Construction is a business that’s uniquely competitive and fraught with risk. Financially, physically and for your reputation. It’s difficult to keep the standard you need to make your company a success. But it’s worth it for the benefits. Steady business, wealth and the perks of flexible, fulfilling work await.
But there are a lot of firms out there making use of business practices that range from reckless to downright incompetent. How do you make sure you’re doing everything to make your business successful? How do you get the clientele and reputation that will keep you earning money more smartly for years to come?
1. The plan.
Every business needs a business plan. It’s more than just a plan that helps you identify your goals. It’s more than a blueprint for how you achieve your growth and measure your success. It’s also used for those financial situations when you need loans and investors. A plan is documented proof that your business knows what it’s doing. There are pre-made plans you can get and adapt. However, we recommend studying some of the existing plans and formulating your own. Only you know the market you’re working in, so plan accordingly.
2. Your team.
Construction’s a business involving a lot of hands and a lot of different expertise. That’s why you’re obviously going to need a team working behind you. But how do you make sure you start off with the right team to build on? Recruiting good employees takes effort and a keen eye. You need to be able to recognise what skills a position requires as well as what level of commitment you need from your employees. Use staffing assessment tools to find out whether a potential recruit meets your standards.
3. The best team.
Once you’ve hired your employees, that’s not your team-building mission complete. The next point is to make them the best team possible. Cross training is a way of getting your employees used to more than one task. This way they are more versatile and can temporarily fill gaps left by leave or retirement. It also builds a strong connection between employee and employer. By giving them upward mobility, you’re giving them a reason to stick with you for longer. Most employees will also recognise and appreciate the opportunity for development.
4. The skills you need.
It’s not just the team that needs to develop new skills, however. We’re going to get into all the managerial and organisational expertise you should have later. As the leader of a team, the key skill you need to head a strong team is leadership. You need to have the kind of personality that inspires the best kind of work. If it doesn’t come quite as naturally to you, study different leadership styles and techniques. Develop the skill of leading your team and you’ll be able to trust them with more.
5. Getting regular clients.
Construction jobs from one-shot clients are a competitive aspect of the business. For a job that lasts only one construction, you will be bidding against just about everyone in the area. However, if you manage to land yourself a client that will use you regularly, you’re just competing for their satisfaction. With the right strategies, all you need are a few clients that provide consistent, reliable opportunities. Re-evaluate what projects you’re bidding on. Then look for the opportunities – especially construction tenders – that are likely to open more doors in future.
That said, even if you find yourself a client base you’re satisfied with, don’t rest on your laurels. A successful firm is one that diversifies its possibility. That way, if you lose some custom, you have plenty of other options to rely on. Marketing is the key to doing just that. Not enough construction companies use the power of content. Producing interesting, relevant content that shows your expertise is a key to a powerful brand. A powerful brand can attract business even when it’s not looking. That way, when you are looking, it’s just there for you to reach out and grab.
7. Your machines.
Construction can involve a lot of different kinds of specialised machinery. Especially if you’re aiming to tackle diverse tasks that can broaden your target markets. Anyone in the industry knows that this is not cheap. However, you can reduce some of your costs by being willing to go for used plant machinery. You can also hire instead of buying outright. Don’t let go of lucrative opportunities because you don’t have the equipment immediately available.
These expensive machines usually take on quite a bit of labour. It’s far from unheard of for them to break down during a job. This is a potential disaster that can cost you a lot more money and time you don’t have to spare. That’s why it’s vital to make sure you know your large machinery maintenance. Keep daily records of their use and have oversight on all operations of big machinery. Keep a maintenance schedule for every piece of machinery in your arsenal and lubricate and clean them thoroughly after each use.
9. Get lean.
Lean is a system of management started primarily by Toyota’s identification of the key sources of waste. The spirit is to make obvious what is valuable by eliminating everything else. The practice of lean management began in manufacturing but has since spread far and wide. It’s no surprise that the often hectic world of construction has taken lean management to heart. The same practices in manufacturing often also apply here. This includes the careful maintenance and evaluation of equipment mentioned above. But it includes lots else, so make sure you read up on your lean practices. It could save you all kinds of time and money.
10. Reduce waste.
The other kind of waste you need to focus on reducing is the kind most of us do. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Governments the world over are moving closer to harder sanctions and tighter restrictions on waste. By taking steps to reduce the material waste your business does now, you’re better prepared for more changes in future. Not only can you conserve energy and resources, but you can also save money at the same time.
It’s not just the environment you need to worry about either. Safety should be a primary concern of all construction employers. Always keep up to date on the best safety codes and practices and teach your employees often. Keep yourself well stocked with safety supplies. Keep your sites well signed with the precautions everyone in the area should be taking. As you grow, you may even want to hire a full time safety officer. This might seem like an expensive trip, but it will save you a lot in the long run. Particularly when you take worker’s compensation in mind.
12. Offer your expertise separately.
All industries are more connected and better able to communicate than they have ever been. The construction industry is no different. Get involved with the discussion with specialists to develop and share your knowledge. Visit trade conventions and company events. Not only do these give opportunities to learn, but also to network. Build partnerships with other local businesses and offer your services as a consultant. Your personal reputation is guaranteed to reflect brilliantly on your company in return.
13. Your budget.
No construction company can last very long with a poor sense of finances. That’s why you need to learn how to budget with total accuracy. Estimating errors can not only be bad for your business reputation. They can lead to all kinds of disputes that cost you money and time, as well. At worst, you can get into legal battles that can be completely disastrous for your company. Overruns are a fact of life for all construction companies. However, by avoiding omissions and assumptions, you’re better equipped to make better estimates. The better your estimates, the more likely your existing clients are to recommend you.
14. Your overheads.
Besides the pricing of your jobs, you also need a sound financial head when it comes to the costs of your own company. Given the in-depth nature of the job, it’s easy to lose track of your overheads. It’s just as disastrous as it is easy, too. Analyse the size and quantity of your vehicles and how much they cost to run over time. Do the same for your equipment. Use your specialists and provide incentives for them to develop techniques that will cut your costs. Don’t think that you’re saving money by using old tech time and time again. Newer models can just as easily save you money through their energy or fuel efficiency. There are all kinds of ways to save on your overheads, you just need to put constant thought to it.
A successful construction business relies on a lot of different factors. The team you hire and train. How you find and keep clients. Maintaining your equipment and the safety of your team employees. However, it all comes down to you so make sure you put in the effort before you start a construction company.