Subcontractors – What’s Your Story?

Subcontractors tell your story to grow your business

Subcontractors – What’s Your Story?

Subcontractors create

The culture you create within the confines of your construction subcontracting business radiates. That culture becomes the story your construction company is known for. What story is your subcontracting business telling?

Are your crews known for showing up on time prepared to give it their all? Or do they have the reputation for being late and leaving the site frequently to retrieve forgotten tools?

Are your people the ones who will go the extra mile to help out the GC? Or are they the ones who fail to clean their own mess because they “don’t want to be taken advantage of?”

Can you be sure your phones answered by people who either know the answers or know how to get them?

Is all the paperwork your general contractor asks for submitted in a timely manner? Or is it only taken care of when someone in the office or the field gets nagged enough to get it done?

Creating a culture which stresses “customer service” allows you to tell a better story.

The first two questions you need to ask are:

  1. How do the GCs in my area perceive my company?
  2. What do I want it to be known for?

Subcontractors develop

The culture you develop in your construction business has the power to attract the right employees. I’ve heard Tonya express it this way many times – your vibe attracts your tribe.

When your employees and subs know you care about them as human beings, not just a tool you use to get a task done they’re more attuned to supporting your efforts. Giving bonuses and raises whenever possible is only part of the picture. Giving praise and supporting their efforts for personal as well as professional growth helps your team see you as someone who cares.

With that being said, let’s move to ways to help your team understand your stance.

Want your team to lie to you? Teach them that lying to the GC is acceptable. Or would you prefer your employees tell the truth about errors and omissions? Be sure to model that behavior.

Do you want your team to steal from you? Show them that cutting corners is the only way to get ahead. Or, does it make more sense to teach them that your expectation is for excellence and “good enough” is never good enough.

Do you prefer your team members show up on time? Then of course, you must be their example. When you call for a meeting, you must show up before the meeting starts, not a few minutes later.

Subcontractors lead

If you don’t already have the skills of a leader you need to develop them. Here is a great graphic which depicts the difference between a boss and a leader. You can check the graphic to see which skills you need to improve or strengthen.

Want your folks to feel all they do is work hard for a paycheck? Neglect to let them know what it is they really do. Want them to get the vision? Show them the vision.

And the way to frame that is often with the end game in mind. Are they laying brick or helping build a medical facility which will save lives? Do your hands think they’re painting walls or do they believe they’re putting the finishing touches on a space which will provide jobs for the community? Are they laying wire or pipe or rebar which will not be seen when the building is complete, yet will bring integrity and ultimately usability to the shopping district?

The next questions you should ask yourself are:

  1. How do my employees feel about their jobs?
  2. What do I want our team members to feel about their jobs?

Subcontractors improve

When it comes to company culture and telling your story there are likely areas in which you can improve. Because, as you know, if you’re not getting better . . .

The purpose of your business (why your company exists) is where your story begins. How do you fit into the big picture in the construction industry? How well do you pass on your vision?

Look at your mission statement, values, and long and short-term goals to get a handle on your culture. The next step is to observe how your employees reflect the statement, values, and goals. Be sure your mission statement isn’t just a bunch of words, rather that it captures the essence of how your team operates. Know what values are important to you. Devise a way to pass on those values to those in your employ. Be sure everyone is on the same page concerning long and short-term goals.

See to it your team has a clarity of purpose. Work to be sure your employees are engaged, not just getting by. Trust your team and do all in your power to let them know they can trust you. Always be learning. See to it you’re providing opportunities for your team to learn and improve. Finally, make sure your company policies align with your company culture.

The final set of questions to ask and act upon are:

  1. What is right about our company culture?
  2. How can it be improved?

Develop an excellent company culture and tell your story so you’re able to:

 

  • Capture General Contractors’ Attention

 

  • Enhance Recruiting and Retention Efforts

 

  • Improve Your Business

 

Control your story both internally and externally.

 

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

Providing Accounting and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735

Build standardized processes – Prepare now for the future

This is the fifth in a five-part series concerning Steps to Scaling Your Construction Contracting Business. You can see the introduction to the series (with links to each article) by clicking here.

In his article for Forbes magazine, Eric T. Wagner, shares some insight gleaned from Kelsey Ramsden who is the president of Belvedere Place Contracting Ltd.  In 2012 and in 2013 Kelsey Ramsden, was awarded Canada’s #1 Top Woman Entrepreneur by Profit Magazine – a very prestigious award for a young, entrepreneurial, woman in the Construction Industry.

While Wagner’s entire article is worth reading, today we’ll focus on the fifth of eight tips on successful entrepreneurship shared by Ramsden — Establish Systems To Mesh With Your Goals.Smart entrepreneurs not only set goals — they build systems to support those goals. Ramsden admitted she started out doing it ‘totally wrong.’ Most of us determine what we want to accomplish, establish the time frame to get it done, and then work backwards to spread out the workload. But what’s missing is our system (a defined set of time set aside with the necessary tools to work toward the goal). It’s like wanting to lose 30 pounds (goal) by summer (time frame) and signing up for the gym membership (a tool); but not scheduling the one-hour daily appointment (your system) to do the workouts.

This is how (insert your company name here) gets it done

In its most basic form, establishing systems, building standardized processes means you’re saying, “This is how (insert your company name here) gets it done,” to your crew, to your staff, to your customers, and to your potential customers.

Think about it, flexibility can be the enemy of growth. Using an extreme example, suppose you hired a new guy to help in your painting business and he refused to use the spraying equipment which makes your painting jobs run more effectively and efficiently. What if he told you he is only willing to paint with a brush? If he was truly handy with a brush he could probably get the job done, but at what cost?

Standardized and repeatable

If you’re going to scale, you need to implement standardized and repeatable processes, with proper delegation. Yet, doing so is awkward, time consuming . . . and oh so worth it. We, at Schulte and Schulte, LLC are blessed to have an app which helps us build our growing library of standardized and repeatable systems for our accounting business. We use Aero which is a process building tool as well as a repository for each of the written systems we’ve created, are in the process of creating, and will create in the future.

But what about you, the general contractor, subcontractor, service and supply contractor, install specialist, or construction related entrepreneur?

There is an app for you too!

Knowify is what you need. It is a SaaS program for small to medium contractors to use to systemize their over-all processes.

Want to know more? Our Knowify Certified Advisors will work with you to garner the best benefits associated with using Knowify to aid in scaling your construction business through the use of standardized processes.

Your call to action:

Give us a call. We will help get you set up for a phone appointment, so you can get in the Know about Knowify. Toll Free: 866-629-7735

Job Close Out – Why it is important

What difference does it make?

Whether your job lasts a few hours, a few months, or a few years there is still always a Job Close Out to deal with before the final payout arrives. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to please a general contractor, a home owner, or a building inspector there is still the bottom line – is everything done, finished, complete?

I’m not talking about a punch list, although a punch list will sometimes be a part of the process. I’m talking about the moment when all parties involved in the construction contract or service agreement are satisfied with the finished work. Closing out the job means your work is complete and you get paid.

Both the negative experiences (change orders, nasty weather, supply delays, and the myriad of other things which pop up during the cycle of completing your project) as well as the positive experiences will fade in the memory of your customer. Yet, there is a psychological tool you can use to enhance your chances of leaving a favorable impression on them.

How does it work?

Here, let me explain. Have you ever been given a list of items to look at for a few moments, then been asked to remember all the items on the list? Chances are you’ll be able to remember the first few things as well as the last one or two items. All the words in the middle are often lost to your short term memory.

This article explains why that happens.

Understanding this psychological circumstance makes it easy to see why not only the first impression you make on your customer, but also the last impression you leave them with are both important for the well-being of your company. And, it is best to not leave Job Close Out to chance or even to a good memory.

Putting this information to use

Systemizing your procedure for closing out your projects augments your customer satisfaction rate as well as saves you time and hassle. Whether you’re a one-man-show or have a large number of employees, making a Job Close Out procedure a priority is a must for scaling your construction contracting business.

This is the first in a three-part series. In the next part we’ll look at the importance Job Close Out plays in mapping a superior customer journey, and in the final part discuss ways to make the process work for both you as well as your employees.