Want to know what your trades think about working with you? Ask!

Ever wonder what the subcontractors you hire really think about your company and how you can improve business practices? This year, Ben Thompson, president of Thompson Remodeling in Grand Rapids, Mich., decided to get answers by hosting a focus group with the trades with which his company works.

Thompson Remodeling schedules standard site visits with trades at 9:30 or 10:30 on weekday mornings, so the team devoted one of those times to the focus group. The company invited 12 business partners, which included those who were new to working with Thompson Remodeling and those who have been working with the company for many years.

“The trades know to expect a meeting with us, and the time later in the morning allows them to get their crews out before they come see us,” Thompson explained.

Over coffee and snacks, Thompson’s team launched the meeting by reviewing policies and procedures and then opened discussion about how the company could improve logistics. They also talked about why clients choose Thompson Remodeling and some common expectations.

“We opened it up to a Q&A and brainstorming session that focused on what we could be doing better,” Thompson said. “We found out what our competition does for these contractors and what we could be doing for them.”

Thompson said he learned that more communication is critical and that the trades particularly liked the company’s online scheduling site. This key takeaway prompted the Thompson Remodeling team to beef up the scheduling site to include more features, such as e-mail notifications about upcoming projects.

“Overall, we learned that Thompson is a great place to work,” Thompson added. “We will do more of these.”—Tanja Kern

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