Construction is an industry in which there is plenty of profit out there to be made. But, whether you’re running a crew or operating as a contractor that works inside larger teams, it’s also an industry with a lot of moving parts. People, plans, machines, they can all change and they can all bring a certain degree of risk. Those risks can turn a profitable job into a waste of time if you’re not careful. That’s why we’re going to look at how you plan for success and improve your chances of a real profit.
The all-important estimation
Too many construction businesses look at the estimation section of a tender as an opportunity solely to undercut their rivals and secure a job. This is entirely the wrong approach to go about. First of all, the more accurate, detailed, and specific in its accounting your estimation is, the more impressive it looks to clients as opposed to bare-bones estimations designed to look cheaper. Using the right estimation software is important because it helps you understand the profitability of a job. If you accept too many jobs that offer little chance of making real returns, your business won’t be able to get the legs it needs to keep running. Being vague about estimations doesn’t help your client and it doesn’t help your business.
As important as the estimation is finding the real costs of the job, of course. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be all that far off from the estimate you gave, but we all know and clients should be well aware that there’s always a chance for more cost to add on. So, it’s important you track those real costs at the same time, keeping an eye on how close the job is to getting unprofitable. The work you do is as important as the time you spend on it, of course. Besides a thorough process plan, you should have just as thorough a process of measuring the state and stage of the progress. For instance, many teams are using time lapse surveillance to get a real look at what has been done and what still needs to be done. Getting a physical overview of the look can sometimes be more reliable than just measuring the data alone.
Spend wisely on equipment
Besides seeing how far you are to getting the job done, you need to look at the tools you use to get it done. When it comes to equipment in construction, there are a few policies you should swing between when necessary. For one, you shouldn’t be afraid to make big investments in the latest equipment if you’re going to use it often and it’s going to seriously improve the efficiency of the project. Being stingy with equipment might be frugal, but it is guaranteed to slow the business down at some point. On the other hand, there are times where frugal is the right way to go. If you have need of a piece of equipment, but you can’t justify its cost to the business in the long-term, then you need to look at leasing out that machinery instead. Trying to stick to one policy for all your equipment needs is going to result in lost cash at some point.
Protect your business
Lost cash is often the result when you fail to protect the business, too. There are two ways you should fundamentally be protecting it during any job. The first is the equipment, materials, and assets used for the job. As well as for monitoring productivity, the kind of surveillance mentioned above should be used to keep an eye on the site amongst other premises security tools. Then you need to think about protecting your employees, too. Personal injury and compensation payments are some of the biggest sources of legal costs for every kind of business. In construction where it’s a lot more likely, you need to ensure safety is taken seriously.
Build a better team
Of course, you can only do so much to make sure the business is safer, better prepared, and more productive. You need your colleagues to be on the same page. Not only should you be training and coaching them to be of more value to the business. You should also look at incentivizing them to aim for the same results you are. For instance, many firms will incentivize safety, making each employee carry a checklist that measures how many safety errors they make. Whether it’s monetary or otherwise, you can offer rewards to those who keep a spotless record. People naturally care about their own safety, but there’s nothing wrong with offering a little extra to ensure that they’re truly focused on it.
Thorough planning and an even more thorough look at the realities of cost and resources are essential to staying profitable on a job. That’s how you spot and eliminate those dangers that bite into the profits of even the best of teams.