Household issues are a fact of life – they can’t be avoided and once they appear people try to get them sorted out as soon as possible. And keeping in mind that about 85% of American homes are older than 20 years, professional handymen companies will have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their skills and keep themselves busy.
However, higher work volume almost always goes hand in hand with compromised management which is bad news since being as individualized and reliant on personal talents as it is, this industry already suffers from severe management issues. These problems only extrapolate when we have a team of different personalities working together.
Let us take a look then at a couple of ways these organizational problems can be addressed so your handymen business can finally take the market position it deserves.
Develop a personal relationship with the workers
As we said in the introduction, handymen are people who have a very individualized approach to work and don’t really like their decisions and opinions challenged, especially by the people who don’t have any real worksite experience. So, one of the best ways to gain their confidence and establish some sort of leverage over them is to try to engage your workers on a more personal level. Once they start seeing you as a person they can trust, they will also become much more open to listening to your opinion. This way, you will also be able to understand where the workers’ decisions are coming from much better.
Approach conflicts in a calm manner
Once again, this is a situation where your lack of handymen work experience will prove to be quite an obstacle since you won’t always have a clear idea of how professional disagreements should be resolved. That is why you should take a step back and try to put yourself into a role of a mediator rather than a judge. So, calm the situation down, ask for everyone’s opinions, let the workers back up their claims with arguments, and, if necessary, ask other workers for their professional opinion. This democratic problem-solving approach will also help you build up mutual confidence with subordinates.
Be resourceful and helpful
Managers’ role is not only to pass down instructions and make sure the deadlines have been met. They also need to assert themselves as leaders, demonstrate resourcefulness, and provide help to workers however they can. If you are unable to do that in a more hands-on manner, try to nail down workflow and logistics. Make sure the workers have the access to all the tools and materials they need. Set up the schedules so everyone has enough time to rest. If the workers require help from emergency plumbers provide them with third-party assistance as soon as possible. Just make sure everything runs smooth and hassle-free.
Set up clear guidelines, rewards, and penalties
Sure, handymen like to do things their own way. But, this individualized approach to work should always evolve within some professional boundaries that will ensure optimal speed, efficiency, and quality. Therefore, provide your workers with a set of clear, unequivocal, and easy-to-understand rules they need to abide by while performing the projects. You will make sure these rules are followed by establishing an equally as clear reward and penalty system that will motivate the workers to truly give their best. If the incentives are stimulating enough they can summon up a great level of personal initiative.
Make decisions with a consensus
To put it simply, decisions concerning everyone should be made by everyone. Do your best then to make all things you do completely transparent and always ask your subordinates for honest feedback. The decisions that will have far-reaching consequences (shifts, bonuses, compiling the rulebook, etc.) should be made with the widest possible consensus and put to a public vote. This way, the handymen will have an opportunity to explain their grievances before the final decision is made. This approach will give workers a greater sense of ownership over the company and motivate them to see their decisions through.
Encourage frequent and transparent communication
Most personal, organizational, or professional problems can be cut at their root if only they are reported as early as possible. That is why you should nurture an atmosphere where the workers will feel free to draw attention to various issues or express their opinions without fear of reprimand. Setting up dedicated communication channels will ensure that if workers need any sort of help, they are redirected to the person who can lend a hand as quickly as possible. This way, you will encourage a sense of trust and accountability that will prevent a lot of bigger issues that are usually found further down the road.
We hope these few examples gave you a general idea about how to successfully manage a team of professional handymen without trying to micromanage their worksite activities. Experienced workers like to do things their own way, and as long as this approach produces satisfying results that’s perfectly fine. The art of good management is to ensure these results do come without damaging that sense of freedom or involving yourself too heavily in menial activities. It’s not an easy task but you now know where to start.