By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!





Spring is a busy time of year! Today, I want to talk about how to manage these really busy months but also how to prepare for the summer months ahead by leaning in on your systems, getting schedules sorted out for all involved in a project, how to communicate this clearly with your clients as well as potential clients, and making sure to schedule in some down time for yourself and your family.

I have school-aged children, where there is so much going on this time of year, so I get it, I’m sure you all are experiencing the same stress adn being pulled in a million different directions. And I get it. At times like this, really, you need to be focusing on your own mental health.

This is also a time to lean in on your systems. 

You need to rely heavily on the systems that are going to remind you of the emails you need to send, meetings to set up, and phone calls that need to be made before certain deadlines. 

If you’re listening to this, the day it drops it’s May 14th, which means Memorial Day is coming up, which, yeah, makes my stomach turn into knots. Because that’s the time in my experience when all hell breaks loose. Not only in my family and personal life but in my projects. 

My kids get out of school in early June. So that means we are going to be knee-deep in exams this time of year. Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the end of the routines I’ve been relying on for the school year. 

My daughter can drive now, thankfully, but I still have my son that will have activities going on that we need to figure out if he will need a driver for them. Can I manage it all on my own, or will I need to outsource it all?

This is the kind of schedule that has to be decided, lined up and managed all in this crazy month of May. 

I haven’t even mentioned my clients and the teams of people I work with on every project. Guess what else happens during the summer? Vacations. So I need those schedules, let alone my vacations and, of course, my team’s vacations. 

These are all things that have to be determined now in this crazy month of May. If you don’t, it will take your schedule and all of your predicted deadlines and flip them upside down. I’m not saying that ot scare you, I’m saying that to empower you to take control now.

For those of you who are newer to construction, it is a very different situation than decorating projects because it is not uncommon for my clients with decorating projects to slowly roll through the summer. Construction projects don’t have that luxury. But they do, in fact, slow down during the summer months because of all of these changes to our schedules. So you need to anticipate that so that they don’t catch you up guard or add a layer of frustration to your projects. 

How to prepare

I have already sent my emails out to the teams I’m working with. Whose going on what vacation, when, and how long? And so for the jobs where I’ve built the teams, I’m going to make sure that the contractor, electrician, plumber, tile installer, etc, are not all away on the same week. Because if they are, and maybe I can’t control that, that means the entire week will go dark. So you need to get ahead of that and schedule accordingly.

I promise you it will feel like chess when you’re laying out all of these variables for every project you’re on. 

You also need to consider your own vacation.

I am adamant, and I want you to be as well, about taking time off and slowing your pace during the summer. Firstly, it’s a little easier to get away with because your clients are doing the same thing. But secondly, it is critical for me because I know that come September, it is going to be a full-court press through the holidays into the end of the year. 

Your role in construction projects is active. You’re either there weekly or three times a week, or you have all sorts of responsibilities that can’t just be dropped because you’re away. This means you have to line up a plan. Maybe you have a design assistant. Empower those assistants to be of value when they are on the site. If you have a design assistant, they are a part of your team, which means they are a part of the greater team. 

If you don’t have a design assistant, be upfront with your contractor and let them know when you will be away. Know what state of the project you’ll be in and confirm that with your contractor.

Then, all this needs to be run by your client. But you don’t discuss it with your client. You do not discuss it with your client until you have a solid, workable plan in place. There is no point in freaking out your client by letting them know you will be gone before you can share how the project will continue and be managed in your absence. That’s what will put the client at ease. 

You also need to plan things out if your clients will be gone for the summer. You will need to figure out access to the house? How will you communicate? Will the project come to a halt? That can happen, so you need to find that out now

Again, now is the time to get this all lined up. It will probably drive you crazy tracking all of this information down, but once you have it in your calender, you will feel a sense of peace. It may not all go as planned, but the majority of it will, and you will be calmer because of it. 

Again, this goes back to your systems and being organized. I know I am much more scattered over the summer months than I am when I have a proper schedule. So, I heavily rely on reminders. I’ll put reminders in Asana, my calendar, and my phone. Whatever it takes to remember certain elements of deadlines, you absolutely need to set them up for yourself. We’re all different, so whatever works best for you is what you need to lean on. 

The last thing I share in today’s episode is about pushing off projects to the fall. 

Right now, I am not taking on any new projects. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I know how my summers are. I already have existing work. I don’t want to add anything else to my plate, so I can try to take a small step back, relax a little bit, and focus on rest and time with my family. 

I hope that after listening to today’s episode, you feel energized to take control and not spiral into overwhelm, as that will not move you forward. 

So, contact your contractors—anyone on the team—and ask what their vacation schedules are. Then, write them down. 

Look at the construction schedule. 

Where are these vacations falling on that schedule? And how does that impact other areas of the schedule? When is your vacation? And who will cover for you? Get that all worked out and dialed in now. 

Bring anyone you need up to speed because right now, you have the time to do it. And also so they are not feeling rushed when you need them to take over. 

Then you talk to your clients. Explain all of these scenarios and plans you have in place and how they’re going to be reached when they’re out of town.  What are the protocols that you need to follow if they’re out of town?

These are areas that elevate your service to a luxury service because all of these details are thought of and planned out in advance so that your client does not worry or think twice when your vacation comes up. 

Lastly, be careful who you are pushing off to the fall, or after summer. Be very specific as to when you will be getting in touch with them. But also, be very careful how many people you’re pushing out at the exact same time. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me! Email me at or send me a DM on social media.

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