimes because of what you’re looking at a wall, you might not notice a little bit, or you might not notice a certain grout line has not been full, it happens. So we still come up with this we’ll fix it, we’ll do it. And the last one was called the lasting experience, which is essentially a warranty system, right, like we give them a two we gave them a two year warranty, just so they know that we’re here to make sure it lasts, and people will last for longer and we said unfortunately we can’t do longer because it all depends on where until even two years of stretching it is pretty

25:06
generous Yeah,

25:06
yeah we, I mean, like I said we an idea is we don’t have to go back, we do it right the first time, that’s that’s the whole idea. Yeah, but that kind of evolved into like the fundamental of that whole thing was, what I call our three C’s, which is clarity, collaboration, and craftsmanship I’ve kind of referred to it, right throughout this conversation right. Yeah, that’s really the crux of the whole company crux of who I am right, I try to be as clear as I can as transparent through the process through the project so just scheduling through everything, collaboration, I think people talk about it a lot but what I’ve noticed is that it’s really important to be able to communicate not just with your trades but where your client and you know consultant team and openly and honestly because once you figure out what the shared vision is forever for each party. You can collaborate so much easier to figure out, even lower in cost value engineering you know different products might be a little bit more expensive but it’ll last time so much longer and having just an understanding that shared vision is, is I think key in order to collaborate properly, right,

26:13
for sure. I always say with any types of these projects, you know, I, coming from the design perspective, and you from the construction, I mean, my vision, and to being able to then say okay, I want to do it like this, is it going to work the way that I think it’s going to work, is there a better way to do it, how like, it’s all that kind of stuff because you’re the expert in that area I just have an idea but I don’t I’m not the person that’s on site and understands, you know some of the engineering and materials or so, as designers we know a little bit about a whole bunch of things, and we don’t have to go to the people that are the experts in that

26:48
and let someone for my role as a construction manager or general contractor we know how all the pieces fit together. We know generally what the code is and what’s right and what’s wrong. We rely on some of our trades to ensure that not just if it’s possible. Yeah, but if it’s gonna last as well if it’s the right way of doing it because we can always just put peel and stick it off. But is that the right way, what if in five seven years they wanted to rebrand, you know, is there a way we can fasten it differently, so that now we don’t have to rip out the drywall and you don’t I mean like these conversations are important, especially in the commercial space when you know you kind of want to redo things every now and then to refresh the look refresh the feel of everything right. And the last one craftsmanship, I mean that. I think that goes without saying we aim to try and not cut any corners, we all know drawings don’t have every single detail there so people can get pretty creative at times. So, you know, we really tried to showcase a proper finish, you know, a showcase, you know, how we end up doing it with our team, right from the initial shop drying process right through the quality control and fixing up the punch list items, because you know the quality isn’t there, it’s kind of done.

28:03
Well, there’s both sides of it your your reputation, obviously, is in there for, you know, future business, whatever, but then also the fact that, who are they coming back to you when things do go wrong. So you need to, I mean, I just, you got to do it right from the beginning, because, you know, it’s just so it’s so obviously important why you have to do that. That’s right,

28:23
completely, completely agree. Yeah, so, so it kind of, kind of gone back to that initially the whole company was started on that, that those three concepts that I didn’t, I didn’t really formulate at the time it was just stuff that I always did. Yes, and then it kind of evolved with time into like just how do I relay this message that simple and easy for clients and stuff, and everybody to understand.

28:46
Yeah, yeah, and it’s true it’s a it’s, it’s something that you do, it’s an intangible, but then you’re like, I got to put it into some form of a word or some way to to express

28:56
it because everyone else, how do you separate yourself from another contract right it’s easiest question how do you separate yourself.

29:01
Yeah, yeah, what’s your differentiator. Well, you know,

29:05
there’s a million of you

29:06
guys out there and that’s right. Why would I trust my money with you. Exactly, exactly,

29:12
exactly. Yeah,

29:14
I get it, I get it, it’s and the ones that are good, continue to stay, you know, they never do have to really worry about business, it’s because their reputation, their quality there, you know, to me it’s all about integrity as well. And then, I’m on that point, how do you find business, how do you do market do you are you a lot of

29:33
referral based,

29:34
you know what, for the, for the longest time, we’re always referral based very fortunate to be referral based, but I found that can only grow to a certain point, and referral basis, but I always struggled with, you know, hiring a marketing company because lord knows I’ve spent so much money like on the website and updating and since it’s not my we’ve talked about areas of expertise yeah not my area of expertise. Every time I look at somebody new, they’re like, Oh, your last guy did all of this wrong and it’s so jaded right yeah I guess yeah you know. So what you really got to do so. I mean, you know they’re different things we’re trying, you know over the years we started doing videos called behind the space videos of my projects and get our clients involved and consultants involved to be like, Okay. What was the thought process was, you know, how’s the construction style and kind of put it out there so people can have like a simple idea and see the work that was done understand the process from other clients almost like, like recommendations but then talking about us so you can put a face to the name people can reach out to them so we’ve done that, a little bit. I’d be lying to say the podcast hasn’t helped as well in people reaching out because now they know they hear my voice a little bit more than, you know, hopefully they hear some of the passion that comes out of that, get to know you get to know me, right, get to know me a little bit so you know, little things like that, you know, one thing I hope is once work gets back I don’t lose some of the strain because aside from the marketing side, I do enjoy a lot.

30:59
Yeah. Yeah, no

31:01
it’s I think it’s

31:02
such a especially contracting is, I think, too. There’s so much trust in the referral part of it that, you know, just to, you know, when he says to look you up in the phone button a bit a bit more but do you know, a search a Google search on you know contractor near me or you know, I think it’s such a, you know, somebody’s got to know like and trust you to want to work with you and so that, oh, Jim sends you okay well I trust Jim and Jim trusts you so there’s that mutual me Jim and Jim

31:33
has done work so I can go see it. Yeah, yeah. And what the process was like right, I mean in the commercial world, I mean you’re talking like most times, you know, something most times 10 times more than, right, for the bathroom right like it’s you’re committing 100,000 150,000 Sometimes, you know,

31:51
oh easily yeah

31:52
I got the bullet right yeah so I think that’s, I think that that’s something that’s always going to be a struggle until you’ve kind of made Your name in the business, I find, and as a company.

32:03
Do you use do you do much marketing on LinkedIn because you are kind of a b2b type of

32:08
yeah you know we’ve done so, you know, I’ve got all for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and it’s it’s funny it’s it’s so interesting because I follow a few of the contractors and stuff in the residential space as well and they get so many hits on Instagram, so many hits. Yeah, I get so many hits on LinkedIn, and I probably like if I get if I get 200 likes on a video something that I’ve posted on LinkedIn, maybe get five on Instagram. Yeah,

32:36
yeah, no I hear yeah I know what you’re saying, yeah,

32:38
yeah, it’s like a completely diff so I don’t

32:41
think Instagram makes sense for business to business type of business. Yeah, I

32:47
mean, I guess you’re right. But I don’t always, you know somebody posted the other day and I actually do agree with it, I think, I think nowadays the whole concept of b2b b2c is kind of lost a little bit, not lost. I think the concept is dated. I think now it’s more like HTH human to human. So, so the thing with Instagram I think is you have to figure out what the right tags are, because what you’re posting can also go on people’s personal feed, right, because now the people that are on Instagram, they’re individuals right they’re not gonna like they’re not going to be going on that company’s Instagram, and then checking out what they’re following, so it’s yeah it’s really like kind of almost doing the market research as to who are the decision makers, right,

33:29
and where are they

33:30
and where are they and what are the interests that are similar to that work that they’re kind of doing in their personal life. I know it sounds so sneaky right like China

33:41
does and it doesn’t because it’s but it’s the core of the marketing and the strategy is saying okay like you know me when you look at it just to my point of being the superficial, okay well it’s just personal, you know, it’s, it’s, I think of Instagram as more of a personal space. But you’re exactly right. The people that are there, they’re people, they’re humans. They’re there as well. But yeah, trying to figure out what they like,

34:05
that sort of thing at the end of the day the human to human marketing side, we talked about how do you sell yourself right by. And you’re talking about referrals. If you don’t have referrals. You know when you have that first meeting if it’s done well or not it has nothing to do with your proposal. Now, it’s like an interview, it’s like how do you present yourself, how do you present the company, you know, like they do come across trustworthy you come across somebody with integrity, like you mentioned earlier, and will this person let me down, or if, if, if stuff goes down, will he step up or she step up, you know what I mean like most of the questions they ask whether it’s b2b or b2c

34:40
Yeah, I always say it’s theirs. You don’t know how good of a supplier trade, whatever you have until something goes wrong, right, how do they handle that.

34:50
Yep, completely, completely agreed. Yeah, completely agree with you. So that’s what I think is as far as as far as that’s concerned, like the marketing side, I think it’s more human to human what concepts gonna resonate,

35:02
are you trademarked that are you are you aged age

35:04
no I think I’ve seen it online, a fair bit

35:08
cuz I was gonna I was gonna give you full credit.

35:10
I won’t take full credit for that. Okay, well you could have had. I will take full credit and executing interior designers visions but that’s about it.

35:20
Fair enough. All right, well let’s, we could probably chat well we’re gonna, we’re gonna have another part to this. Rahul is podcast but for the rest of mine, we’re gonna do what I have is my interior Inquisition, and this is where you can answer regarding life business whatever but firstly what is one thing that you think every person should experience in their lives. Oh, that’s,

35:40
that’s a really good question. You know what, I will definitely say and I hope people are doing that, or have figured out a way to do that during this pandemic, with the various lockdowns and stuff, is try and find balance within yourself. Don’t let external issues items bother you because no matter when or where your hand your life, there’s always something else out there, it could be, you know, government stuff government rules, it could be your uncle or your mom said something. Yeah, that can affect you, but always try and find the balance within you, because at the end of the day, you’re with yourself and your own thoughts all the time so if you don’t find that balance within you, you know, other people will affect you all the time.

36:23
Yeah, very true, very, very true. What’s the wisest thing that you’ve ever heard someone say, keep quiet and listen.

36:30
That’s true, yeah I mean I, like I said I think I mentioned earlier, I’m I’m a bit of a talker, but, but I think, honestly, I think it’s my wife, to be honest with you, she, I marvel at her capability of truly listening, you know, you, you can have conversations with people and they listen, they hear you, they hear you, you know, they know even though they listen but she, she will remember a conversation from four years ago, that meant something to somebody else. I mean like yeah, she might not remember it over the four years but in conversation with that person she it’ll come back up. Yeah, that is something that I think, you know, I wish I had, you know, sometimes I feel more my mind works more transactionally Yeah, information will come in and I’m like, that really doesn’t matter to me. Yeah, exactly. Trash, but she has this natural ability to, you know, communicate and listen to people that I just marvel at, it’s really something to see.

37:28
That’s great. That’s wonderful. Now what are three podcasts that you’re listening to.

37:32
Oh, more or less listen more or less, aside from my own.

37:36
I might, yeah. You know

37:38
what they kind of they kind of move around a fair bit, yeah. A lot of them are in the in the construction space though, there’s the Contact Crew as one. Currently I listen to I listen to the Construction Record as well. It’s local one here in Canada. I daily commercial news one, I think those, those are really the two I mainly listen to. There’s a couple others. The second is a podcast is pretty phenomenal. They talk a lot about stuff that happens on the project site so that adds a different dynamic the stuff that I generally talk about it’s kind of interesting construction records awesome too. They talk a lot, a lot more about you know, current events and what’s happening and stuff which is, which is again, they’re all like add different different fields and different, different stuff to it. Yeah, yeah. I don’t remember them but I used to listen to a lot of business podcast business owner myself sometimes. I tend to get stuck in my own ways.

38:31
Yeah, so it’s

38:32
good to hear somebody else’s personal yeah somebody else’s and then you know it gives you an idea of how you can implement your own. Absolutely, so I used to listen to a lot, not so much anymore. Yeah, Just because, I mean, we’re talking about 24 hours and it’s not like I’m driving all the time, you know,

38:47
I find I’m not listening anymore and I said to my husband, this morning I said, I haven’t actually been out of the house in the last two days,

38:55
I haven’t been outside.

38:57
Yeah, ridiculous.

38:59
Yeah. Yeah, so it’s

39:04
no I find the podcasts I think there’s different stages of life that you need different types of podcasts, right. You need something you’re going through some sort of whatever you’re like I need advice or information on that so that’s why you listen to them so I have a whole slew of different things depending what, What, what time of the of the lifetime I didn’t. Yeah, well this is great so if people want to find you. What is the best way to, to

39:26
follow you on social media.

39:28
Yeah I mean LinkedIn Instagrams their, you know, One Oak Construction Build Your Future both of them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, obviously personally I’m on LinkedIn as well as the other ones do but I try to keep that more personal than professional, shall we say, but you know we have a current website right now that you can find out all of our episodes it’s rebelforce.com/podcast but you know we are building a custom website, Due to popular demand, where you can kind of search through you know, teams can be sustainability operations technology, and I’m hoping that goes live in a couple of weeks so I’m pretty excited for that it sounds. Yeah, next week, which is kind of cool.

Published by theproductivedesigner

Crystal is the principal of Crystal Collinson Interiors, a full-service design firm specializing in the Design and Decorating of Model Homes, Sales Presentation Centre’s, Condominium amenity spaces and small commercial projects. Crystal & her builderdesigner team work with many of the GTA’s largest home builders.

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