Running a successful construction business is a lot of work, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed. You need to be a good leader, manager, marketer, and indeed many other things in between. As an entrepreneur, especially in the early days, you’ll find that you need to be proficient at a range of skills across the business spectrum in order to enjoy sustainable business growth.
If you’ve been in the construction business for a long time, you’ve probably got a good idea of what makes a successful contractor. Don’t fall into the trap of being complacent, however. You will find the more open you are to learning new things, and adopting new and improved methodologies and processes, the more successful you will be. The more agile and flexible you are, the better you will be able to handle change and face challenges that inevitably face all businesses regardless of their size.
Read on to get the best tips on what can help you succeed leading a contracting business in the construction industry:
Get management software
Being a contractor inevitably means that a large part of your job will be spent sending technicians out and about to people’s homes or commercial sites to perform a service, communicating with clients, tracking jobs, etc. Your customers will expect to get excellent services from your company at every touchpoint you have with them.
If not managed carefully, you can quickly lose control of what should be happening when. Being organised is key, but if done manually, this can be very time consuming and subject to human error leading to double bookings, no shows and negative customer experiences which can come at a huge detriment to your business. (1)
The first thing you are well advised to do when considering how to run a better contracting business, is to review your internal processes and systems and look for ways they can be made more efficient.
Construction management software programs like Jobber have been developed specifically for the construction industry, and by their very design, are there to help service businesses operate in a much more organised and streamlined way.
Not only do these applications empower employees to work more efficiently, teams can also be more productive with their time too. As a result, you end up looking more professional, and have more time to do things such as building in better lines of communication with your customers, sending SMS alert messages when technicians are on their way, or letting them know of any updates or changes to a schedule. (1)
Manage your finances well
Poorly managing your finances could lead to your business closing down regardless of how much you make as a contractor. Prioritise getting your accounts into shape and understanding your figures to make sure you are charging correctly and making an acceptable profit margin on each job. If you are not confident with this side of the business, invest in getting external advice from someone who is.
When considering if your pricing is correct, ensure that you are factoring in all operational costs into your quotes as well as using the correct mark ups. Getting this right is complex, especially when no job is the same, but a robust pricing strategy will help you make money in construction which is essential for sustainability and growth. (2)
Be clear for each project you work on, what the budget is and how much it is going to cost you. Only then can you calculate accurately what your return on investment will look like. Invoicing software can help with this as it prompts you to input this data. It is also helpful in tracking all your payments and prompting you to follow up with customers to ensure you get paid promptly. You don’t want cash flow to start becoming a problem. (1)(2)
Focus on marketing
Construction companies depend on marketing to win contracts and compete in the marketplace. Moreover, good marketing strategies will help grow your brand and profile as a contractor. Invest the time in really getting to understand and know your audience. Once you have a good grasp of who you are targeting, you are in a much stronger position to engage with them in a way they want to be communicated with. Over time, they will reward you with repeat business, trust and positive feedback. (2)
A large proportion of your marketing efforts should be spent on getting an online presence in the form of a well-designed website. The website should hold information about what you do, be user-friendly and optimized for search engines, too. This will help your business be more visible for people searching online for the services you offer. (3)
Join an association
Joining a construction association is crucial for every contractor as it provides opportunities and lessons that you can’t get when working alone. By interacting with peers and experts in your field, you’ll quickly pick up on best practices, new trends, and general tips for how to run your business better. Being part of a larger network of people all working in the same arena will ultimately lead you to winning more jobs. (4)
Outsource when needed
Recognise when you might be becoming overwhelmed by too much work. At no point, can you be expected to handle the entire operations of your business and service all your clients, all of the time, even more so if you’re experiencing growth. The only thing that will happen is that the quality of your output will drop.
Choosing to outsource so that some tasks can be looked after by someone else can be the best business decision you make. Admin tasks, accounting, IT and marketing can all be taken care of by experts at an affordable cost. (4)
Register and insure your business
Even before you start getting clients, you need to think of how you can make your construction business legal. Think of the business structure to work with––either as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company. (5)
After defining the structure and registering your business, make sure that you insure it as required. Any legal or financial claim against your company will affect your business if the insurance policy doesn’t cover it. Also, be clear on what’s covered under the policy and what isn’t to be safe. (5)
Running a successful construction business as a contractor requires being intelligent, agile, using the right tools, and having the right skills. With these skills, you can network, market your business, manage it, and develop other practices that’ll generate revenue for your business.
- “CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS”, Source: https://getjobber.com/industries/construction-management-software/
- “Tips for Growing a Successful Contracting”, Source: https://theprogallery.com/contractors/tips-for-growing-a-successful-contracting-business/
- “How to grow your construction business efficiently”, Source: https://tread.io/how-to-grow-your-construction-business-efficiently/
- “15 Tips for Growing a Long-Lasting Contractor Business”, Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285633
- “How to Run a Successful Self-Employed Contracting Business”, Source: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-succeed-as-self-employed-contractor-4117107