Why Winter’s the Best Time to Build!

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it's only natural to start thinking about holiday cheer, warm family getaways and winding things down until spring. Why press on over the winter when you can procrastinate?

As a builder, we see this every year: the summer is busy, the fall is busy, and then the winter is a construction black hole. No one wants to start until it gets warm! What many people don't know, however, is that there are many advantages to building and renovating through the winter.

Here are just a few reasons why you should avoid the winter procrastination trap:

1) Greater Efficiencies and Availability: More contractors are available and looking for work in the winter. This often results in better pricing and contractor availability for your project. That means tighter scheduling, less downtime and often a better overall cost.

2) Quicker Permitting: The winter isn't just slow for builders, it's also a ghost town at the permitting office. Start building in the winter and you can get shorter lead times on permits which amounts to less hassles and less waiting.

3) Less Disturbance to Your Customers: For many of our business clients, the winter is THEIR slow time, too. By beginning a project in the winter, you can take full advantage of your downtime with the least disruption to your customers.

4) Set Yourself Up for Success in the Spring: If your goal is to be building in the spring, winter is a great opportunity to start and finish the design, permit and pricing phases. Thus, when spring comes, we can get “boots on-site” right away.

5) We Work in the Cold: Foundations, framing, all interior work, some exterior work and even roofing are perfect examples of jobs that can be done throughout Winnipeg winters. As winter ends and spring approaches, this leaves us able to focus on patios, exterior painting and other minor weather-dependent jobs. This means we'll be out ASAP and your customers can be back in sooner for the patio season.

So why build in the winter? Procrastination is poor business! Wouldn't it feel great to say you had the most efficient winter on record? And wouldn’t you rather enjoy your summer running your business than spend it renovating?

Let’s take advantage of the full twelve months of 2018! Give me a call at (204) 942-6035 and let's chat about ways you can make the most of your winter.

The Health Inspector Isn’t the Only One Who Cares About Your Washrooms

Whether you're a restaurant, university or healthcare facility, it's about more than the health inspector when you plan your washroom renovation.

In restaurants, it's impossible to NOT connect the quality and cleanliness of a washroom with that of the kitchen. Trips to the loo are a key part of the overall hospitality experience and your attention to detail should reflect that.

Restrooms are also the perfect place to hammer home your design vision. Whether it's funky lighting or an inspired vanity, there are tons of clever ways to make your restroom a signature part of your business. Many Yelp and word of mouth reviews include a comment on the washrooms – for better or worse.

In sports and healthcare facilities, carefully designing restrooms to be as clean and sanitary as possible is essential. The health and safety of your clients depends on it. Shifting demographics have also led to a greater need for family change rooms rather than single-gender ones. Do your clients a service and design appropriately.

The same goes for planning and building for people with disabilities – if you want to be a leader in your field when it comes to inclusive design, the washrooms are a great place to start.

Furthermore, many government buildings, restaurants and shops are eliminating gendered washrooms entirely or at least partially, making transgender-friendly single washrooms the standard. As gender-inclusive washrooms become the norm, it's essential to stay current and design with care.

From Bailey’s restaurant to the Wellness Institute, we've renovated and recreated a wide range of washrooms throughout the city. You can view some of our work online, or contact us to learn more about what we can do for your business.

Getting Business By Just Showing Up

There are tons of great ways to earn new business. You can try outdoor advertising, social media, referral incentives, networking groups… the list goes on. My favourite marketing tool is also one of the most basic: it's simply showing up.

If you tell a client or prospective client you'll be there at noon, be there at noon! Simple right? If a client calls your office during business hours, make sure someone is there to answer the phone.

And being out of the office doesn't mean you're off the hook. I'm often jumping from jobsite to jobsite, but my staff never hesitates to give out my cell phone number and I answer whenever it's responsible.

If I can't answer the phone, I will call you back as soon as possible, every time. This sounds simple, and it is. It's basic accountability to your clients, contractors and potential clients.

On the flipside, if you're trying to get a hold of a new contact, don't just send an email and walk away. Show you care, show you're serious, and pick up the phone. If they don't answer, set a reminder to call back. Earn your business through hard work and persistence.

The same goes for handling product or service issues: don't avoid your clients. Deal with the problem and communicate the solution. Hold yourself accountable and be there for your customers.

If this all sounds simple, that's because it is! Keep in touch with clients and prospects and great things will happen. If you don't answer your phone or return calls, someone else will and they'll get your business.

I can only guess how many times we've been the second or third call, but the first to pick up. It's simple: just show up.

Do you have an awesome business building tip you'd like to share? Give me a call at (204) 942-6035 or email jaret@tractusprojects.com and I'd love to talk shop!

New Chairs Won’t Do: Why a Restaurant Reno is the Right Move

The good and bad news is that Winnipeggers are NOT shy with their opinions; if your restaurant needs a facelift, they'll tell you.

It might be a regular customer asking, "maybe it's time for new chairs?". Or maybe you see new customers walk through your doors, grimace and leave. Or maybe Mr. Health Inspector has been stopping by a little more than you'd like.

That being said, it's not always that clear or dire. For many restaurants, a timely renovation presents a number of fantastic opportunities.

Here are some great reasons to invest in a fresh new look and layout:

Image is Everything: The restaurant business is highly competitive and there's always something new and fresh popping up. A floor-to-ceiling renovation is the perfect way to draw in new clientele and make your lifers even more comfortable. They'll no longer need to say, "It doesn't look like much, but...".

New Tech and Trends: Maybe it's a new POS system or space for VLTs. Maybe it's a better duct system so your restaurant doesn't smell like grease. Maybe it's a smaller dining room with a new takeout counter because that's where most of your business comes from anyways. A great reno is more than a facelift, it should make you more efficient and boost your bottom line.

Greater Perceived Value: I recently spoke with one of our restaurant clients; since their renovation, they've seen an increase in sales, plus their servers have seen an increase in tips. When you improve your space, you'll increase the perceived value of your products which is good for everyone.

Cleanliness and Safety: If your dining rooms looks old and run down, people will expect the same of the kitchen… and usually they're right! A full reno will keep the rodents, bugs and health inspectors away.

Set Your Next Generation Up for Success: If you're running a family restaurant, please oh please fix it up before passing it along to the next generation. Taking over a restaurant is stressful enough without having to level it and start fresh.

Take Things to the Next Level: We moved in 2015 because we needed a different kind of space. We needed room for offices, a shop, compound, overhead doors and much more. And guess what: since then, our team has grown tremendously. When you give yourself the right space to expand, it's amazing what can happen.

These are just a few of the reasons why I look at renovations as investments, not costs. With so many food options out there, great food isn't enough. You need a great space too, built to maximize revenue and efficiency.

If you think you need more than new chairs, feel free to send me an email at jaret@tractusprojects.com or give me a call at (204) 942-6035 and I'd be happy to walk you through some of our latest restaurant projects.

Always Use the Good Pepperoni!

Do you remember that pizza delivery radio ad where the Italian mama says, "You gotta use the good pepperoni!"? If I remember correctly, the son found some creative ways to cut corners, but she keeps commanding that you gotta use the good stuff.


I feel the same way about our work here at Tractus. From day one we've been using the good pepperoni – only for us it's the best contractors, materials and craftsmanship.
Have there been opportunities to cut corners? Definitely! Have we taken them? Definitely not!! I wholeheartedly believe that you gotta use good ingredients to get good results.
So that got me thinking: How can you find the good pepperoni when hiring a contractor or builder? Here are some ideas:
Cheap is Not Always Better: Choosing the lowest price possible often means you're getting lesser materials, shoddy craftsmanship, and promises that don't add up. The right price is key, but the cheap one isn't always the right one.


Trust Your First Impression: Think of the selection process as a job interview: Does the contractor show up on time to your meeting? Is he or she friendly and attentive, or checking emails as you describe your project? This can be very telling. No matter the size of your job, you need someone friendly, reachable and accountable, so trust your instincts.


Check Credentials and Qualifications: When choosing a contractor, ask whether they're bonded or insured, and whether they have a formal safety program. Are they covered by WCB? These are not only signs that you will be protected physically and financially, but that the contractor cares about their team and clients, too.


View Past Work In-Person: When vetting contractors, don’t be afraid to ask about their past work. Ask to see some of their past jobs and not just pictures! Actually go down and visit some of their projects. See what they've done in person and how it stands against the test of time. If your contractor is solid, he'll be proud of his work and happy to show it off.


Here at Tractus, we offer nothing but the good stuff. And, if you're curious, my favourite topping combo is peperoni, green pepper and mushrooms… on thin crust. Classic and delicious.


If you have any questions about finding the right contractor or you want me to buy you  a slice, shoot me an email at jaret@tractusprojects.com or give me a call at (204) 942-6035.

What “We’re Bonded” Means to the Tractus Team

Choosing a builder should never be taken lightly – and being bonded is just one more way that we set ourselves apart, especially from “shady” construction companies.

If a contractor or builder fails to deliver, it causes a ripple effect that can put an entire project in jeopardy. A bond is a written financial guarantee from a third party insurer to protect the owner against this type of risk. Bonding is essentially a guarantee that we will fulfill the obligations of our contracts.

Many companies require consent of surety through the bidding process as both a financial safeguard and to qualify potential companies. To be eligible for bonding, we went through an audit process examining our financial records, past projects, future projects and cash flow.

Saying "we're bonded" shows that we are professional, qualified and proven to perform.

We have proven ourselves as a construction leader here in the city, and being able to show that we're bonded is a symbol of our dedication to our clients and their projects.

For more information on the bonding process, contact Jaret Horbatiuk at (204) 942-6035 or jaret@tractusprojects.com.

Tractus Projects is Proudly CORâ„¢ Certified

Tractus Projects is committed to the health and safety of our workers.

We believe that all work sites should be safe, productive and healthy, and that it's our collective responsibility to ensure that our workers go home safely at the end of the day. Our goal is zero accidents and injuries, because if someone is hurt, it's not good for them, our business or our clients.

This is why we are constantly striving to be safer, smarter and more efficient. This is why we chose to apply for COR™ Certification in 2014.

The gold standard in Canadian safety, COR™ Certification is a national safety audit program endorsed by Manitoba Labour, Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) and Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB).

The COR™ Certification process is arduous and we are proud to have passed all audits and to officially wear the COR™ emblem with pride. We are legally responsible for the safety, health and wellbeing of our team, and the COR™ program has been a great way for us to learn even more about creating, monitoring and documenting site safety.

As we continue to grow as a company, and continue taking on larger and larger projects, COR™ Certification is also a way for us to show that we're up to the task. COR™ Certification is often used as pre-qualifier for projects, and we are excited for the opportunity to bid on projects previously unavailable to us.

We are serious about safety and COR™ is just one example of how we go the extra mile to protect our workers.

For more information on COR™ Certification and the Tractus Safety & Health Policy, contact Jaret Horbatiuk at (204) 942-6035 or jaret@tractusprojects.com.

Our 2014 Pipe Thawing Story and Being a Proud Winnipegger

A recent Google search on Tractus Projects will result in numerous articles relating to “pipe thawing”.  Some may think we are plumbers, and although we know a ton of plumbers, allow me to explain, because it has everything to do with being a proud Winnipegger.
This past winter was freeking cold!  In terms of astonishing weather facts, it doesn't get much more impressive than being as cold as a distant planet for a day, or colder than the North Pole, or coldest winter since 1898.  With temperatures this extreme, things are going to break, and for those living in Winnipeg, you have to find ways to stay mentally warm or you break too.

The home of a business neighbour of mine, Pam, had fallen victim to frozen pipes in February.  I couldn’t help but feel really bad for her and her family, knowing that she had small children, and how I had taken for granted a hot shower every morning.  Later that week, I was visiting with my father-in-law, a businessman and welder who lives in Grand Forks, ND.  We would always talk shop, complain about weather and drink a few beers.  When I inquired about “how many residences in Grand Forks had frozen pipes”, his response was “10”, and that he was helping with the thaw.  Winnipeg was at 1,200+.  I inquired further, almost demanding his trade secrets.  Luckily he shared, and we were well on our way to building our first prototype, pipe thaw machine and “Idea 1.0”.

There’s nothing special about “Idea 1.0”, because it couldn’t be.  The machine and technique needed to be built using parts readily available thru local box stores and cost less than $350.00.  It was a challenge, but after a full weekend of shopping, building and testing in my garage, we were ready to try “Idea 1.0”.  My business neighbour, Pam, was our first test house, and after five grueling hours of breakdowns, adding more pipe clamps and miles of Teflon tape, we were finally successful.  Words cannot explain the relief and emotional experience felt by both Pam and our Crew - the sound of water sputtering thru the kitchen tap was euphoric.

We went on to refine “Idea 1.0”, eventually creating two reliable machines and techniques, and successfully thawing numerous residences and businesses within Winnipeg.  We grabbed Canada wide media attention, were trending on Twitter, and considered “local heroes” within the community.  The experience was amazing. 

But you know what the best part was?

Our small pipe thawing “Idea 1.0” sparked a movement that motivated local Winnipeggers and The City of Winnipeg Public Works Department to look around the community, not settle, re-boot, re-think, be proud, and begin with “Idea 1.0”, continually refining into “Idea 2.0” until it runs like a top.  In our case, our idea happened to be pipe thawing. 

Hey you, proud Winnipegger, what’s yours going to be?