Your Construction Business Has a Dog

Money is the name of your construction company's dog

You own a dog whether or not you know it

If you own a construction contracting business, you own a dog. And we’ll get to that part later. But for right now, I’ll take you on a little journey down Working Dog Lane.

Ranch dogs must be working dogs

For example, Tonya’s first paying job beyond babysitting was on a ranch in northern Arizona. Her boss was a no-nonsense type who expected each of her ranch hands (including the animals) to put in a day’s work to receive a day’s pay. It makes sense. Therefore, when every dollar must be accounted for, every worker must make an account. The fact is, there isn’t a column for “is great at cuddling.”

Further, Tonya learned that if an animal was on the ranch, it had to pull its weight. Herd the cattle; get your supper. Catch the rats; your bowls remain filled. It’s a matter of simple economics.

Construction Business dogs

There are dogs; then, there are dogs in the construction business. There are great dogs that have the task of charming the folks who work in and visit the office. And, there are wonderful dogs that guard the shop, the yard, or the construction site.

You know they must be trained to perform well. When dogs are well-trained, they are a fantastic part of your business. If you have either of these types of dogs, you know what an asset they are.

But there is another dog that will be able to make or break your construction business. It’s a dog named Money. Yeah, Money is the dog we mentioned up there at the top of this article. The dog every construction business owns.

A dog named Money

Money is a dog that will serve you well, or Money is a dog that will never behave and constantly cause you grief.

The well-trained dog

Do you know someone who can make dogs behave, do tricks, pull their weight? Are you one of those people? Or, are you (like me) one of the folks who only wish they had a well-trained dog?

Above all, dogs aren’t born knowing all the things they need to do to serve well. They must be taught and trained.

Therefore, it makes sense that you do not leave the dog named Money to chance. Train Money well and:

  • Your peers will seek you out for advice.
  • The competition will wonder why you “get all the breaks.”
  • Your business reputation will precede you when you seek new jobs.

Yep, the dog named Money has those darling eyes, that ever-wagging tail, and (by golly) those fierce teeth. Beware!

Working with a dog trainer

A great trainer for the dog named Money (your construction accounting specialist) has much in common with the trainers who work with Fido, Spot, and Daisy. As a matter of fact, this article from Fun Paw Care is a good reference point.

Here are some highlights from the article:

  • Dog training and behavior modification take time!
  • Parents [Construction Business Owners] need to participate in the dog training process.
  • Don’t allow a dog to self-reward with inappropriate behaviors.
  • Dogs must be taught good habits and behaviors.
  • Your trainer is there to help you and your dog.

Some signs you need a dog trainer

Your leashed dog has repeatedly charged ahead of you and dragged you along, causing cuts, scrapes, and abrasions.

The rascal dog won’t quit barking – at passers-by, at other animals, at wind-blown bushes, at rocks.

The dog peeing on indoor objects is rampant and seemingly defiant.

Some signs you need a construction accounting specialist

You’re still cleaning the cuts and abrasions from the last time you took a good dragging.

You’re worried the noise won’t quit – can we meet payroll? Who owes us money? Have we paid the bills?

Something stinks! We need to get a handle on past poor decisions and make better ones in the future.

Who you gonna call?

Let me put it this way:

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

 

Outsourcing Accounting – How to know when it is time

Outsourcing accounting is how savvy contractors grow their businesses.

Outsourcing Accounting – How to know when it is time

Outsourcing accounting too soon

If you:

  1. Are an average (non-construction related) small business owner who factors in the time needed for administrative and accounting tasks you can probably wait to outsource until such time as you become quite busy.
  • Can’t identify the business result you want to see (an actual benefit to you or your business) perhaps you should wait. You must be clear in your own head about what you’re paying for and what you expect as a result. If you think of an accounting specialist as a cost generator rather than a business and profitability advisor, it is likely you’re not yet ready.
  • Are hell-bent on having your fingers in every piece of the pie. If you’re an (as yet) unconverted micro-manager who has a low trust level, it is probably better that you wait.

Outsourcing accounting when it is too late

If you:

See that your books and therefore your business is so messed up, so in debt, so unorganized, as to be on the brink of bankruptcy – it is probably too late.  

Outsourcing accounting just in time

If you:

  1. And your office staff are constantly feeling as if you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done, it is a prime time to begin looking for an outsourced accounting provider.
  • Understand outsourcing your accounting duties can be a total game-changer for your construction contracting business, then finding a virtual accounting firm should be your next move.
  • Know you’re ready to delegate the accounting operational tasks so you can focus on tasks of a business owner designed to grow your business, it is time to pick up the phone.

Outsourcing accounting pays off

For example, you have time for networking, meeting with in-progress clients, selling your services, and developing more ways to serve both your clients and your employees.

As independent contractors, virtual accounting specialists are part of your team without the “headache” of extras. Extras such as benefits, taxes, sick pay, and so on. This article from Entrepreneur tells why outsourcing certain functions can mean better talent at lower costs.

Outsourcing accounting with the Schulte and Schulte team means:

You get the best of our extensive construction contracting accounting knowledge and acumen.

Here are a few things we are good at dealing with for you:

  • Job costing
  • Audit readiness for high-risk workman’s comp companies
  • Complicated sales tax issues
  • Payroll
  • Inventory tracking
  • Systems development and deployment
  • Financial planning

Quick checklist

This quick checklist will be of help when you’re trying to decide if you’re seeking an outsourced accounting firm just in time.

Your business is growing.

You or your staff find you’re spending more time learning than doing.

You’re drowning in administrative tasks.

Your office staff is fraught with overwhelm.

You’re running out of time to focus on what makes you money.

Your personal life is taking a toll.

 

Wondering if now is the time to outsource your accounting and back office needs? Get in touch here and we’ll talk.

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

 

Introducing Our Construction Knowledgeable Payroll Specialist!

 

Way back in January we introduced you to Alicia Lybarger as our Cleanup Specialist – a job she has proven herself to be exceptional at performing. Now we’re excited to announce Alicia is accepting more responsibility and moving into her new position as the Schulte and Schulte, LLC Payroll Specialist.

What she does

In this role, she ensures accurate processing and recording of our clients’ payroll, provides timely and accurate financial information, and participates in data entry payroll processing.

Why we are so glad to have her

What we love about Alicia is she is proactive, analytical, and eager to work in a fast-paced environment. She thinks on her feet, enjoys working with people and working on multiple projects back to back. Besides all that, she has an excellent knowledge of payroll best practices as well as a commitment to client confidentiality.

Other things she likes doing

When she is not busy working for Schulte and Schulte clients, Alicia spends time with two rambunctious sons. She sews on a sewing machine handed down from her grandmother. She bakes and decorate cakes. And, she admits she is still in love with New Kids on The Block!

Need payroll help? Give Schulte and Schulte a call – we’ll hook you up!  480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735