Built to Build: Blog

Systemize Your Construction Business – The Modern Craftsman Podcast with Ken Alger


Development of construction business systems enables you to provide accurate pricing for your work, track your productivity, and allows your business to operate without the owner getting bogged down in the whirlwind of the day-to-day.


Ken Alger, @RIwoodworker on Instagram and the Owner of K. Alger Woodworking, was the guest on Episode 17 of the Modern Craftsman Podcast.

Ken tells the story of how he got started in the business, how he capitalized on a gap in the market and created a niche for himself.

But the real gold in the episode is when Ken described how he systematized his business from the beginning.

Ken described what I call the T.A.S.K. Method for creating construction business systems.

T.A.S.K. method for developing construction business systems:

Track, Analyze, Standardize, Know

Step 1: TRACK

Record the time you and your employees spend on production tasks.  This can be as simple as keeping a notebook with you, as Ken suggests in the podcast, and writing down how much time it takes to perform any given task.  A properly designed Time Card system with Billing Codes will do this as well.

Check out this FREE online course I developed that trains you how to use Google Sheets to develop a digital Time Card System.

Step 2: Analyze

Once you have your time tracked, then you can build a database of production for tasks and compare that to previous performance.  You can also use this database to project future production and analyze the performance of your employees and your business.

Step 3: Standardize

You have tracked and analyzed your production activities.  Now you can stop doing things that don’t make you money and focus on the activities and methods that do make you money.  When you have this level of clarity, then it is time to standardize these activities with a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).  This is the key to growing a profitable construction business.  Your SOP is a document used to onboard new employees, train existing employees, and free yourself from reinventing the wheel each time you do a task.  Standardizing your business operations with an SOP enables everyone in your business to perform their jobs and allows the business owner to focus on the big picture instead of the day-to-day grind.

Step 4:  Know

Once you have tracked, analyzed, and standardized your operations you will know exactly how long your production activities take, how much you need to charge for your work, and you can literally predict the future of your business.

SUMMARY: T.A.S.K. Method for Construction Business Systems

Knowing what you do (your niche), how you need to do it (your operations), and why you are doing it (your results), will enable you to get where you want to go (growth for the business and a future for your employees).


Ken and I worked together for several months on his systems.  I didn’t help him create his systems – he is way ahead of the curve.

But what I love about working with Ken is that he is always looking to improve his existing systems.  We adjusted his millwork estimating procedures to increase speed and accuracy and re-vamped his Time Card system and Billing Codes (using this model) to increase the efficiency of his office personnel.

Ken has become a friend and a colleague and we enjoy bouncing business ideas and strategies off each other.  We have also developed an ‘Oprah-like’ book club.  The pseudo-book club doesn’t have the same worldwide effect as Oprah’s, but we are working on that.


Thanks to John Hourihan, Nick Schiffer, and Tyler Grace for producing this great episode of The Modern Craftsman Podcast.

And a huge thanks to Ken Alger for sharing his knowledge.  His wisdom will save construction businesses.

If you want to streamline your construction business and DOUBLE your profits next month…

download my FREE book: The Paperwork Punch List

Shawn Van Dyke is a construction industry consultant, business coach, and mentor to skilled trade business owners.  He is a Brand Ambassador for Fine Homebuilding, travels across the US as a keynote speaker, seminar presenter, and the author of The Paperwork Punch List: 28 Days to Streamline Your Construction Business.  Contact Shawn to have him speak at your event or invite him to train your team.

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