When starting a construction business, your first and most serious concern might be filling your team with a roster of experienced, reliable builders bringing together all the skills you need to handle the average project professionally. There’s no doubt that’s important, but it’s not all you need. For a truly successful business, you need to look at the personal, both hired and outsourced, that is going to make sure you can build more than a property, but a fully functioning business.
Unless you have a structural engineer on the team, this is always going to be a service relevant to preparing any business site. Testing the soil is essential for making sure that any building will be foundationally secure. They can tell you a variety of things about the site, including soil strength, density, compaction, contamination, soil content and much more for a variety of areas around the site. Many soil testing services also offer a range of structural engineering tools to help more evenly distribute the load of the project in any site that might not normally be able to withstand it. In most cases, construction teams work hand in hand with soil testers and civil engineers as opposed to hiring them directly.
Your relationship with your material suppliers is going to be one of the most important relationships in the business. How well you’re able to negotiate costs will drastically affect the estimates you can give, which can be one of your primary tools in winning more leads. As soon as your business opens its doors, look for your material suppliers with a view to creating a long-term relationship. Suppliers are much more willing to offer price cuts and deals to those teams that can guarantee and prove ongoing repeat sales. Get to know your supplier’s supplier, too, identifying risks that might impact their supply, and have a backup option at the ready so you’re not caught out if those risks come to pass.
You might want as many assets and skills in-house as possible. However, acquiring them costs money and attempting to grow too fast can make once-profitable jobs highly unprofitable. So, leasing equipment is most likely going to become a common affair for you. Learn which equipment needs are more consistent from project to project and keep them in-house to make them more cost-effective. For things like soil removal, in which your needs can change from site to site, be more flexible in your approach, and hire equipment as is necessary. Investing in purchasing equipment that you’re not going to use all the time is much less cost-effective when you have to consider ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs beyond just the initial purchase.
The same goes for the skill set that you have within the business. You’re going to want a well-rounded set of skills amongst your core team, and you shouldn’t fall into the trap of only relying on temporary hires that can often result in a scarcity of skills within your actual business. But for vehicle qualifications and skills that you don’t use as often in your primary services, you should look to subcontractors. This can include things like electricians, plumbers, drivers of specific vehicles, painters, and much more. The services that don’t fit your core expertise but are going to be an essential part of completing most projects.
It’s not all about the building, either. Any business owner needs to have a firm grasp of the finances of the situation. Learning to make accurate cost breakdowns and estimates, a comprehensive understanding of your overheads, budgeting decisions, taxes, you have to be familiar with all of them. Being cost-savvy helps you stay competitive, after all. But there’s no denying the need for an accountant in just about any business to focus solely on the money. Rather than a standard business accountant, think about hiring construction-specific accountants who are well-versed in the many unique financial considerations within the industry. Beyond acting as a bookkeeper, accountants are trained to offer advice, including legal advice when tax time comes around. Having an accountant won’t just help you save money in the long-run, they’ll help keep you compliant with accounting and tax laws.
How do you win leads for your business? Making bids and networking within trade associations and trade shows are likely going to open a lot of doors for you, but there’s no denying how powerful a tool that branding can be when it comes to convincing leads. What’s more, having an effective, far-reaching brand can help you catch the attention of leads you might never have considered. Nowadays, it is essential for most businesses, including construction firms, to have some investment in digital marketing. It can provide the professional face, the portfolio, and the reputation you need to improve your chances of winning over potential clients. Branding your construction company might sound as simple as showing your qualifications and experience, but the average homeowner looking for a builder is going to need more, and marketers are great at finding the extra appeal your brand needs.
Safety should always be of a concern and it likely is. Beyond making you legally compliant and reducing the worker’s compensation you have to pay out, you want your team to trust you. Regular safety training and providing the right equipment can help the team become more conscious. But safety isn’t always their first thought; getting the job done is. That’s why you should create a position for a permanent safety officer whose sole role is highlight safety risks, unsafe work practices, and come up with solutions to help you minimize them.
Whether in construction or another industry, the business owner must always be surveying the business and its needs, considering whether or not they have the skills and resources to handle those needs. Think about whether those needs are regular and integral enough that you should make a permanent position to handle them, or whether they’re temporary enough to justify outsourcing.
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