Contractors

Road Map to a Healthy Construction Business

Congratulations for taking the time to reach out for more information to build yourself a better business.

By educating yourself, learning from the experience of others, you demonstrate a remarkable ability to put tools to use that will grow your business in a healthy way.

With a shortage of new energy growing more evident, there is tremendous opportunity today for those willing to work hard and stay focused on a committed plan to grow a business. Your determination can pay off with rewards that will benefit not only you and your family, but your clients, workers and the community at large will all gain from your efforts.

Read the article below and let’s see how these ideas can be applied to your business,

 

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Road Map to a Healthy Construction Business

Start Up

Most construction businesses begin with two guys on a scaffold who see their boss arrive in a fancy pick-up, point a few fingers from a shiny clip-board and go off on exotic vacations.  It looks easy to do, so when asked to do a little work on the side, they jump right in.

Typically, this kind of beginning leads to a seat-of-the-dirty-pants kind of operation that never catches its breath. Money goes out as quickly as it comes and only one contract separates the owner from disaster.

A business plan makes all the difference.  Take the time to envision goals, set them down, consult with friends, family and professional advisors to formulate a realistic version on paper that you can follow to the success you want. A mission statement focuses the idea into a solid anchoring platform from which all else can grow.

To Market, To Market

From the vision of your plan, create the brand that will represent your dream.  Design a logo, a single image that can be on stationary, signage and all material that will plant in people’s minds the idea of exactly what you do.

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The brand will expose yourself to the kind of clients you want in your portfolio and attract their interest.  The idea is to bring them towards you, asking for your services.  Create an image so strong, that customers are on a waiting list for the opportunity to brag to their neighbors that you worked on their home.

Today’s market requires a website.  As your main feature, complicated or simple, expensive or adapted from a template, the look and feel represents the quality of your business and should not be compromised.  It is far better to have a simple page and be present on the internet than to wait to be able to afford the services of a professional marketing guru.

Paid advertising in local newspapers and the Yellow pages are still an important way to reach more prospects and establish a professional commitment to your business. There are also free opportunities by publicizing your activities through press releases, submitting your work to award programs and sponsoring baseball teams.

Joining associations establishes credibility.  The Home Builders and NARI are obvious choices, but the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and other community networks will introduce you to people who will eventually want work on their homes.

Selling the Concept

From the initial contact by phone or email to a signed contract, all steps must be professional and designed to guide the prospect down the path.  An appointment leads to an estimate, a proposal leads to a deposit.

Systems should be in place to make decisions easy.  An intake form ensures all the current information to be prepared for the first site visit.  Showing up on time with a camera, portfolio and calm demeanor demonstrates expertise and commitment.  A detailed document that clearly defines the scope of work and specifies options will secure a deposit.

Prepare For Production

By having systems in place and taking the time to arrange the details before digging in or tearing away, the job ultimately goes more smoothly and has a better chance of being profitable.  A few hours of paper work to ensure special orders are placed and sub-contractors are in the loop saves days of repairs and re-scheduling.

The actual construction of the project can be the easiest part when everything has been considered and there are measurements and calculations along the way to adjust the details.  With a solid plan, the crew installs and refines the materials efficiently and in the right places.  Regular client meetings to evaluate progress and collect payments reduce stressful phone calls and minimize miscommunications.

On a well-planned and executed project, the punchlist should be completed at the end of a day and the satisfied homeowners will hand over a check with a smile of regret that they won’t be saying you around as much.  Evaluate the work to make sure enough profit was made and discover the ways it could have been more.  Stay in contact with yearly reminders on the anniversary so when they will need more work, you are the friend they will call.

Administer the Paperwork

Whether in an office or a room at home, create the space to manage the business and close the door at the end of the day.  A successful business generates and manipulates a wealth of information to create the profit.  Not just the dollars in and out, but every detail must be accounted for and tracking systems keep it all under control.

As volume increases, systems expand and adapt, but the basic flow is always the same.  Bills must be created and paid.  Employees come and go.  Schedules maintain the order of progress and reports inform the participants.  Without clarity, the vital information is lost and problems fester until they become life-threatening.

Play in the Sandbox

Ultimately, the business is just business and one should never lose sight of the things that are most important in life.  Most problems can wait and might even benefit from being set aside while children grow up and are gone faster than it takes to renovate a life to do it differently.  Attention to the business will falter if the support of family is failing, a two way exchange that should always be caressed. Bring home flowers as well as the food that goes on the table.

A strong place in community through schools, marathons, and local purchases not only establishes friendships, but likely leads to a solid and loyal client base.  While the construction business is a focused effort on the most basic need for shelter, we are more successful for being balanced in all our needs, most especially the spirit that reminds us of why we are here.

Out to Pasture

The work is all about creating security, but no matter how tight the budget appears, there should be investments made for growth and savings set aside for even harder times.  For the business to be an anchor, we must maintain the ship that carries it.  Keep yourself in good shape, remain vigilant and optimistic.  The future is not determined but hard work makes it so.

From the beginning, it helps to have a plan for the future, including the one that decides if the doors will close or the keys pass to a new generation when it is time to retire.  With solid planning, determination to do your best, fortitude to weather the hardships and the willingness to sacrifice short gains for long reward, years of satisfaction and enjoyment of the hard work are self-assured.

Getting Help

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Gold Label3 Session Phone Consultation
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Platinum Seal6 month/Session Phone Consultation
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Custom Plans Negotiable

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One Response to Contractors

  1. Tina says:

    Hello!

    I was reading a blog at http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/showthread.php?59901-Residential-Remodeling-Estimating-Software. We have been using SmartSheet for some time, but recently switched to a new project management software that we found not so customizable-friendly for our estimates, so have decided to go back to using Excel. I’m interested in seeing your spreadsheet set up, which may give us an idea on how to model ours?

    Thanks so much!

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