Have a podcast in 30 days

Without headaches or hassles

Our guest on this week's episode is Jes Sanders from Studio S. After spending his early days as a residential framer he went on to study architecture and eventually open his own design firm a little over 5 years ago. In a recent conversation we challenge each other to answer the following question. What are the similarities between running a design firm and running a construction company? Our answer. Well, it’s complicated.

Show highlights include:

  • How good design adds equity to a project (and how to leverage this phenomenon when you’re building homes) (5:52) 
  • It’s hard to overstate the value of having a good builder on your team (9:53)
  • Why creating a better overall experience prevents you from falling into the commodity mindset trap (10:37) 
  • The “3 Leg Stool System” that helps you set expectations and avoid going over budget (12:54) 
  • How to get architects and designers to send in 50% (or more) of your construction clients (16:16) 
  • Why throwing architects, designers, or other builders under the bus is simply bad business (and how being an advocate for other parties gets you more high-quality referrals) (18:30)
  • Grab coffee, have a beer, get to know and understand each other. That’s how to build a strong builder/designer relationship. (34:13)
  • When architects or designers recommend a builder they are putting their reputation on the line (38:11)

If you’d like to learn more about Jes and his architecture business, head over to his website at http://www.studios-pllc.com/

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to https://buildernuggets.com  and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.


Read Full Transcript

It's hard to overstate the value of having a good builder on your team.

Welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, the show where builders and remodelers discover how to build thriving businesses while working less. I'm Duane Johns and together with Dave Young, we share the elements of success that have helped hundreds of contractors like you build better lives.

(00:31): What are the similarities between running a design firm and running a construction company? Well, it's complicated.

(00:28): He's guest has been in architecture for about 25 years. He spent the early nineties as a residential framer and after a few years of sunburns and sweat, he figured that drawing these things might be easier than building them. So we went off to study architecture, a UNC here in Charlotte,

(00:42): And right after school, he went to work for Schrader design, a high-end custom designer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since that time he's tenured with several larger commercial firms before founding his own company just over five years ago. Today that company delivers solutions for a wide variety of commercial buildings and an occasional residential projects here and there. It's my

(01:01): Pleasure to welcome Jeff Sanders with studio S today's show. Welcome Jess. Thank you for having me. This is great. I'm really excited for today's show because when we talked a few weeks ago, you said this would be an opportunity for us builders to beat up a little bit on architects and designers. Here we go. But seriously, you've been listening to this show and after hearing several episodes, you reached out to me and said, you were amazed at how similar the processes are for running our businesses.

(01:28): Trapping me. First of all, this is great. And yeah, your podcasts have definitely been resonating with me. A lot of the different episodes. You know, I'm a small shop and looking to grow and, you know, looking to scale up and become a big shop, but like a lot of your guests, I'm wearing a lot of hats right now. And, you know, for example, I was listening to one of your recent episodes and they're talking about best and highest use of your time. So my best and highest use is probably designing and business development, but also in the weeds is like, if I'm drawing door schedules and flashing details and something an intern can do, then, you know, that's probably not the best and highest use of my time. And it's really easy to get caught up in that. And you guys know like bookkeeping and things of this nature can really kind of get in the way. Sometimes

(02:17): One of the things you said that resonated with me was you felt like at times you were stuck in the weeds. That's a phrase that many builders or modelers can use on a regular basis. And I was a bit surprised to hear you say it. So what does it look like for someone like yourself in the design world to be in the weeds?

(02:33): Yeah. You kind of hit on it. You talked about when you are technician, you become the best at what you, whatever your craft is to be a carpenter or whatever. And then you go into the business of that craft and you need to step away from actually doing the day-to-day operations. Right. You know, like you said, we're talking about hammering nails, if a general contractor who came up being the best framer that ever was, if he's hammering nails on any given day, he's losing money, not as best and highest use. And maybe I'm repeating myself, but again, if I'm drawing wall sections and I'm very good at it, you know, that's probably not my best use, you know, I should be doing this design and business development. Yeah.

(03:15): There's no doubt. So give us the quick version on how you got started in, moved from maybe focusing more on the business side versus the design side of things.

(03:24): Yeah, so I grew up in San Diego. You guys kind of told the bio did a great job. I grew up in San Diego and actually was learned framing and in trade school, out there. And so I was building houses for several years and I came out here and like you said, I went to UNC, Charlotte cut my teeth in the high end residential world. And I've been at Ella three P and Overcash gym, a couple of the other larger companies. And yeah, just launch out on my own about five years ago and really have enjoyed it. You know, really, even Joyce, you don't know what you don't know. Right. You're like, I'm just going to start my business. I'm the best at what I do. And then we get into the actual business world. There's a lot more to it.

(04:07): So yeah. You know, I just started, honestly, there's so much growth in Charlotte, but when I started, I didn't even have a project when I started, I just drove around my neighborhood and I saw builders with their signs out and would literally walk up on the job site and give them my card and get some projects going, just little additions and master suites. I could draw a master suite, I think, in my sleep at this point. And I've been really fortunate to build, you know, at this point now I've got some really, you know, a couple of years ago, I think we did about 200,000 square feet of a built environment of everything from storage buildings to libraries to like you said, a youth center and really, you know, dabbling now in the, or getting more into the commercial side now, what was your tipping point?

(04:54): How did you go from that? Grinding it out on the, on the pavement start. Where did your break come from in starting to get some of those bigger projects and how did he go about developing that and targeting builders actually, you know, just trying to get face time with them. And my philosophy is if there's a builder in Charlotte that doesn't know about studio S then I'm not doing my job, right. I need to be out there and everybody should know my name. You know, just a lot of network, you know chambers of commerce, things like this, just trying to get it on the street. But that's, that's another struggle is if I'm the only one drawing and I'm not doing business development, then I'm not drawing when I'm out hustling.

(05:34): Yeah. That's for sure. That's the scaling of your business that we talk about a lot, how to get yourself out of that technician mindset and focus on your highest and best shoes. You and I also talked about the commodity mindset. You said that architects and designers suffer from this as well. What does that look like in the design world?

(05:53): Well, I'm convinced that design, of course, I'm a little bit biased obviously, but I'm convinced that good design actually adds equity to a project. I mean, there's a difference between a track home and oh, Myers park home or whatever, but that's not as easy to quantify to a client, probably. So here's a good example. You see this all the time where the front facade of a building may look beautiful, but then you look to the side of the building and it's just completely straight the whole way down. And the reason being is for instance, I had a client one time, great clients, really fun to work with. And I had all this in and out on the architecture, I all this play, all this art architectural interest down the side. But when they look at the plan, they're like, well, wait a minute. If we push the project all the way out to the property line, that's 50 more sellable square feet, right? It's, it's a commodity and it's a little bit, sometimes it can be a challenge quantifying the value of design when people are just looking at the commodity of the per square foot. I don't know if that's similar on y'all's side or how that plays out, walking

(07:02): Into projects a few weeks ago. And it was, I think it was in the rough end phase and the homeowner sees this small two-by-two space. I believe it was a small chase for like conduit utilities and such, but they simply saw unused space. I mean, they wanted to turn it into a closet, a little hideaway and nook, whatever to them, it's square footage that they're paying for. So I totally relate to what you're talking about for

(07:24): Us. I think when we talked about the commodity mindset, it's a lot of times driven by, well, a lot of times driven by the builder themselves that they, if they believe in it, but it's the impression that a client may have that what you do is available by other builders across the board. And that's where you lose the art of the craftsmanship and the value that you add, or the experience that you deliver. And it's a normal starting point for a lot of people. There's a lot of builders out there and they just think, well, how much is it per square foot? And right. All builders are equal, right? Yeah. There's another one. And I will go and get quotes until I find one that says I can do with this project for my budget. And then it turns out to be something completely different because we know, we know that how complex the build is, how important it is to meet those client's needs.

(08:15): And you probably have the same thing that most clients don't realize the extent of craftsmanship and professionalism that it takes and skill and management and relationships to coordinate all of this stuff, to turn out on time on budget and with what they envisioned and without being tortured or torturing each other in the meantime. So just that feeling, that ubiquitous it's available everywhere at the same price. And you just pick one, it's not quite that bad, but we get into the habit or we see builders getting into the habit of acting like a commodity, treating your traits like a commodity by treating them by saying, Hey, I want three quotes, you know, need to sharpen your pencil, right? Not really understanding the values of not having a relationship, just the framers of frame, restorative thing. That is where we really need to shift things. And the same with the relationship.

(09:06): And we'll dig into that builder and architect designer relationship too. You really need to work with people that value you and what you do and understand it. And that's where it comes in. You've probably spent the last five years developing that. Yeah. Developing the relationships. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And let me just tell you from the other side of the fence, from the design side of the fence, I can only speak for myself, but it's hard to overstate the value of having a good builder on your team when you have this vision. Right. You know, and the owner has a vision and you launch it out into the world and this is your baby, your vision. And it's completely dependent on the, the skill level of the builder. And man, you know, without naming names, you know, I've had builders that just was a gift, right. You walked in and like, wow, this is an amazing space that somebody clearly cared about and took ownership and a thing of beauty. Right. And then obviously there are other builders that you show up and maybe not quite so thrilling. So I'm just gonna tell you from my point of view, it's incredibly important for as a designer to be able to have a small cadre of builders that we trust, that we can recommend and know that they have the skill to deliver. It's a lot of trust that we're putting in the y'all's hands, right?

(10:24): It absolutely is. And as you know, collaboration is the key. I think that's one of the things that folks have to keep in mind when the commodity mindset starts to sneak back in. You have to take it back to the team concept, especially when you get into the custom world. I mean, it's really the experience that we're delivering. That expectation is already there, that you're going to be delivering a stellar product. So you simply can't treat the experience as a commodity, right. And that experience goes all the way back to the beginning, the conversations that are being had between all the parties, the team members, the builder designer, client looking at that project from top to bottom, how it's going to be developed all the parts and pieces of fit together. I mean, there's, there's just no way that any of this should be treated as a cost commodity.

(11:06): Right? Yeah. And let's walk through that a little bit from start to finish. So at what stage because there's, there's something resonating from the very beginning of your story where you were like driving around, seeing builders trucks going up and introducing yourself and starting the relationship. And I find it really interesting because when we're coaching builders, we're, we're telling them do the same thing, go out, find architects, see the size, really. Yeah. Understand and go and develop, develop your relationship with the the architects that are most fit, what your, your mission and your vision for what you're trying to do. And that, and that doesn't necessarily mean stylize. That may mean their client service mindset or how their team is structured or their ability to do your types of jobs. Like there's all sorts things that go into that. But it was interesting that here's a designer and an architect that is looking to grow and is going and reaching out to the builders.

(12:01): We're telling builders to do it as well, more of this should be happening. So I think it would be cool to look at how do you make more of it happen? What's been working for you when you develop those relationships. And then once you do have that relationship, walk us through in the best relationships that you have, what does the flow look like? How are you planning things together? What does the communication look like? Are you using software software? How do you guys stay in sync with each other? Because it's fine to say, oh, we're a great team. And you go to collaborate on one part of it. And then if you don't have that connectivity throughout the build and visibility and transparency with everything with each other, you run the risk of not getting to the finish line with the product that you envisioned.

(12:41): Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think similar to you all, like really at the end of the day, what we had to sell as designers is our talent and our time. So we don't want to burn extra hours. You know, we got to keep a tight control on that. And it's just a really great benefit if we can come in as early as possible with that team in place, you know, the builder design, it's like a three-legged stool builder designer and the owner I've heard you all talk about, like, I don't want to develop an entire set of CDs, construction documents, and then throw it over to the builder. And the owners don't always have realistic expectations, right. And we come in 50%, 60% over budget, and then I would have to redesign it. So it's just a huge value to early on, just have the team in place, go in together and just keep refining the scope and the budget.

(13:34): So you guys, you know, the term schematic design, design development, basically, it's just a fancy way of saying we're going from big concept ideas and more and more granular and refining the house for finding the scope and refining the budget the whole way. There's gotta be that dialogue the whole way. And the way I typically work is every, you know, everything I do is in 3d. So typically we'll show up with the owner and have a little fly through, and then we will lay the plans out with the builder, with all of us there and walk through what they like about it, and then give them a couple of weeks to give us some preliminary pricing, get it back and keep refining that. So is that kind of what, you're what you're asking me. Yeah. We just want to know how, how you doing what you've seen work, because we know that lobbing it over the fence and waiting for it to come be thrown back over doesn't work very well. And we find that the more communication that there is the better, but it needs to be structured. Otherwise it can just become noise. So having some plan meetings, milestones that are both in place and that you agree on and having all the stakeholders in the room for some of these key milestones and points, so that you're setting the right expectations we find are, are are very helpful.

(14:50): One, the things that we'll advocate for when we're coaching or consultant is the need for a detailed planning process or pre-construction process. I mean, that's where the real effort is needed. It's proven itself time and time again. I mean the more time and effort you spend in planning, working together with all the parties, getting all the pieces put together and building it on paper, it's just going to make the construction goes so much smoother. So from the architect or designers perspective, what are some of the things that you do to keep the process moving along? I mean, who's leading the charge because we all know there's times where we have to corral the client, that client, they just want to build it. They want it, and they want to see it. What are you doing to keep that process on the rails?

(15:32): Yeah. I mean, typically we lead the process up until construction and then you guys kind of take over, you know, we'll meet with the client, we'll get their scope. And usually it takes us a couple of weeks to do the schematic design. And then again, you know, we just keep meeting with them and having that, keeping that dialogue open. And we try to get down to selections a lot of times they'll just do an allowance, but I know that's a challenge for you guys, right. If it's just allowances, that's the easy way. You're right, right in your business. Now, who is who is making the client introduction? Are you finding more often that the builder is bringing the client to you or has the client come to you first? And this is kind of the, the follow, the client thing that happens out there is everybody wants to work with somebody who's already got the clients coming in.

(16:21): Are you seeing it both ways is one more prevalent than the others? Are you seeing a shift as your business matures? What does that look like? Who introduces you in your world? Sure. I think that comes back to the value of the team, right? And it's kind of 50, 50. I get a lot of solicitations. And then if I have a good team in place, I can reach out to them and give them the work. And then half the time they're bringing the client to me. And then we just go in as a team, but to get to your point earlier about having different people that I deal for different scenarios, I've got relationships with a few builders. And so one of them is like very, very high end, very high touch, maybe a little bit higher price. And I might plug him in with that kind of clientele. And then, you know, I've got other builders that are terrific, but maybe not quite so Myers park or high touch,

(17:10): It's back to the relationship, right? The relationships you're developing are so key. You've got to have trust and communication. You know, you need to know that when you put something out there, the ball's not going to be dropped. Right. When you and I spoke a few weeks ago, I had to laugh. When you asked me, let's get down to the reason why architects and designers are such divas, right? The more we talked about it, I began to realize that you guys do get beat up. I mean, you get beat up by everybody, especially if the ball was dropped by someone along the way, maybe somewhere during that pre-construction of planning phase, maybe there wasn't a proper planning phase. Something goes a little sideways during construction. It becomes really easy to point the finger at the person that standing there. Yeah. It can be it's the architect's fault. It's the designer's fault. And it goes the other way. I've seen situations where the designer and architect have thrown the builder under the bus. Yeah, totally. And that, that kind of stuff just shouldn't go on and a healthy relationship.

(18:03): Yeah. I totally agree. It's just not profitable. I, I see my role as being an advocate to you guys on behalf of the owner and also vice versa, you know, I'm gonna lobby to the owner on your behalf

(18:18): A quick reminder that the best way to get the most out of this podcast is to engage with the builder nuggets community, visit our website@buildernuggets.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

(18:31): I gave you an example. So I was dealing doing a project recently, and it has a great experience, right? Big project. The builder did a fantastic job. The owner paid on time every time. And at the very end, the lights, they were installing kept blowing out. Right? And so the owner was holding back his final payment, which was like $180,000. So the builder wasn't too happy and the builder was throwing his hands up. And the owner was frustrated and I'm like, look, you know, this is not really my role, but I said, look, something's got to get off of dead center here. So I just jumped in. I went to the manufacturer, made some phone calls, got them out on site, grease the wheel though. You know what I'm saying, got this little problem fixed. And my point being just trying to advocate, all of us should be advocating for the other two parties.

(19:19): Now they had their lights and the owner, I'm sorry. The builder has his final payment, which is no small amount of money. So we just gotta be each other's champions. I think all that, you know, throwing each other under the bus, it happens a lot. And there's just, there's no, you know, there's no point building a house or building a building is one of the most complex endeavors that any adult will ever undertake in their life. There are so many moving parts. And even if you're really good, there's so many ways for it to go, go wrong or not even wrong to go in a way that's unexpected for the client. Who's maybe never done this before. And I think it's just human nature to want to you, like you said, whoever's not in the room, it's their fault. And

(20:00): There can be egos in the room. No, certainly not, man. You've already said David Duane. So we got that one out there. And then if you want to go with the stereotypes of the builder bravado thing too, you can do that. But what you said in the second part of that around, we need to be champions for each other. When you were saying, I need to be an advocate for the builder or for the client. I think every one of the people, it's a circle of accountability. And that's something else we talked about too, is that circle of accountability where you're all not only accountable to each other, but in the way of, you know, we're going to deliver, but being good teammates because you were Switzerland in that situation. But at any given time, one of the other parties is the better advocate is the go between for the, for the other or at any given time, they are sure.

(20:43): I need to be able to maintain that. How do you develop that? How do you stamp out the negativity? And when you look at a problem, say, well, how do we solve it together instead of how do we figure out whose fault it is? Like, there's always, the money is always going to come into it, like who needs to be accountable for it, but how do you get that mindset? Where, what can we all do to solve this thing? Cause that'll reduce the costs that will reduce the hardship. It'll help to calm a client nerves or confidence that may be shattered by some of these things that are happening and in an upset client. I mean, that can just, that can be the whole hornet's nest to the relationship between the builder and the architect where everybody's get it getting worked up and you need to diffuse it.

(21:21): Yeah. Agreed. I think everybody's got a vision of the project and maybe it's not exactly the way one person envisioned it. And I think we just need to work together, but also I think you just have to, you can't ever say that's not my job. Thank you. You have to go outside the boundaries and be a solution finder. Maybe it's not my job to find those lights. Maybe it's not my job to suggest another cheaper tile or whatever. You're not to muddy the waters, right. Not to get step on anybody's toes. But I think we all have to be solution oriented and be helpful and also praising each other by each other's backs, not dissing each other behind each other's backs. For sure. Well, you

(21:58): Said before the unexpected that's exactly what it is. I mean, these things are complex. Even the most well-designed highly thought out projects are going to have surprises, but if you have strong, healthy relationships in place, some of the best things, I mean, some of the most exciting parts of the project, those will happen when two or three folks come together to solve a really big problem. What kind of things from an architect's perspective, do you like to see in builders

(22:22): Of responsiveness and communication? Sometimes builders will send out this is just the one example, right? We'll send out a quote and just email it out. And this is like a half a million dollar quote or six, whatever the number is. And here you go. And I just think it would help everybody to make the time to guide and really help the homeowner through something like that. That's a big number just to float out there. And also you said communication on the front end, it's a two-way street and it takes responsiveness. If I throw out a concept, I need to know if we're still in budget. You know, I need to know if there's, if it's structurally feasible to some degree or whatever it is. And just having that feedback, I think is really important. Keeping that dialogue, sometimes we'll send a set of plans out and radio silence for two weeks and that's, that's two weeks we've lost. So, but if we can keep the momentum going, then we can get these, you know, get ground broken and have a happy client. What

(23:21): You said right? There is a perfect example of that commodity mindset. So many builders have been pushed by the industry to just spit out numbers. I mean, times money, they don't have, you know, if they don't have a commitment from anyone, they're going to feel a need to just simply throw numbers at it.

(23:36): That's exactly what I was going to say, Dwayne, that is commodity. And when we're trying to get away from that, we can't do that. So, and one of, maybe one of the easy ways to think of it is you, you would think of it as, yeah. This builder is sending me a project. If they send you a project, it's a commodity. If they send you a client, this is the way you've got to think about you. You want to know about that client. Cause he may not even want to work with you on it. You probably want to know who the client is before you sign up to work with them and all that sort of thing. But getting away from the notion that I'm sending you a project, I'm not, I'm sending you a client, that's a slight tweak, but very different. And you guys, man, you guys have, you know, a vast skillset. There might be a creative solution that keeps the same design intent and all of our magic, all of our design genius that we think we came up with, there might be a creative solution that you guys have that never occurred to us. What if we use steel beam, right? I don't know whatever. And that's a really productive dialogue to have if we're all on the same team.

(24:35): Yeah. Bringing the trades in, bringing in a true expert or craftsman and get their perspective. That's the way you have to look at it versus just asking for a quote. I mean, bring them into the conversation, showing you value their input and their knowledge review the plans together, develop some thorough scopes of work so that all the trades know exactly what's required share with them. Some of the details. I mean, let them know who the homeowner is, why the homeowner's even taken on a project like this. And I think by doing this, you're going to start building a rapport and develop relationships that motivate people to, to be creative and solve problems. It's going to take that trade out of the commodity mindset because most trades are going to be stuck in that mindset as well. Let's face it. Most of them feel like they just have to get a quote

(25:17): Out the door. One thing I thought was interesting is like on the residential side, there's not as there doesn't seem to be as much construction administration with architects. And that's always been a little bit interesting to me, like on the commercial side every week we're meeting on the project and you know, it's a little bit apples and oranges, but I don't know. I mean, do you guys, what's, y'all's take on that is I think

(25:38): In a true project management model, you're going to get that, but I don't think you see it very often to your point. I think what happens is plans go out there's details missing in any scopes or quotes. A lot of the contracts will say per plans and that's where the finger pointing comes in because there really isn't anyone dedicated to no, one's really dedicated to proper time to managing the site, going through the details. What you need real is you need someone, that's almost acting like a liaison between the architect and the client, the homeowner and the trades. But I mean, we all know there's a cost to that. Sure. But that's gotta be relayed on the front end and the client and everybody involved in this project needs to see the value in that. Because if they don't, they're just going to look at that as an extra cost. Yeah. Knowing into your fee, you really have to set the expectations around this. What is the importance of it? Why they need that level of service on their project. If that's not set up, then it's just going to appear as an unnecessary cost. Right.

(26:36): What sort of conflicts do you see are major frustrations? You touched on, you said you really value responsiveness. So I'm assuming that unresponsiveness, or you mentioned that's a frustration for you. What are some of the other things, you know, the best builders you work with are able to avoid or what are some common frustrations that you've experienced? There's a major design change that we're not involved in the construction process that much, and we're not called upon. We all want to value engineer, right? We all want to help the project succeeding and take costs out of the project or we have to, but it's painful when you show up on the site and the design has been kind of radically changed or maybe there could have been a more creative solution too polite to say it's been butchered. Yeah. I was doing a mid century house trying to be very authentic. And that look is a brick fireplace with the wide glazing. Right. And these timbers. And they took the brick all the far off the fireplace and I showed up, just broke my heart, you know, so, but what about, y'all like what, from your point of view, what can we do as architects to help y'all's process also on the front side,

(27:42): I think you touched on earlier and I wrote it down several times is you as the designer advocating for the builder, if that relationship is established from the beginning, it can really set the tone and the direction for the project. The client's going to, they're going to put a lot of faith in what architects and designers say to them early on. If there's a designer architect telling the client, okay, I've got the plans done. Let's just send it out to three builders and see where the numbers fall. That's not really going to set things up. I mean, if anything, that's a commodity play, right? It would be much better to say, Hey, you know, I've got a couple of very good builders. I think they'd be a great fit for this project. I think you should meet with them, build some rapport, hear their thoughts about all of this, letting them know it's going to be a team effort and we need everybody on the same page, right?

(28:25): This is a way better way to set things up. And it's so much better than simply asking for numbers. I mean, there's really no value in that. You need to have an understanding of how both sides operate. I mean, as a builder or a model, or I need to know all the services that you provide, right? Let's face it. Some designers are really strong in 3d side while others might not be, I need to know what services do you provide, you know, that can help the client and everyone else on the team. For that matter. I want to have a clear understanding of what the is going to look like, how it's all gonna come together. Right?

(28:57): I also think that really understanding each other's business models and how you work, what you do, the different phases so that you could set the proper expectations with the client because you, is it a project management model? Is it going to be a fixed cost? What are just understanding? What's going to flow who the players are and really knowing a fair bit about each other's businesses and their strengths and same thing with the builder, understanding where you bring the most value to, how to make your life easier, where you shine with clients, all that sort of stuff that just takes time and a mutual interest and professionalism in each other's businesses. And, you know, ended up being total collaborators. You guys have been really promoting like design build for awhile now. Right? I

(29:42): Think whether you're doing the design in-house or not to some degree is almost irrelevant. Yeah. It's a little bit of a control thing. You need to have that single point of contact. Somebody that's bringing all the design creative ideas and information into a, into a structured process. Somebody's got to keep the wheels on the cart, follow a critical path that is going to work so much better than three or four different entities, all going in different directions. In which case, things generally come in over budget and take way too long to move through the process. I think that's what the core concept of a design build operation helps to alleviate, but it doesn't have to be something in-house, it can be done through existing relationships. I mean, if you've got really good relationships with architects, designers and builders working together, there's no doubt it can work just as well. Sure. Right.

(30:30): We joke around that. We recommend design builds because built, designed to work very well. But I think really the focus is on developing the plan together, plan everything out, price, everything out too, to the extent that you can in chunks in that safe sandbox together. So that at the end of that, you've got certainty and you really understand one, when it's going to be done, who's going to be doing the different pieces of work. Do they have the, do they have the team and staff and resources all allocated to do that? Is it in the budget, all that sort of thing. And then most importantly, and this is where you really come in, are they going to love it? Because you've got a good visual because you don't want to get to the end and the thing's been butchered and they don't even like it, it doesn't resemble what you started out with because you didn't nail down the plan.

(31:19): And you know, it's Frank Lloyd Wright who said it's, it's way easier, cheaper to fix it with an eraser than it is with a crowbar. So if you use that mentality and say, we're going to, we're going to work together. We're going to nail this thing down. This is how it all works. And we're not digging in the hole or tearing down your house until we get to this milestone. We're 90% or 90 to 95% of it. Everything is nailed down. That's design build, whether you do it in house or you bring in a third party or you bring in designers, or you could have a team of people. And really you're going to have a team of subtrade or trade partners that are working with you on, in developing this plan too, because you're relying on their expertise for their different disciplines. So between the builder and the architect, you're kind of the ringleaders at different points of this to put it all, to put it all together and to keep it on cheap and on track. So that's what we, we advocate for and it's, but it's, it's really difficult to do. You've got to have the systems and the processes and the relationships, all of that stuff. It's a, it's a it's complex for sure.

(32:23): It's about really understanding how both sides operate. You got to have everything documented, knowing the process is going to flow from beginning to end. And everybody on the team needs to be a part of this because the minute any of this starts to break down, that's when the finger-pointing starts in a true design build collaboration. It's, it's going to be those iterations of design. As you say, it's not going to be, Hey, here's a great design, let's price. It let's start building. That's always a recipe for missed expectations. Yeah.

(32:50): And you want the client operating from a confidence mindset. You want them to be confident with every decision and you've, I'm sure Jess, you've seen like that reaction when they see the plans and they're like, oh, we love it. This is totally what we want. And then the next, whatever decision comes after that is quite easy. And as long as you keep building on those and taking the time to make each selection, each choice, each decision with confidence, then the system goes really well. If that starts to rattle apart, you get partway through and people have lost confidence in each other. And the only way to stay on top of that is with plans, communication, detailed information, transparency, sharing it all together, and just rolling up your sleeves together.

(33:35): The one major pain point for everybody in this, whether it's a builder, an architect, a client are those times when there's some unrealistic numbers or other expectations discussed real early on in the project. And then you get six, eight, 10 weeks later, you get a fully developed set of plans. And man, they're beautiful. Right. But when the work starts going in, it comes in it's two and three times over right budget. There's a lot of hurts feelings and somebody's going to get thrown under the bus. Nobody wins in that situation. Right. But that

(34:04): Should never happen if there's an ongoing dialogue. Right. I mean, it should be like, again, like I say before, aligning the scope and the budget throughout that process, they should be getting closer and closer each step of the way. Sure. Hey, what approach do you like best when done? I'm sure you get calls from builders on a regular basis to ask about, Hey, do you have any jobs for me? Horrible way to start, but there's usually a beer involved. What's what are should be, you mean they should buy the beer. What's your preferred approach for a builder to reaching out to you to learn about your business, to connect with you. What have you seen work with the builders that are now part of your team? I mean, it's gotta be organic, right. You know, to some degree. Yeah. Yes, yes. That was code exactly.

(34:48): Right. At least the first time I do the same thing, you know, I cold call a commercial builder and associate, Hey, let's grab lunch or let's grab a coffee or, you know, whatever. And I'm totally open to that. I think most architects are, and I'm just building that relationship. And you know, usually any architect is willing to give any builder a try. But when we record just with you guys, same with you guys, when we recommend a builder, that's our reputation on the line too. And I'm speaking, I'm speaking for this, this guy or lady. So obviously the guys that I've had, you know, a dozen projects with full confidence, right? No problem referring them. There's always that little asterix, right? Hey, I'm going to, you have to kind of qualify to the owner. Hey, I haven't worked with this guy before, but his portfolio looks great.

(35:33): He gives off a good vibe. He seems like an honest guy, but man. Yeah. I mean, look, Charlotte's red hot, you know, as are many markets right now, there's not enough builders and architects to go around. So everybody's always looking for more affiliates. If we do take a shot on someone, man, you better knock out the first time, you know, you know, be responsive, you know, take care of the client, but you're representing our brand at that point, you know, the same way as if I was doing a design, if you guys recommended me as a designer, I'm representing you guys at that point. How are you doing your vetting process? So beyond the first beer or the first lunch, right? What are you doing? Are you touring their job sites? You're talking to past clients, how do you decide who's getting a shot? Their portfolio obviously, you know, speaks, speaks volumes.

(36:17): Unfortunately a website really does, you know, it has a presence obviously. And really just, you know, at some point you gotta go with your gut a little bit, right? If you can feel like someone's an honest person, if they're going to be diligent and then give them a shot or maybe, you know, maybe we send them the set of plans and say, Hey, do you want to take a run at pricing this and see if they're responsive and their quote looks professional and you know, that kind of thing, give them a chance to perform some small tasks, their starting point to, I think so, you know, like you know, I might give someone a kitchen before I give them a knockdown near the house. Right? Well, this has been fun. Is there anything else you wanted to touch on?

(36:52): No, I'm actually, I appreciate you guys having me on, you know, it's just really, really interesting, you know, we're two sides of the same coin and a lot of the struggles you guys have or the same struggles and processes, we have different, but the, the same and it's just really a great pleasure when we can work together and you can look at a building and, you know, just take great pride in that. I don't think we can do that without everybody involved, hitting on all cylinders. So I'm sure there's a lot more to discuss, but I just really appreciate you guys having me on. So Jess,

(37:24): If any of the listeners out there want to connect or learn more, where can they find you? Studio S architecture studio, S dash P L L c.com. Dave, anything else? No, I think this is a, I think this is great. This is what we need to do more of. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. Thanks, Joe. We'll talk soon.

Do you have what it takes to transform your business? It's time to take action. Join the Builder Nuggets community to experience the life changing breakthroughs that the most successful builders and remodelers have already discovered. Subscribe to the podcast now and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. Got elements of success to share with other builders, let us know at BuilderNuggets.com so we can amplify your story.

Have a podcast in 30 days

Without headaches or hassles


Copyright Marketing 2.0 16877 E.Colonial Dr #203 Orlando, FL 32820