A Homeowner’s Guide to Claiming Clean Energy Tax Credits

Man installs solar panels on the roof of a house

A current topic for discussion across many households is the use of renewable energy alternatives and sustainable appliances to reduce our carbon footprints. As a nation, it is vital to consider employing environmentally friendly home inclusions as we all play a part in improving the world for future generations.

Even the federal government recognizes this, following the introduction of new policies to the Inflation Reduction Act that rewards homeowners with a tax credit for employing energy-efficient practices into homes. Not only is this a responsible environmental choice for homeowners but it is also an economically responsible one. As we move towards cleaner energy sources, choosing efficient appliances can play a part in reducing household energy bills for years to come.

But what are the eligibility requirements for these tax credits? And how can you access them? In this article, our home experts will delve into the tax credit plan, if you can access it and how to apply for the tax credit itself. Let’s get started:

What are clean energy tax credits?

The clean energy tax credits provide taxpayers with money back as an incentive for homeowners to install energy-efficient solutions as we move towards a clean energy future. Simply claim this credit on your annual tax return to reduce the federal taxes commonly paid as a homeowner.

There are two different credit options available under the residential section: the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit and the Residential Energy Property Credit.

What products are eligible for energy tax credits?

There are a variety of home improvement products available for the tax credit including:

  • Roofing
  • Solar panels
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Skylights
  • Insulation
  • Biomass stoves
  • Central air conditioners
  • Water heaters and coolers
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Wind turbines
  • Lighting
  • Appliances
  • Home backup power storage
  • Electric or natural gas heat pumps
  • Solar water heating products
  • Oil furnaces and hot water boilers
  • Panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits or feeders

Alternatively, a range of energy suppliers offer rebates on certain appliances. The Energy Star website has a rebate finder that locates based on your ZIP code the rebates available currently. Some home improvements and energy-efficient solutions are eligible for both the rebate and the tax credit.

What qualifies for the energy tax credit?

There is a range of home improvement components that can be claimed through the energy tax credit initiative. These are detailed in the table below:

Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit:

ProductCredit Available
Building Envelope Components
Exterior doors30% of costs up to $250 per door & a total of $500
Exterior windows & skylights 30% of costs up to $600
Insulation Materials/Systems & Air Sealing Materials/Systems30% of costs up to $150
Home Energy Audits30% of costs up to $150
Residential Energy Property
Central air conditioners30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces and hot water boilers30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Improvements or replacements to panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits, or feeders30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Heat pumps, biomass stoves and biomass boilers
Electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters30% of costs (including labor)
Electric or natural gas heat pumps30% of costs (including labor)
Biomass stoves and biomass boilers30% of costs (including labor)

Residential Clean Energy Property Credit:

ProductCredit Available
Solar panels30% off the total cost
Solar water heaters30% off the total cost
Fuel cell property expenditures30% off the total cost
Small wind energy property expenditures30% off the total cost
Geothermal heat pump property expenditures30% off the total cost
Battery storage technology expenditures30% off the total cost

Is there a limit to what can be claimed?

Yes, there are limits to what can be claimed under the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit as tabulated below. The credit is only available for certain energy-efficient upgrades made to the primary residence such as insulation, windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, and water heaters.

The credit is not available for any type of energy-efficient appliances, such as refrigerators or washing machines, and not all models of these qualifying upgrades are eligible for the credit. There are also limits on the amount of credit that can be claimed for each type of improvement and the credit is subject to a lifetime cap.

Additionally, the credit is only available for upgrades installed in the current tax year and it may not be carried forward. The credit also has an expiration date, which means that it is only available for a certain period of time.

ProductAggregate Yearly Tax Credit Maximum
Building Envelope Components
Home Energy Audits
Energy Property
Electric water heaters
Natural water heaters
Electric heat pumps
Natural gas heat pumps
Biomass stoves
Biomass boilers
Total maximum tax credit maximum$3,200

However, there is no total limit to the Residential Clean Energy Property Credit currently.

How to claim the energy tax credits?

To claim the energy tax credits offered by the federal government, homeowners need to complete Form 5695 as part of their annual federal income tax return. This form can be found on the IRS website or obtained from a tax professional.

The credit is available for certain energy-efficient upgrades made to the primary residence such as insulation, windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, and water heaters. It’s important to keep in mind that the credit amount may vary depending on the type of improvement and the date it was installed. To qualify, homeowners must have installed the upgrades during the tax year for which they are claiming the credit.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the credit has a lifetime cap, so homeowners should keep track of the total amount of credit claimed over multiple years. Homeowners are also encouraged to keep all receipts and documentation as proof of the improvements made and the cost of the materials, to ensure they can claim the maximum credit amount possible.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we strongly support the energy tax credit plan available to homeowners in the U.S. This program provides a significant incentive for homeowners to invest in energy-efficient upgrades for their homes, which not only helps to lower their utility bills but also reduces the overall carbon footprint of the homes we build.

Our team knows firsthand the benefits of this program, as many Americans have been able to take advantage of these credits to make their homes more energy efficient and encourages you to also ask your tax advisor for additional energy saving credits that you may qualify for.

If you are looking for sustainable and energy-efficient home designs, be sure to contact our local team to learn more.

Why Having a Support Network is Essential in the Building Industry


Builders are constantly running uphill. Turning another person’s life savings into something special, while ensuring your co-workers are safe and running a profitable business is a lot of responsibility. That’s why it’s important to remember that you’re never alone.

The building industry has weathered a storm of challenges in the last few years. The industry halted when the pandemic started, and then all of a sudden government grants caused sharp increases in demand, inflation, and supply chain delays.

The challenges were enough to cause many businesses to collapse, and it’s only natural that this has taken a toll on mental health and wellbeing in the industry. That’s why it’s so important to have a support network to turn to.

You’re Not Alone

In a support network, you are likely to find someone who has experienced your problem before. When you’re trying to scale up, all of a sudden you have to go from being a builder to a business owner. As you bring on more team members your risks and responsibilities grow, and people just assume that you know what you’re doing.

Then suddenly, you’re managing compliance, HR, recruitment, finance, sales, and accounting. There is a lot to work through and you still need to ensure that your projects run smoothly. You may find yourself working overtime and the weight of responsibility, lack of downtime, and stress of encountering unfamiliar scenarios can be challenging. So, it’s important to have people to go to for help.

Try to form mentoring relationships and alliances with other builders in the industry who are willing to give back. Having relationships with experts in other fields of business and leadership will also help you to tackle the challenges of scaling up. Most importantly, make sure that you continue talking to your friends and family, and remember that you can access professional mental health support services.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we encourage all of our franchisees to pick up the phone as soon as a problem arises. We’ve all asked for advice more than once and are willing to share it back. We also have finance, HR, marketing, and mental health experts readily available for anyone who needs it.

Everyone in the industry is facing the same hurdles and we know that we’re stronger together. You’ll be amazed how quickly a problem can be solved when you’re brave enough to raise your hand and ask for help.

Stronger Together

Every industry faces ups and downs, but networks offer resilience in the face of uncertainty. The issues that the building industry has recently faced seemed to pop up overnight and haven’t been easy to navigate.

However, it’s easier to solve a problem when you’re not the only one working on it. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we’ve leveraged our combined expertise and shared knowledge from throughout the network to work our way through the pandemic. Regular and open communication is important to us.

When it came to getting the best rates for carpenters or securing materials on time amid talent and supply chain shortages, having access to a support network helped. Every franchisee is willing to share their knowledge to solve a problem because it benefits the whole group and we have a diverse group of professional experts who inject best practice business thinking into our network. With strong systems and the right foundations, you can weather any storm.

Bring the Joy Back into Building

Construction is a male-dominated industry and often builders find it hard to talk about things that are weighing them down. It is also highly regulated and involves a lot of safety risks

Not only does that come with a big personal burden, but it also brings financial risk. Many builders are trying to secure financial freedom by building more homes, which naturally puts pressure on their plates. They also don’t have a lot of time to spend with family and friends.

That’s why it’s important to build relationships and take time out. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we often bring our franchisees together for catch-ups, breakouts, and trips away. It’s reinvigorating to talk to people who are facing the same challenges and have the same dreams. Many of us don’t realize how much we need that time until we take it.

The Power of a Network

When you have a network of good people around you, you don’t have to be lonely in leadership, constantly wondering if you’re making the right choices or not. It’s important to invest in relationships because together, it’s easier to share learnings and solve problems.

The Power of Brand in Generating Home Building Demand


We create brands to make our businesses easily recognizable. Brands are built on compelling and consistently repeated messages, and they set us apart in the marketplace. By putting your business at the front of mind with consumers, they have the power to create long-term, sustainable demand.

When you’re trying to run a profitable building business, one of the last things you want to do is spend your evenings on marketing. Thinking about generating more leads is incredibly difficult when you’re busy building homes. You might also be putting every last dollar into the jobs that you are currently working on and don’t have enough capacity to work on building your brand for the future.

However, if you really want to scale up and generate a consistent flow of leads in the natural upswings and downturns of the building industry, then you need to build a reputable, trusted, and distinct brand. There are a lot of small builders in the market and the bigger players are taking up more space, so it’s becoming increasingly hard to compete.

Customers Need to Know Who You Are

It takes a while to get started as a builder. It’s not easy to be discovered and you need to have a couple of successful jobs under your belt before word of mouth will spread. That’s why it’s important to have a distinct brand and to differentiate yourself from your competitors from day one. Decide what you want to be known for and then promote it. This makes it easier for your customers to share memorable stories about your business with their friends and family.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we’ve recognized that our distinct offer to the market is that we build joy. We guide our customers through the home-building journey, and every experience that the customer has across our website sets that tone. We know that the process of building a home is emotionally and financially intensive, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. So, we ensure that every brand experience makes potential customers feel safe in our hands.

There are also a huge variety of marketing channels on which you can be found and your website is the first point of call for building trust with new customers. Google ads, social media, magazines, display ads, and TV can all be used to encourage people to check out your website and learn more about your business.

Brands Simplify Complex Decisions

Building a home is one of the biggest investments that most people will ever make. You can bet that customers will do their research. They will compare your price and offer with other builders, as it’s likely to be their first time designing a home and navigating the complexities of the building process. The home-building journey is so complex that it now takes 22 months for customers to sign off on a builder after making the initial decision to build a home.

If you can guide customers throughout this complex journey, then they are far more likely to work with you. Customers have high expectations for the experiences that they have with brands, so you need to ensure that every interaction adds value to their lives, while building trust, authority, and expertise.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we achieve this by creating a huge library of educational content about the home building journey. From getting design ideas for the bathroom to selecting the right materials for a splash back, we ensure that potential and existing customers have advice and buying guides for every scenario.

These resources can be found via Google searches and we also advertise them to people who we know are in the market based on their online behaviour. This type of content can also be shared on social media or in email marketing campaigns so that you’re continuing to nurture relationships with potential customers.

It’s a lot of work. But if you really want to scale your business, then you have to put your customer at the center of your brand, keep them interested, and set the tone for the building journey ahead.

Our franchisees have experienced the difference of having a national brand behind them. When they are the local builder who empowers customers with knowledge and has the backing of a national network, people feel far more confident in their abilities. As a result, it’s easier to stand out from competitors in the selection process and sell more homes.

Trust is Essential

It’s important that customers know what you stand for, especially in a difficult market in which many builders are falling over due to supply issues, project delays, and price increases. When customers are constantly seeing builders go into liquidation, delays, and huge cost blowouts, they will pay for safety and security.

Customers want to feel secure that their home will be built on time, in budget, and without corners being cut. That’s why you need to work hard to build a reliable reputation. There is a level of consistency and quality that is non-negotiable for customers, and you need to showcase that you can deliver.

You may also assume that customers are logical when they make decisions, however, a huge part of their decision-making process is emotional and 95% of purchase decisions are subconscious. So, if your brand is perceived as helpful or experienced in every interaction, customers will be more inclined to work with you.

Encourage Customers to Bank on You

People will invest in quality, safety, and security. It’s why customers go to nice restaurants or buy expensive cars. Builders often fall into the trap of thinking that customers are solely purchasing based on the price. However, people are setting up their lives when they build a home and a trusted brand is a brand that they will bank on.

The Impact of Diversity in the Building Industry


After facing the challenges of the pandemic and spikes in demand, the building industry is in need of skilled people. While the sector has traditionally been male-dominated, there are many benefits to tapping into a broader and more diverse pool of talent. 

The high demand for housing, combined with supply chain disruption, sharp inflation, border closures, and a lack of tradespeople has created an unpredictable environment in the building industry.

To navigate the uncertainty, builders need to build teams with diverse experiences, skills, and perspectives. While seasoned builders might know the ins and outs of the industry, they can find new business opportunities by tapping into perspectives that differ from their own lived experiences and focus areas.

Why? Because when we can illuminate a problem from different angles, we have a far lower risk of blind spots tripping us up. While we can’t predict the future, diversity and experience can help us make better decisions within the scenarios we’re presented in any given moment.

Diversity Helps You to Relate to More Customers

While the industry simply needs more skilled tradespeople to keep up with demand, creating pathways for a broader and more diverse pool of talent can also help you increase your market share. When you embrace diversity, you can attract a greater variety of candidates, who can then naturally relate to the diverse needs and requirements of your customers.

Diversity in the business environment now extends beyond more than gender, race, and ethnicity. It also includes employees with diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures, and abilities.

The movement also applies to the building industry, as a home being built right can be one of the greatest experiences in life and a diverse team can give you the insight needed to support others in this important life journey. All of us have a rich mix of cultures and reflecting the diversity of the local community within your team can help you connect with more people.

Diversity Helps You to Become More Creative

Appointing talent from new backgrounds at the fringes of the building industry can also be a huge competitive advantage. People with alternative backgrounds such as sustainability, legal, design, engineering, project management, or HR can provide unique perspectives that could boost your profitability and help you capture market share in a challenging environment. In fact, companies with more diverse management teams have been shown to have 19% higher revenues due to innovation.

When your old ways of doing things aren’t working for you anymore, you need to tap into new ideas and resources. That’s why diversity of experience can give you the strategic upper hand. Rather than using the same points of view, thoughts, and suggestions for problems that need unique solutions, you can tap into different perspectives to support creativity and problem-solving.

Diversity Drives Productivity

When you create a culture that welcomes a broader range of opinions and perspectives, you can maximize everyone’s potential. It’s impossible to be good at everything and by tapping into diverse experiences, you might find better ways to design or more efficient site management processes. A simple tweak could add significant value to your business, helping you deliver better outcomes to everyone, including your customers

A stressful situation might become manageable when you’ve got a team member who has a unique approach or has dealt with the same problem before. While one leader in your business might be exceptional at rallying the troops and building morale, another leader might have a bigger focus on how to get the job done. Difference skillsets can complement each other and drive productivity.

For example, a survey conducted by Pew Research Centre recently demonstrated that women are 34% better at working out compromises, 34% more likely to be honest and ethical, and 25% better at mentoring. As such, they are a huge asset in the building industry and we often see our female franchisees develop strong relationships, deliver high customer satisfaction, and create an empowering workplace culture.

Broaden the Brief

The building industry changes daily and we simply need more skilled people. It’s important that we start designing our success profiles around the expertise required to thrive in an uncertain future, rather than those that worked in the past. Diversity also relies on an inclusive culture, so it’s important that we carry a learning mindset and create a welcoming environment for unique perspectives to be shared.

The Challenges of Estimating in the Current Building Landscape


Complex market dynamics have created a large gap between supply and demand in the building industry. As a result, the cost of building has risen quickly and delivering an accurate estimate has never been so important.

The building industry has been unstable. The high demand for housing sparked by government stimuli has combined with supply chain issues, to create sharp price increases, a lack of trades, and project delays.

Building is a cash flow business and it’s become difficult to deliver accurate estimates and stay profitable. Some builders who didn’t have the right margins or contingencies in place to handle the unexpected have been forced to close their doors.

That’s why it’s essential to understand the challenges of estimating in the current building landscape and how to overcome them.

Rapid Inflation

Government grants sparked an influx of fixed-priced contracts during the pandemic, creating a huge amount of financial risk for builders who hadn’t factored inflation into their estimates. When the cost of supplies inevitably went up, they were already locked into the price they negotiated with the customer at the time.

The government is continuing to pull back its economic support measures and inflation rates are going to continue to rise. So, it’s important to continue applying recent learnings and put buffers and contingencies in place in your estimates.

If you’re still doing estimates based on spreadsheets or the information in your head, then you’re exposing yourself to a huge amount of risk. When you rely on manual processes, you’re not able to see price increases and factor them into your quotes.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we use a proprietary software system called GJ5 to track the latest prices offered by our extensive network of suppliers and ensure that they are updated in real-time so that estimates are built off the correct rates.

Knowing that we’re calculating estimates from the right price at the time and then accommodating for inflation with a safe margin, gives our builders and customers confidence that the job will be able to run smoothly. Estimating software also puts you in a better place to hand over the critical role of estimating to your sales team as your business scales.

Uncertain Supply

How do you put together an estimate when suppliers can’t even tell you when they will have the materials you need in stock? It’s a catch-22. There might be a shortage of materials and project delays, but you still need to send quotes to secure future work.

That’s why you need to find strategies to increase your buying power and showcase the reliability and momentum of your work. Secure supplier agreements will give you more leverage and control when times get tough. If you can also showcase reliability and momentum in your projects, then you’re more likely to be able to procure supplies at a workable price.

The franchisees at G.J. Gardner homes have the advantage of leveraging the buying power and reputability of a national network, while still being able to build their credibility as a local builder.

Diminishing Trust

When people see builders liquidating, project delays, and huge cost blowouts in the news, it’s only natural that they will start scrutinizing quotes more closely. So, it’s important to be able to put yourself in their shoes and instill a feeling of security.

This starts with learning deeply about your customer’s needs from the get-go. An hour of discovery with a customer does not put you in any position to make the right recommendations and deliver an accurate estimate.

Honesty and reliability are things that people will pay for, especially when they are pouring their life savings into their first home or investing their hard-earned capital into a better future.

Avoid the urge to give a prospect a fast quote, drop your prices, and then cut corners down the track. When you take the time to understand and cater to their true needs, you’re able to simplify the emotionally intensive journey of selecting a builder and establishing a home.

Delivering on a customer’s goals with integrity will only build your trusted reputation and bring on more work in the long run.

Trust the process

Builders have been through tough inflationary periods and it’s essential to have a reliable and accurate estimating system in place. When you use the right system, don’t cut corners, protect your margins, and operate with contingencies, you can protect your position when the tough times arise. An accurate estimate sets the tone for the rest of your project and creates the momentum you need to grow your business.

How to Maximize Sales Conversions with a Model Home Portfolio


Customers need to trust that you can build a home to the standard and quality they expect. That’s why it’s important to have a display home, a pinnacle example of your work that helps potential customers to imagine what you could achieve together.

A display home helps builders to showcase their capability, quality, and expertise while helping potential customers imagine what their dream home could look like.

In recent times, customers have seen many builders go into liquidation and major delays in the headlines, so it’s easy to imagine why they might want to walk through a display home before putting down a deposit.

However, building your first display home is expensive and you need capital to do it. It’s a big risk for a builder in their early days and you will also need to invest in salespeople to manage the additional leads that will walk in the door. That’s why it’s important to know how to maximize your return on investment.

Use Your Display Home to Build Trust

It’s hard to create that sense of knowing that this place is just right before a home is built. Showing a customer a flyer or images of your previous work through a website is one way to convince customers of your capabilities. However, a display home helps you to create the wow factor that can inspire a customer to buy. It enables you to simulate a walk-through before the customer’s actual home is built, injecting a sense of safety and security into your brand.

You can create a strong first impression while educating potential customers about the home-building process ahead of them. Most customers will be building their home for the first time, so take any opportunity to showcase your expertise and build a personal relationship.

You should recruit strong salespeople to welcome, inform, and qualify prospects who walk through your display home, with the goal of winning trust and encouraging your ideal customer to sign up.

Showcase Your Craftsmanship

Walking a customer through a display home allows them to explore the finishings, details, materials, and brands that you could use in their project. You can also show your building techniques and different product options so that customers can start envisioning themselves in their future home. It’s an opportunity to showcase your workmanship, demonstrate your value, and justify your price. Customers will also have a tangible experience of the floorplan, getting a feel for the flow and functionality of your home design.

Prepare your sales team to be able to talk about every detail that has gone into the home. They should be ready to talk about tiling, brickwork, windows, energy efficiency, and more. When the longevity of the home is clear, your sales team can negotiate healthy margins and help your business scale.

Interact, Discover, and Negotiate

Walking a customer through a display home is great one-on-one time for your sales consultants. It’s important that they allow the customer to ask detailed questions about what comes as a standard in the home, as well as the other extras and upgrades that are possible. Through this guided consultation, the customer will see certain details that jump out at them, gaining a stronger idea of what they do and don’t like. If you have a skilled sales consultant, they will ask the right questions and develop a good understanding of the customer’s tastes and budget from day one.

This discovery process turns pricing requests into conversations, and your salespeople can educate customers about the value of the workmanship that goes into your home. It’s very hard to achieve the same amount of progress just over the phone or by email, so the display home experience can take you out of price wars and into productive working relationships that respect your margins.

Display Homes Help You Gain Momentum.

Building your first display home is challenging. It requires a big investment of time and capital, but it can help your business to scale. At G.J. Gardner Homes, our team helps strategize so that our franchisees can reap the benefits as fast as possible.

Every display home is displayed on our website so franchisees can benefit from the huge variety of designs across our national network. As a result, they can leverage the benefits of a national network and foster trusting relationships in their local communities to connect to more buyers.

How to Recruit, Train, and Engage the Right Staff to Drive Capacity


Demand for homes spiked during the pandemic, putting pressure on jobs and inflating wages, while border closures have limited the supply of workers. If builders want to continue driving business growth in the current environment, it’s time to get innovative in the ways we attract and retain top talent.

Securing and retaining the right talent is crucial to your growth. When you’re a builder and you want to scale up your business, you have to start bringing the right people on board so that you can work on your business, rather than in it, or risk becoming a productivity bottleneck.

Talent, financial performance, and growth are all tightly intertwined, so it’s only natural that retaining, developing, and upskilling staff will start falling under your remit as your business grows.

However, with international job supply restricted and employee expectations around wages, flexibility, and purpose growing, it’s important that you think holistically about how you can make the employee experience with your business more attractive.

Refine Your Recruitment Process

It’s important to get recruitment right, and never make a quick hire out of urgency or desperation. The cost of having stop/starts can be massive, financially and operationally. Not only does your investment in onboarding and training go to waste, but you also find yourself back at square one of the recruitment process. Hiring a person who doesn’t compliment or add to your internal culture can also take its toll on existing staff.

That’s why it’s important to add rigor to your recruitment process. For example, ask your candidates to tell you about a difficult problem that they have worked on. If they have the experience that you are looking for, they should be able to answer the question with great depth and detail.

The approach that they took and the way they dealt with people while solving a problem should also give you a signal as to whether or not they will be a good culture fit. Ask in-depth questions that assess every skill set that you need for the role, and look for a learning mindset around the skills that are more flexible and trainable.

Remember that offering competitive wages is table stakes, but wages aren’t also the only deciding factor in working with an employer. Also, consider if you have established a strong employer brand and reputation within your community. Do you know what really matters to talented individuals in the building industry? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re struggling to attract applicants:

  • Is working in your business enjoyable?
  • What’s the employee experience like?
  • Are you offering competitive wages?
  • Does the work align with your ideal candidate’s values?
  • Can you offer flexibility?
  • Do you offer learning and growth opportunities?

Invest in Upskilling

Never underestimate the amount of support that a new team member will need to succeed. It’s important to make meaningful investments into new and existing team members so that they can grow as individuals while contributing more value back to your business. Constantly facilitating education and upskilling is completely necessary given the dynamic market pressures and the need for technical skills in the building industry.

It’s also important to look at your onboarding process. Ensure that you have a clear ramp-up plan so that your new team members can hit the ground running and make sure they understand how to be successful in their role.

Your role as a leader is to make your team as productive as it can be, so make sure that you give your team time and support. Regular one-on-ones are a great way to share knowledge, check in on progress towards your goals and address any concerns before they turn into problems.

If you want employees to look within your business for their next move, then also make sure that you create more visibility over internal opportunities. Create clear skills-based pathways toward future roles and co-create development plans. Transparent and fair internal mobility is essential if you want to keep staff engaged.

Engage Through Purpose

Having a clearly defined purpose helps your business better align with customer needs and gives it a competitive edge. Purposeful businesses also tend to have higher rates of employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

Employees are demanding new levels of flexibility, wellbeing, and purpose beyond extrinsic financial motivators as part of the overall employer value proposition. As Aaron Mckewen, a behavioural scientist at Gartner recently highlighted, “people’s worlds became smaller during lockdowns and they faced a very real existential health threat. As a result, millions of employees deeply reflected on what was important to them and the role of work in their lives.

So, if you have a business that offers a product or service that truly resonates with customers, then you will find it easier to hire people that will help your business grow and envision better ways of doing things.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, a core part of our vision is, ‘for each of our franchises to be profitable and trusted by more families than any of our competitors in our communities.’ Every customer should be happy to recommend us to their closest friend and family because we understand the role that their home will play in their lives and that naturally attracts purpose-driven builders to join our network.

When you know that you have values-aligned team members on board, you’ll be far more comfortable delegating work and will be able to spend more time planning new growth pathways for your business.

Pay it Forward If you look after employees, they will look after your customers. Build times will improve, you will have better site supervision and the quality of your product will go up, along with client satisfaction, cash flow, and job cost control. The employee experience is important for both your business profitability and reputation within your local community.

How Scheduling Software Improves Your Cash Flow and Volume of Slabs


Building homes on time and within budget is essential. Not only does completing a project quickly prevent inflation from reducing your profit margin, but it also means you can lay your next slab down faster, improve your cash flow, and build a trusted reputation.

However, labor shortages and supply issues are making it hard to stay on track and it’s amazing to think that so many of us are still managing our project plans on paper or in spreadsheets.

What is Scheduling Software?

Scheduling software has everything you need to build a home on time and in budget. It can also help you to scale up your business by empowering you to manage multiple projects at a time.

The right tool will support you all the way from sale through to maintenance. It will help you deal with project scopes, estimates, procurement, task allocation, and financial management.

Scheduling software is also web-based so you and your team can access and update your plans from anywhere.

That means you can have your evenings and weekends back.

Start Forward Planning

Every action you take today has flow-on effects, and project management tools (picture Gantt charts) can help you to visualise workflows across multiple projects. When you sign a contract with your customer, you make a promise to deliver their future home on time. So, it’s important to use a tool that’s more effective than a simple calendar and break down the crucial steps to get you all the way from the start to completion and warranty.

A good scheduling software platform will help you to zoom out and look at your critical path across multiple projects at a time. It’s that type of forward planning that helps you anticipate bottlenecks and navigate the complexities of turning a slab into a home.

Keep the Cash Flowing

When you’re putting together a quote, it’s essential to get the price right. If your estimates aren’t an accurate reflection of costs, then you might not have enough cash flow to secure supplies and labor at key phases of your build.

This will only cause delays and the last thing you want is late fees and slippage to reduce your margins.

A good scheduling tool will also have a robust estimating system so that you’re on track from day one. It includes an integrated supplier pricing system and item recipes so that you can quote quickly and accurately.

Rather than relying on yourself to catch price increases and update every quote manually, an estimating system will automatically update any time a linked supplier adjusts its price.

Monitor Your Progress

You can set up automatic reports that will help you stay on track. Cash flow forecasting reports will help you to better anticipate major expenses while vendor and supplier reports can help you figure out where you might run into resource allocation issues.

Tracking your progress in real-time can save you time, money, and headache. If you don’t know where your actual costs are tracking with estimated costs, then you won’t sense a problem arising and will hit bottlenecks.

Plus, when you keep your finger on the pulse, it’s a lot easier to keep your site supervisors and clients informed. You will anticipate if you’re going to run into delays and can take corrective actions when they count while resetting expectations early.

Put Your Energy Into Shifting the Dial If you’re struggling to scale up your business, then it might be time to investigate GJ5, which is G.J. Gardner Homes’ proprietary home building software. When you go from spreadsheet chaos to cloud-based calm, you’ll become more profitable, be able to manage more projects at once, and have happier customers.

How Builders Can Manage Their Margins Under Supply Chain Stress


The building industry is experiencing its own crisis. The high demand for housing combined with supply chain disruption and a shortage of labor has resulted in price increases. As a result, many builders are losing control of their margins.

It’s a tough situation, but there are a variety of levers that builders can pull to get back in the driver’s seat and stay profitable.

  1. Build Your Network

If you have a strong network behind you, you can improve your bargaining power. Everyone is trying to protect their own margins, so creating mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers will help you to construct supply deals that offer better service, supply, timing, and prices.

Suppliers simply don’t have enough materials to go around, but they are more likely to choose buyers with momentum and certainty in front of them. For example, the builders who are a part of the G.J. Gardner Homes franchise network leverage collective buying power and scale to secure supply. They also focus on building a trusted reputation in their communities to ensure that they are a preferred employer for local tradespeople.

  1. Focus on Your Finances

It’s essential to have visibility over your real financial position at all times. You should be making a profit every time you build a house, but that’s difficult to do if you’re not tracking your expenses in a timely way. A lot of builders manage their cash flow in spreadsheets or take a glance at their bank accounts to check if they’re on track. It’s an error-prone method that often gets ignored.

If you invest in financial management software, you can easily track your overheads, forecast your profit margins, and control job costs. There are so many simple actions you can take today to avoid an unprofitable situation in the future.

  1. Deliver Accurate Quotes

Every quote you share should accurately reflect costs and have a healthy margin factored in so that you have a buffer against the very real risk of inflation. However, this is difficult to do if you don’t have an advanced estimating system. Normally, if a supplier adjusts a price, you have to remember to reprice the job manually.

However, the estimating software used within the G.J. Gardner Homes network automatically updates supplier pricing and estimates. As a result, it’s easier to produce accurate quotes quickly and identify where margins are being eroded.

  1. Negotiate a Healthy Mark-Up and Margin

Rather than discounting or sending your customers a fast quote, try negotiating a price with a comfortable mark-up and profit margin factored in. A home is one of the biggest financial investments that a customer will ever make and many would rather work with a reliable builder at a higher price, than an unprofitable one who might be forced to cut corners when times get tough.

Inflation is a risk for you and your customer. If you’re going to be running at a loss and can’t deliver on a job, then the customer also loses time and money. While selling at a higher price might reduce your conversion rate, a reputation for reliability will drive demand and sustainable growth.

  1. Review Your Contracts

The sharp rise of inflation has hurt many builders that sold many houses with a thin margin when the COVID-19 government grants were released. Fixed-price contracts that were signed at the beginning of the pandemic might only just be moving into the build stage, and the increased cost of goods combined with late delivery fees are having a huge impact on profitability.

That’s why it’s so important to look at clauses and contingencies that will protect you in the long run. It’s never been a better time to seek external legal advice and talk to other builders about how they’re navigating contract law to create more security for themselves in uncertain times.

  1. Keep Up the Pace

Your overheads won’t stop just because your work slows down. Speed is the key to unlocking cash flow because a complete job means you can move on to the next one, drive revenue and cover your costs. It also gives inflation less time to impact your margins.

A scheduling system can help you procure labour and supplies on time. It will help you identify who and what needs to be on-site and when. Once you can shift from working in your business to on it, it’s easier to identify bottlenecks and ensure that every critical path to job completion keeps moving forward.

It’s Not a Race to the Bottom Line Thin margins don’t leave room for error. If you have the right systems in place, you can set your prices with precision, negotiate a healthy margin, build a trusted reputation, and scale.

How a CRM Can Help You Sell More Homes


The path to purchase in the home-building journey is long and when a potential customer first reaches out to you, it could be one to two years before they are ready to sign off. They are most likely about to make the biggest investment in their life, so it’s important to nurture your relationship with them throughout the decision-making process.

While customers are exploring the market, it’s important that you do your groundwork and continue building a relationship with them. However, it can be difficult to keep up with every single lead when demand is high. That’s why having a customer relationship management (CRM) system is essential.

What is a CRM?

A CRM is a software system that helps business owners manage their customer relationships. Once a lead enquires about your business, the CRM helps you track and nurture your ongoing relationship with them.

Why Do I Need a CRM?

When you’re too busy to even think about tomorrow, a CRM will help you nurture relationships with every lead so that you’re able to sign deals, become more profitable, and ensure that you have enough work flowing in within one to two years’ time. If you want to scale up your business, then it’s important to have a CRM.

How Can I Use a CRM to Sell More Homes?

  1. Understand Your Customers

As soon as a lead fills out a contact form on your website, their details will be stored in your CRM and you will be able to see information about how they found your website. If a lead calls your sales team or visits your display home, their details can be easily added to the CRM.

A CRM will help you get all of that information about every customer out of your head and on record for future reference. The lead’s contact record will become a central source of truth, with contact details and any information you have gathered from your conversations safely saved away. Recording every interaction ensures that you’re able to walk into every follow-up conversation with the right context and ensure that you’re meeting their needs. It’s the experience and attention that your customer deserves, especially when they have so many options out on the table in front of them.

If you or any other salesperson in your business is able to consult with the customer and then remember every distinct need that they express, you’re far more likely to be able to build trust, deliver a quote that will meet their needs, win the work, and make the home building process far more rewarding for everyone involved.

  1. Solve Their Problems

For many people, building a home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and there is a lot to learn along the way. If you’re able to proactively guide leads throughout the process, you’re far more likely to earn their trust.

A CRM will help you to follow up with timely and relevant prompts. You can set up reminders so that you can reach out to them again at the right time, as well as automated nurturing mechanisms, such as an email series and remarketing campaigns that keep your business front of mind. You can follow up with any information that you like, as long as it’s helpful and valuable.

There are so many details that have to come together in order to build a beautiful home. From the layout to the door handles, it’s a lot for a customer to work through. If you’re always one step ahead of your customer, you can become their home-building guide and solve their problems with minimal additional effort. It’s that level of expertise and attentiveness that will help you to charge what you’re worth and win more work.

The fortune is in the follow-up, especially when the path to purchase is long. So, it’s essential to have a CRM system that helps you to stay in touch with every customer.

  1. Set Your Targets and Hit Them

CRMs have a variety of out-of-the-box reports that will keep your sales and marketing efforts on track. Building is a cash flow business and the industry has its own ups and downs. Just because you have leads today, doesn’t mean that you will have a steady flow of business tomorrow.

A CRM will help you to look at how many leads you have in your sales pipeline, and use historical data to understand how many are likely to convert. It’s also easy to calculate your average deal size, close rate, and time to close so that you can forecast how much work you’re likely to have in the future.

With that kind of insight in front of you, a CRM will help you to plan forward, stay profitable, and scale.

A CRM Will Help You Become Customer-Centric

It’s getting harder and harder for builders to deliver the types of experiences that customers expect. That’s why you need the right technology in place. In a project-based industry where customers have multiple options, it’s important that you can use a CRM to build relationships, personalize the experience, and set yourself apart on something other than the lowest price.