ClockShark for Commercial Construction Contractors

ClockShark is designed to make it easier for you to manage your commercial construction company

ClockShark for Commercial Construction Contractors

ClockShark delivers

This is an app designed for small to medium construction and field service companies. It is for the commercial construction contractor who needs to get rid of paper time sheets.

Let’s put it this way:

GPS + Time Tracking + Powerful + Easy to use = This is worth looking at!

Tracking down missing or late time sheets is a hassle you really shouldn’t be dealing with. And, let’s face it, even when (if) you find them are they complete? Can you even read them? Are they legible? Oh yeah, how about this – how do you verify what’s been written?

You can make much better use of your valuable time than chasing down crews or individuals to get their timecards. And, you get more accurate reporting by putting this app to use.

ClockShark is robust

ClarkShark is a tool that:

  • Tracks the field location of employees

 

  • Displays the current availability of resources

 

  • Generates monthly time sheets

 

  • Assists in planning workflows as well as job scheduling

 

  • Schedules project activities

 

  • Has an interactive drag & drop scheduler

 

  • Incorporates a real-time activity dashboard

 

  • Offers ad-hoc reporting capabilities

 

  • Allows you to build and export custom reports

 

  • Helps you deal with compliance and auditing

 

  • Integrates with QuickBooks, both Online and Desktop

Perhaps the best way to put it is that ClockShark’s easy GPS feature allows you to track time, location, and job costs. Bam!

ClockShark is bilingual (sorta)

Well, they don’t speak Spanish. Yet, they do have something to offer in the bilingual line that truly is useful. You can access their app guide in English or in Spanish. This one little extra makes it as easy as possible to get your crew members to know how to use the app. And, knowing how . . . that may be the only thing that is missing for some members of your team.

BTW – These guides cover how to:

  • log into the app
  • clock in and out
  • switch between jobs and tasks
  • start and stops breaks
  • see schedules
  • view time sheets
  • access CrewClock™
  • use KioskClock™

Plus, the guide covers Frequently Asked Questions

 

It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors to build better building businesses.

Want to know more about us or about how we can assist you with ClockShark? Get in touch here.  http://www.schulteandschulte.com/contact/ Or call Toll Free: 866-629-7735

Employer Options Information

Employer plus Air National Guard equals great employee options.

Employer Breakfast With the Boss — on base

There was an invitation to attend a breakfast meeting. There was a response in the affirmative. Then, this happened.

One of our clients contacted Tonya and asked if she would like to attend a meeting sponsored by ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) and Arizona@Work. The stated goal of the meeting was to help employers learn how the partnership between the two above mentioned organizations benefits Arizona Businesses.

So, in the wee hours of the morning, Tonya met with Aubrey of Deer Valley Plumbing Contractors and the two of them traveled to the designated breakfast location where . . . well, I’ll let Tonya pick it up from here.

What I thought was going to happen

Because of the fact that the connection to our client was through Arizona@Work and their recruiting program, both Aubrey and I  thought this breakfast meeting was going to be about recruitment. We also thought it was about how to work with several government agencies to enhance recruiting techniques for employers.

What actually happened

The breakfast we were served was well prepared and everyone there was welcoming and friendly. We discovered soon after the meeting began that our preconceived notions were incorrect.

What we did in fact learn was far more fascinating in many respects. To begin with, we learned a lot about the purpose and mission of the Phoenix Arizona Air National Guard base. This is  a base that I didn’t even know existed prior to this day. Their primary mission  is providing “In-flight Refueling to all US Armed Forces and allied nations’ aircraft extending their flying range with the capabliity of transporting cargo, personnel and medevac operations.”

We heard from the base colonel all about the mission. He explained ways in which the mission could be threatened. And he discussed how the mission is carried out by Air National Guardsmen. 500 or so of them are only part timers who rely on their civilian employers to pay their actual bills.

Employer, this is where it gets good

We also heard how they train those part timers and how much that training can be of benefit to their employers. Then we found out what ESGR  is and how it fits into the picture as a wholly volunteer team of liaisons and mediators between employers, Guardsmen and Women, as well as Reservists. We also learned that Arizona@Work works in concert with ESGR. And we learned more about how their employment centers benefit both job-seekers and employers.

It was all fascinating information that neither I nor Aubrey had known before. Plus, at the end of the breakfast we were warmly welcomed to tour the base and talk with several of the full-time guardsmen on duty to learn more about them and their incredibly important mission.

Three things that I took away from the day

The Air National Guard base here in Phoenix, Arizona plays a vital part in the overall mission of the military. (And, I am grateful for their work and their part in that big picture!)

ESGR is dedicated to helping support the men and women who are willing to be on reserve, ready to answer the call of our nation when needed. As well, they support the employers who employ those men and women and have need of a stable and able workforce.

Arizona@Work has recognized the need for skilled and qualified tradespeople in the construction industry and are putting together some apprenticeship programs to fill that gap for employers.

There you have it

Pretty cool stuff, huh? Tonya came back to the office quite excited about how her morning had gone. When she began telling me all the fun new information she had gathered I asked her to share here.

Yet, there’s one more thing she didn’t tell you, and I’ma gonna. Tonya was so excited that she had been able to spend one hour in route to the breakfast location and one hour back simply visiting with and having fun with our delightful client, Aubrey.

You can get in touch with us here

Oh Crud! You Need to Fire Someone

Terminate someones employment with dignity.

Terminate someones employment with dignity.

It’s not easy

Firing someone is among the hardest tasks you face. Dismissing an employee is a horrible experience for everyone involved. Yet, the growth and well-being of your construction company depends on being able to tackle the task head-on.

In the last 5-part series of posts, I dealt with doing all you can to retain your best hands. Doing so is to your advantage. Still, there are those times when letting someone go is also advantageous.

“Hire slow and fire fast” is one of those sayings you hear repeated often. There is likely some merit in the concept. Yet, taken too glibly and all the merit vanishes. In many cases, it simply makes sense to give the employee a chance to improve first. Yet, if the improvement doesn’t come quickly enough or doesn’t come at all, it is time to discharge the employee and find a new hand.

It’s not pleasant

There is no joy in having to tell someone he or she will no longer be working for you. From your own difficult feelings, to those of the hand who is being let go, to your other employees there is heaviness.

And, you may be concerned that the other folks in your employ will be nervous or concerned about the fact you are letting someone go. Yet, often the co-workers of the person being fired are at least relieved they’ll no longer have to put up with the antics of the person who has become excess baggage. Excess baggage they themselves may feel they’ve been dragging about.

When it gets down to it, companies which put their employees first are companies in which the person not pulling his own weight is let go.

It’s not effortless

The folks at The Art of Manliness have an excellent article concerning many aspects of the firing process. They say, “Firing someone is an unpleasant experience. There’s no way around it. In spite of that, you can work to make the experience as smooth as possible, protect your company, and treat your ex-employee with courtesy on the way out. Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business.”

The basic formula

Once you’ve closed the door and are facing the employee to be fired here are some key words and strategy you can use in the process.

“I’ve got some bad news for you.”

“As you know, [the reason he or she is being fired.]”

Don’t say “will be terminated,” rather say, “have been terminated.”

Close by thanking the person for his contributions to the company.

There are legal expectations to be met when the decision is made to terminate the employment of an individual. Be sure to document well each step of the process.

You may also wish to seek legal counsel or the help of a Human Resource adviser. You don’t have to have an entire HR department. You can reach out to a freelance HR person. One we recommend is Lynda McKay owner of HRextension

Employee or Independent Contractor? Recommendations for Compliance

The following is a guest post courtesy of Lynda McKay owner of HRextension.

The construction industry has been and continues to be under the microscope when it concerns how employers pay workers: as employees (W4) or as independent contractors (W9 or 1099ers).  The two governing entities that regulate and monitor this are the Department of Labor (DOL)/Wage & Labor/Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Both federal agencies only provide ‘guidance’ to employers in making this very important determination, leaving employers at risk for non-compliance and potential costly fees.

While an employee (EE) and independent contractor (IC) ‘look’ the same in the workplace or on the worksite, classification of each is very different.

Roles Defined

EMPLOYEE: An employer must be accountable for overtime pay, unemployment compensation, workers compensation, income tax, Medicare, Social Security deductions, eligibility verification to be employed in the US, minimum wage requirements, providing resources to do the job and potentially, paid time off, paid sick time and/or health care and retirement benefits.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR:  An employer is not accountable for any of the above listed under ‘Employee’.  Instead the employer processes payment via a W9 and a signed Independent Contractor Agreement.

Thus, there is no mystery, considering the numerous many reasons, why an employer might lean toward the independent classification.  And there are true benefits when utilizing an IC specifically when the work is truly a short-term project that could transition to current staff employees.

In April 2015, federal courts in Utah and Arizona approved consent judgments against 16 defendants operating construction businesses that misclassified employees as “member/owners.” These judgments awarded $600,000 in back pay and liquidated damages to affected construction workers, plus $100,000 in civil penalties.

Another issue in misclassifying construction workers, is recruitment and retention rates suffer. Top level candidates do not want to be cheated from all the employee status related benefits.

How can you tell if a worker should be an employee or an independent contractor?  The DOL Fact Sheet 13  provides six (6) factors to consider when determining if a worker should be compensated as an employee:

“While the factors considered can vary, and while no one set of factors is exclusive, the following factors are generally considered when determining whether an employment relationship exists under the FLSA (i.e., whether a worker is an employee, as opposed to an independent contractor):

  1. The extent to which the work performed is an integral part of the employer’s business.
  2. Whether the worker’s managerial skills affect his or her opportunity for profit and loss.
  3. The relative investments in facilities and equipment by the worker and the employer. 4) The worker’s skill and initiative.
  4. The permanency of the worker’s relationship with the employer.
  5. The nature and degree of control by the employer. “

What does all this mean?  Yes… it can be complicated.  The below table can serve as a ‘guide’ to assist.

If you have more Yes answers than No Answers, this is most likely an employee.  Not an independent contractor.

Additional resources can be located here.  

It is irrelevant if the worker wants to be an IC.  It is not an arbitrary decision for the worker to make.  Governing agencies do not care if employers have a signed contract where the IC agrees to be an independent contractor; even if the worker obtains a business licenses with a state or other local government entity.

The US DOL, IRS and courts do not care about ‘intentions’ of either the employer or the worker. Even despite a signed agreement, a worker who willfully and knowingly enters a working relationship as an independent contractor can claim misclassification later and collect damages from the employer.  

Potential Damages

If an employer is found guilty of misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor, the penalties can be steep.  Just some of the fines can contain any overtime worked, any unpaid wages if minimum wage rate was less than required, employment taxes.  Willful attempts to avoid minimum wage and overtime obligations, can be up to $10,000 per violation.  Do not forget the additional employment attorney costs

What Employers Can Do Now

    • Know the rules and document the firm’s relationship with an independent contractor.
    • Keep all documentation and review it annually to ensure that it is up-to-date.
    • Conduct internal audit of all employees and independent contractors with the help of qualified HR professionals.
    • Ask independent contractors to provide evidence of insurance, business location, business license and a list of other customers.

Help Needed?

The DOL and IRS are not slowing down on identifying misclassifications. Understanding the FLSA and IRS factors tests are not always clear.  If at any time you are unsure about your classification decisions, HRextension can provide the guidance and support you need.

Lynda’s expertise includes employment practices and policies administration,  job description review and development, employee performance development, compensation assessments and conflict resolution through mediation and training. Her ultimate goal is to assist her clients in maximizing their investment in the human capital component of their organizations.

You can get in touch with her here.

 

Not “If” – Rather “When” Something Goes Wrong on Your Construction Site

 

 

If you’re a construction contractor who hasn’t experienced anything go wrong on one of your projects, you’re either brand new to the biz or you’re not being honest with yourself. Things go wrong.

The wrong size gizmos were ordered. Your top hand falls and is injured. The weather is playing havoc with the job site. Your supplier is totally out of the widgets you must have today (and won’t be able to get them in anytime soon.) Change orders are raining down on you.

Turns out a mistake was made

For many mistakes made on a construction job what is often required is stepping to the plate and explaining any mistakes or delays to your customer. This gives you the added advantage of being able to tell what you plan to do to that will fix or make up for the problem area. Being upfront and honest concerning the problem adds to the ability your client has to put trust in you to complete the project for them.

Even when there has been a natural disaster you can stay ahead of the rebuild game through planning and preparation. Construction Executive offers these valuable tips concerning taking steps to minimize operational downtime after a natural disaster.

Still, there are ways you can help to avoid some of the common problems found on construction sites and in construction businesses.

Steps to mitigating risk

Be certain your contract covers all the details including who is responsible for what

Be sure to include information concerning how change orders will affect both the dollar amount as well as the time frame for the project.

Purchase the best insurance

Some things to consider are, general liability, workers’ compensation, commercial auto insurance, business owners insurance, project specific coverage, environmental legal liability, contractors errors and omissions insurance.

Hire and train your staff well

Build safety training into the routine of how your construction company operates. You can’t tack on the idea of safety training as an afterthought or a “once in a while” meeting that takes place following an accident. Putting safety at the top of your list of ways your construction company benefits both your employees as well as your clients is a sound way to keep the risk factor in control.

Establish formal policies and procedures concerning risk management

Identify the hazard, assess the extent of the risk, provide measures to control the risk and manage any residual risk. This article from Capterra offers much information concerning the identification and control of risks.

Develop relationships with more than one supplier

Having an excellent relationship with your suppliers is very advantageous as this article from Entrepreneur points out. And as the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. While you may get the best deals and the fastest service from one special supplier, having more than one source is an excellent step to avoiding the risk of supply failure.

Join industry related associations and build relationships with others in your trade

Knowing you have a trust-worthy fellow tradesman who can step into the gap when your job is at a breaking point is a balm worthy of taking time to achieve. Of course, you’ll be there for someone else when they need help also.

Establish an emergency fund

From natural disasters to broken down vehicles there is always something which hasn’t been anticipated and which will cause problems or delays on your jobs. Having funds reserved just for these types of emergencies can be the one thing that will save your construction contracting business from going under.

What now?

Considering all the above, it is understandable that construction risk management is a tough nut to crack. You need all the help you can get when you are dealing with risk in construction. We, at Schulte and Schulte are here to help you gain the traction you need and are prepared to help you take the necessary steps to establish and maintain the emergency fund you’ve always wished you had but didn’t think you had the dollars for. We’ll show you how.

Call today 866-629-7735 or get in touch here.

Strategies for Finding and Keeping Good Construction Employees

A successful construction contracting or service business means having great people on your team. Finding and keeping those great people is a vital part of maintaining the success. So, how do you go about not only finding them, but also keeping them around?

Long term thinking

Of course, people who are looking for a job are concerned with both salary and benefits, yet those two items are only part of the equation.

Just as on the sales side of your company it is important to build a reputation for going above the expected with customer care and satisfaction, it is important to build a reputation for providing what potential employees are seeking and giving even more.

You have a number of possibilities concerning the reputation just right for your construction company to attract great employees. And, you can figure out rather quickly which your reputation is more likely to be, because it will be tied to your core values. There is more information about core values here.

Here are some examples of the reputation you may build, of the junction where your company and your potential employees may meet up:

  • strives to be organized and efficient
  • seeks projects that are unique and challenging
  • provides opportunity for advancement
  • uses the same systems and products
  • makes safety a big issue

Look through the list of your construction company’s core values and you’re likely to find a number of points which will provide value to your employees as well as potential employees.

Yet, you must remember it is truly the reputation that counts. In the long run, thinking long-term, it is incumbent upon you to strive constantly to build a reputation of being an excellent company to work for.

Now is the time to look at hiring the young and (perhaps) inexperienced, giving them opportunity to go through an apprenticeship, training, and step-by-step movement into supervisory roles. Certainly, these movements take time, yet when you are upfront with new employees about what they can expect and how long it will take, you give them more incentive to stick around.

Just as you must make sure the ads you post seeking new employees include the qualities you want in a new hire, you must include the benefits as well as the special qualities your company provides.

While you’re at it, remember engaging with today’s workforce means using today’s technology. Think in terms of mobile devices, social media, and the collaboration tools young people are used to and will learn easily.

I need boots on the ground now

You may have found you’ve been unable to bid on jobs you wanted because you simply don’t have the “boots on the ground” right now. Or, you may have had to tell your customer it is going to take a little longer than expected because you simply don’t have enough people to don the hard hats necessary to complete on time.

That being said, what can be done to find employees now who will be an asset to your business in years to come?

I’ve asked around with people I know “in the business,” checked with my good friend “google,” and searched my own personal memory banks to find answers to the question. Like most things in life, there is no magic wand when it comes to finding, hiring, and retaining the best employees, yet there are some strategies you can use to aid in the endeavor.

  • offer referral bonuses which encourage current employees to recommend competent people for open positions
  • encourage feedback from present employees and make improvements based on what you learn
  • become a supporter of the apprenticeship programs in your area
  • reach out to technical schools and high school career programs
  • create or join a program where you and other contractors bring in students annually for tours, hands on interaction, and a discussion of the job opportunities in the construction field*
  • employ construction focused interns for summer programs
  • create the right job posting
  • use social media to attract a younger demographic to the trades

*For those of you who are in Arizona, here is an example of a program you may be interested in being a part of. It is being presented by the Association of Construction Career Development, and this year it is being held on November 2nd. Check it out. Click through their pages. You may want to sponsor or volunteer.

Keeping ‘em around

This part starts with you and the supervisors in your construction company. You must show good character and have integrity. Leaders create the environment, and make or break the possibility of attracting and keeping employees who are honest, who show responsibility, and who can grow and thrive.

Once you’ve recognized and hired good workers they need to be utilized and trained in meaningful ways. You can include them in the process by letting them know, “this is where we’re going.” Encourage them to take ownership of their work.

Reward them. One fellow I heard from said, “We reward our employees randomly for their excellent work.”

Sometimes, a handwritten note or personal e-mail thanking or congratulating an employee will be reward enough. Other times, providing gift cards to a deserving team is appropriate. Taking the entire crew to a lunch or dinner meal will go a long way to show your appreciation of them.

Be sure to include professional development opportunities through training and classes.  Prove you’re invested in them long-term by encouraging them to learn new skills or further develop their strengths.

Strive to make it known yours is a workplace where employees are respected and trusted. Work hard to show your employees they have reason to have a sense of security that comes with stability – meaning hanging around has its advantage.

Be sensitive to and care about the needs of your employees as well as their families.

You should be able to pass on to your employees the concept that their wellbeing and the companies wellbeing walk hand-in-hand. Helping them to see they are a part of the big picture serves both your business and the employee’s sense of pride in job well done.

How Schulte and Schulte can assist you

As a part of the suite of accounting services we offer our construction contractor clients, they can choose to allow us to prepare their payroll and deal with all the details associated with that task.

Did you know Inc. Magazine extolls the benefits of outsourcing “payroll” for small businesses? That makes sense to us, because that gives you, the contractor or service provider the time to seek, hire, and engage your employees in the services you provide your customers.

And since we specialize in accounting for construction contractors and service providers you know we know all the ins and outs of the industry. Give us a call to see how we can be of assistance to you. 480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

 

Part 2 – 10 Qualities Needed for Scaling Your Construction Contracting or Service Business

If you missed part 1 with the first 5 qualities needed for scaling your construction contracting or service business you can find it here.

6. You will need to focus on helping others – on every side of the coin

Customers and potential customers

Think: What do they need? Perhaps information concerning what to expect when they hire you to perform a service for them.

How can you give it to them? Flyers, brochures, website, social networking sites.

Yet, always be on the lookout for ways to help your customers on a personal level. It may be as simple as bringing their newspaper to the door, giving a handwritten Thank You note, or defaulting to “yes” when presented with small, reasonable requests that customers make.

Employees and subcontractors

Think: What do they need? Maybe just some recognition.

How can you give it to them? Perhaps employee of the month incentives, maybe small rewards like gift cards, or something as simple as lunches or dinners to celebrate milestones or job completion.

If you need someone to help you learn what your employees need, then enlist the help of a person you know is good at noticing.

Colleagues and associates

Think: What do they need? It could be they need your help on a service project.

How can you give it to them? Answer “yes” and follow through.

“Sit downs” with your colleagues and associates are bound to aid you in determining what they need. Be sure to schedule these sit downs on a regular basis.

7. You must be obsessed with cash flow – because cash is king

We at Schulte and Schulte are excited to work with our clients to put an excellent system in place giving them the advantage of getting a clear view of their actual cash flow when taking a daily peek at their checking account balance, (we know you do it) and then gives them useful information.

8. You have to charge what you’re worth – without flinching

Charging what you’re worth is not only beneficial for you, but for others in your realm. Your family benefits. Your employees and subcontractors benefit. Your customers benefit.

Yep, your customers benefit.

  • They get excellent service
  • They get peace of mind concerning their decision to hire you
  • They get the wealth of knowledge and skill you’re able to provide them yourself or through your excellent and well trained employees.

You know things others don’t know. Put that knowledge to use and charge what you’re worth.

9. You should turn down jobs – not just because you’re busy

When something about a home owner or business owner makes your spidey senses tingle it is probably time to turn down their job.

When you run into someone who wants the job done cheap and fast and that’s not what you do, (see number 8 above) it is time to politely decline.

Once you know who your ideal client is, this step becomes easier, but it is good to pay attention to the fact that some jobs don’t pay enough in revenue, some jobs don’t pay enough in peace of mind, and some jobs . . . well, they’re just not worth it.

In whatever form it takes, you may wish to give this message to the person you won’t be working with after all.

“Dear Sir/Madam,

Thanks for the recent opportunity to quote your work. We feel that [company name] is not a good match for your project. We wish you well with your project.

Thank you.”

10. You will want to create a lasting legacy – because you want to benefit others

In this instance, I’m using the word “legacy” in its broadest sense. The legacy you leave behind (your construction company) may be managed by your children or by other people not related to you.

The important part is you will have created something meaningful, something that will benefit the lives of others now and in the future. Your family, your friends, your employees, your customers, your colleagues, your community will all be touched by the legacy you create.

If scaling your construction contracting or service business is something you’re serious about, we at Schulte and Schulte are serious about helping you.  Get in touch 480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

Build a foundation for financing options – Think expansion

This is part three in a five-part series concerning Steps to Scaling Your Construction Contracting Business. You can see the introduction to the series by clicking here.

Because you aren’t likely to be a trust fund baby, chances are great you’ll need to find a financing option to grow, expand, or scale your construction contracting business sooner or later.

And, if you need an infusion of cash “like yesterday” there are alternatives for finding folks who will help finance your business “like today.” But, if you’re willing to prepare now for future growth and expansion your opportunities for receiving better or more favorable terms are greatly increased.

With that said, now is the time to begin getting your ducks in a row.

Down to brass tacks

The folks who will consider loaning to you will be concerned with:

  • How long you’ve owned your construction contracting business
  • Your personal credit scores
  • The gross annual revenues for your business
  • Your businesses net annual profits
  • Whether or not you have collateral to back the loan

Ask yourself some questions

The initial part of the process will be understanding the kind of capital you need to support growth for your business. You’ll need to ask questions like:

  • How much?
  • When?
  • What for? (Whether you need the funds for payroll, materials, or equipment will likely affect not only your ability to find financing at all, it will also play a role in the rate of interest you’ll have to pay.)

More hard-hitting questions

No matter how much you need to borrow or how you’ll use the funds, there are other things to consider before applying for a loan.

  • What will the total cost be to repay? (principal, fees, interest)
  • How long will it take to repay?
  • What will be the amount of the monthly payments?
  • If you pay late or default, what will the penalty be?
  • What impact will the loan have on your total financial package?
  • Are you willing to put in the time to do the back-office stuff in order to get better rates or terms?

An excellent article from Purch, written by Karina Fabian, and titled Financing Your Construction Business clues you into an array of options available, including alternative lenders. Near the bottom of the article, Fabian gives a list of documents you’ll need to have ready when applying. Getting these documents together will likely take time and persistence, yet preparing now (before you need the funds) will pay off in the long run.

Your call to action:

Get your budget set up and rolling. Take the necessary steps to be sure your credit scores are the best they can be. Be sure your accounting records are up to date and clear. Begin compiling the documents suggested by Fabian.

Build Collaborations – Find and establish key relationships and networks

This is part one in a five-part series concerning Steps to Scaling Your Construction Contracting Business. You can see the introduction to the series by clicking here.

No matter where your particular sandbox is located there are times when you need to cooperate with others in order to get your sand castle built. Finding ways to establish connections that make sense boils down to the old report card standard, “Plays well with others.”

I can’t recall how many times my dad (who went from driving a lumber supply truck, to slinging both a hammer and a saw, to supervising major commercial construction projects) told me, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Dad worked that bit of wisdom – all the time.

Growing your construction contracting business is more than simply getting more and more customers; it is about growing alliances, meeting new people, forming partnerships, building networks. It’s about establishing and nurturing relationships.

Relationships come in all sizes

Some of the groups of people and organizations you’ll want to consider when deciding to establish relationships and networks are:

  • Service providers
  • Subcontractors
  • Former employers or coworkers
  • Professional associations
  • Service organizations
  • Suppliers
  • Customers
  • Present and past employees
  • Neighbors (both personal and professional)

Focus on helping others and facilitating connections

Whether you participate in coopertition (cooperation with your competition) or you offer pro bono services through a service organization, whether you form an alliance with a subcontractor whose business offerings compliment your own or you help align your supplier with a new customer, all along the way you’re putting in the building blocks which help establish you as a major player in the industry.

If your only thought is about how you can meet the next guy to sell to, you’ll miss out on a lot of relationship building opportunities. It takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight, and doesn’t usually fit well into a step-by-step plan of building collaborations. As a matter of fact, if you’re not a natural “connector” you’re likely to have to grow a pair . . . of ears.

Volunteer, be purposefully helpful, look for opportunities to help others and to reach out even if there is no obvious or immediate payback. It means going beyond the vertical ties or people in your immediate circle. When you purposefully expand your network, you open up your relationship base which becomes an excellent foundation for aiding you in scaling your construction contracting business.

Your call to action

This article on Small Business Trends offers some good advice concerning building solid, strong, lasting business relationships. It will give you some food for thought.

After you’ve read the article, begin to purposefully think in terms of building relationships and helping those with whom you come into contact on a regular basis. Be open to new opportunities to assist others in both small and large ways. Strive to be “that guy,” the one everyone knows can get things done – because he has connections. “Plays well with others,” really is a good thing, a good thing worth getting really good at.

Scale Your Construction Contracting Business

Escalating your business to the next level

So, you’re ready to scale your construction contracting business. It is time to move to a new level. You have plans, thoughts, and ideas about moving into the big league. Read on, because there is a brief primer ahead to help you begin to work through that process. But, before we go any further, I’m going to tell you the same thing my dad had to remind me of on more than one occasion.

If it was easy, everybody would do it

Scaling isn’t as easy as finding the right app, purchasing the correct software, or hiring the right superintendent. It is a process, with many components, and it requires commitment.

I’m not trying to take the wind out of your sails. As a matter of fact, I hasten to add, while you can’t change the direction of the wind, you can adjust your sails in order to reach your destination.

What the heck does it even mean?

A little more than a decade ago I came across the term and the idea of scaling your business. In context, I sort of had an idea of what it meant, but wasn’t completely sure. How about you? Do you know what it means? If not, this definition and explanation of scalability found on divestopedia is short, concise, and is worth your time to check out.

Identify ways to upgrade processes on the path to scaling your business

The most basic take-away from divestopedia’s article is a scalable business is one that focuses on the implementation of processes that lead to an efficient operation.

You’ll need to identify those processes which can be reproduced at a rapid rate, without generating increased costs. Think in terms of automating certain processes that currently require time and hands-on interaction.

One example of this type of automation can be found at your local supermarket, where you’ll find four or more self-check counters manned by only one person.

Another example is how we, at Schulte and Schulte, LLC work with you through accounting software or SaaS and various apps implementing an automated process.

Speaking of apps, this List of 17 construction apps for 2017 is a good place to begin your research into some ways to simplify, update, or structure some of the functions necessary for running your present and future job sites.

Of course, there are other technologies which are no longer the stuff of science fiction, but are already being embraced and are quite literally changing the landscape of the construction contracting field as well as the landscape around us.

  • Robotics
  • Drones
  • 3D printing

Look into what each of these technologies are already being used by your colleagues as well as your competitors. Think in terms of investing in what will bring the most ROI not only now but in the upcoming years.

10 important scale driving measures to take

Scaling your business goes beyond buying the latest technological item or system. There is more to the whole notion of scaling your business. Just as you put in time and effort to start your business, you’ll need to put in additional time and effort to scale your business. Following is a list of actions you’ll need to consider.

  1. Update and reshape your business plan
  2. Line up any necessary funding
  3. Pay attention to your consistent brand messaging across divisions, locations, and mediums
  4. Embrace standardization (scalable companies have effective tools for measurement)
  5. Hire people smarter and more talented than you
  6. Outsource what makes sense
  7. Focus on ROI
  8. Document everything
  9. Plan for the little things
  10. Keep trying until you find what works

In order to scale you must indeed be proactive rather than reactive. Begin building into your business those standardized functions which will continue working whether or not you’re at the helm.

OK, now where is the blueprint?

Not here. I won’t be able to offer you a “Your business blueprint,” yet I have given you enough information to begin putting your own blueprint together. And, good news, (caution — big self-serving plug here) we at Schulte and Schulte, LLC are ready, willing, and able to aid you through accounting advice as you take the scaling up steps.

In case you are wondering. Yes, we have built into our plans and strategy the scaling of Schulte and Schulte, LLC. One of our favorite parts of the plan is that as your construction contracting business scales we’ll be on the scaling escalator right beside you.