Construction Accounting – Zooming In

Construction Accounting takes zooming in on the important areas.

One of the questions we’re often asked by commercial subcontractors is, “How do you do it?” The following is a dive into what it looks like working with an outsourced accounting and advisory firm. (Well, we don’t know if it is true for other firms – but this is what it looks like working with us. 😎)

Construction Accounting zoom in on understanding

While it is always our goal to provide each of our clients with a clear and up to date financial picture of his or her business, we remember to do so in English not Accountanteeze.

Some have shared there was a time, before they came to us, when they looked at all those reports and thought of them as a foreign language. We’ve become their “complexity filter.”

A few other things we implement in understandable language are:

  • Guidance for meeting long and short-term goals
  • Information concerning strategic thought and vision
  • Processes which make profit a verifiable reality

At its core, our services provide clients with confident, well-informed, professional advice.

Construction Accounting zoom in on client needs

Each client comes with his or her own set of needs. Things like:

  • Please clean up our old issues.
  • Can you just get us back on track?
  • We need help achieving high levels of profitability.
  • I need to know my books are taken care of and I can rest easy at the end of the year.
  • We’re trying to get bonded and we need to get this mess straightened out.
  • I hate dealing with contract management, can you take care of it?
  • My business coach said I need to build systems; can you help with that?
  • We took in a lot of money last year but can’t see where it went. Can you help?

Regardless of the complication, our goal is to meet individual needs, always striving to make it easier for each client to run with the big dogs.

Construction Accounting zoom in on systems

One of the things we strive to make clear is we are NOT simply financial historians.  While it is necessary that we give timely and accurate financial information, we also aid our clients in other areas. One of those areas is help in building systems.

We help clients:

  • Improve processes and procedures
  • Increase organizational structure
  • Better understand next steps

We help commercial subcontractors figure out which systems are working, and which are not. More importantly, we don’t try to “fix” their unbroken systems.

Zooming in through Zoom

Part of our job is helping our clients devise a tech-stack which helps them have better systems for dealing with their business and financial needs. So yeah, we do spend time with our heads in the cloud. Yet, we’re also down-to-earth when it comes to dealing with our clients.

And the corner where cloud and earth meets is when we have regular Zoom meetings with individual clients. It is during those times we meet with them “face-to-face” whether they’re in New Jersey or New Mexico, North Dakota or South Carolina, in a Phoenix suburb or Phoenix proper.

The types of things we discuss with them are:

  • Month end reports and what they mean
  • Unusual items we noticed in their reports
  • Our questions concerning their data
  • Their questions
  • Ways to improve (both from their end and ours)

While we believe our experience and well-thought-out tech solutions are important to how we help our clients, we believe nothing would be possible if we didn’t have good systems for communication in place. And one of those systems is a video conferencing SaaS called Zoom.

There you have it. We’ve zoomed in on a few things you can count on us to do to help you grow your commercial subcontracting business. And, we’ve told you how it is possible to meet with our clients no matter where they are located. Now you have a better idea of “how we do it.”

 

Want to learn more? Our office hours are 9 to 5 Arizona time where our main office is located. And our Toll-Free number is 866-629-7735. Give us a call!

5 Construction Takeaways from Archery

Construction Business lessons from Archery

5 Takeaways from Archery for your construction business

My first venture into the world of archery took place while I was still in high school. As I recall, our PE teachers chose a variety of sports and activities to keep those of us who were in our senior year interested. I chose the archery segment thinking it would be a lark, never once thinking it would be something I would be interested in after the 6-week venture. Yet it was.

What follows is a light-hearted look at what joining an archery club can do to inform your management skills in your commercial construction contracting business.

Construction Business Lesson One

As a sport, archery requires skills of:

  • precision
  • control
  • focus
  • repetition
  • determination

As a business, construction contracting requires . . . well, you know, the same set of skills.

On one level, when you send a crew to a jobsite, they must understand the basics of measuring precisely, controlling their actions, focusing on the task at hand, repeating their set of skills over and over, and having the determination to get the job done.

On another level, you as the business owner also have to bring it. The precision you bring to your managerial and leadership role sets the pace. Controlling the long-term plans as well as the day to day activities of your team is important. You must maintain your focus concerning where you are and where you plan to be in the long run. Building good business habits and practices require repetition on your part. And, you bring determination to the table with each new project and each new day.

Construction Business Lesson Two

When a person joins an archery club the oft stated club goal is “to help participants reach their individual goals while fostering a supportive team environment with a focus on safety, personal growth, and positive attitude.”

In order to present a winning team within your commercial construction business you do well to follow the same principles. It is as if you can make a checklist of the items in the archery club goals.

  • Encourage employees to reach their individual goals
  • Foster a supportive team environment
  • Focus on safety
  • Aid your team in their personal growth
  • Maintain a positive attitude

Construction Business Lesson Three

My next step to the shooting line came while in college. Archery was offered. I was interested. I took the class. It was there I learned of a few ways to protect my ever-wayward left arm from maintaining a permanent inner elbow bruise. The first step had to do perfecting my stance thus keeping my elbow out of the way of the released string. The second (back-up) step was to purchase an armguard which was not only larger but also sturdier than the flimsy guards we’d been offered in high school.

Maintain the proper equipment.

A bow and some arrows – what more could any archer need? Right? If you are an archer or have at least dabbled you know there is much more to it. The right type of bow, (recurve or compound) the correct set of arrows, (determined by draw weight and length) and the sight are just the beginning. Then, it is time to consider the armguard, quiver, and some type of release aid like a finger tab or a mechanical release. Plus, all this stuff has to be stored properly and repaired as needed.

Storing, repairing, and replacing the equipment your team needs requires diligence. Creating systems for everything from vehicle loading to maintenance schedules makes it easier to protect your valuable equipment.

Construction Business Lesson Four

After leaving college I still had a hankering to pick up the bow and arrow, see the target and release. Joining an archery club seemed like just the place to be. Besides the opportunity to hone and improve my skills, there was the competition, as well as the camaraderie.

Archery is not gender, age, or size limited. People who may not consider themselves “athletes” have the opportunity to participate.  Some even have a chance to go to the Olympics.

Building a great team in the construction field takes time. Yet, when done well . . . the rewards (gold medals not withstanding) are worth it. Consider:

  • Encourage those who may not have thought of construction as a career choice.
  • Make friendly competition part of the “game.” For example, gamify getting legible timesheets or POs turned in on time.
  • Reward safe delivery of the on time, under budget projects. Something as simple as an after-project dinner may be all that is needed.
  • Encourage and praise individuals as well as the team – often.
  • Offer classes and training, emphasizing the potential for personal as well as professional growth.

Construction Business Lesson Five

In each of my “archery phases” I had teachers as well as mentors who applauded my successes and gave me instructions concerning the areas where I could improve.

Here is a list of my personal take-aways which also work in the commercial contracting field.

  • Set the parameters of what is allowed and what is not
  • Teach safety at every juncture
  • Build ways to improve technical skills
  • Express and reinforce proper strategies (in the field and in the office)
  • Look for patterns which can be improved
  • Be consistent
  • By example teach your employees to flex their patience muscle

There you have it. Next time you see a target, think of all the examples archery gives to inform your management skills in the construction contracting field.

 

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. 

Because we are a virtual “corporate accounting office” for commercial construction businesses we can assist you no matter in which of the 50 United States your business is located. Call to see how we can be a part of your advisory board as well as lighten your accounting burden. Get in touch here.

3 Reasons You Should NOT Work with Schulte and Schulte

Reasons for working with Schulte and Schulte lead to excellence

3 Reasons You Should NOT Work with Schulte and Schulte

Reason 1 – you have it under control

You have your accounting under control. Your contract management goes off without a hitch. And, your company systems are top notch.

It’s understandable, you run a tight ship. You stay up to date with the latest strategies and available tech support in all accounting functions. Plus, you attend accounting conferences, take systemization classes, and understand all the features of your office tech devices.

You have several hours a day to devote to data entry, preparing and understanding financial reports, and dealing with the nuances of contract management.

And, to top it all off, all your company systems and processes are documented, stored, and easily accessed.

Best of all, your spouse, or your neighbor, or your second cousin’s ex-wife’s mother-in-law just finished a course in QuickBooks and he or she now knows exactly what job costing, quarterly taxes, payroll, change order, progress billing, and WIP reports are all about. Not to mention, he or she produces the financial reports your lending officer is likely to ask for – or the “tax man” demands.

Reason 2 – you like things the way they are

You don’t want no dumb girl telling ya “You can do this and that to make your commercial construction company more profitable and easier to run.”

Reason 3 – you can’t afford us

While the first two reasons were written tongue-in-cheek, this is indeed a real reason some must consider. We aren’t cheap. And, the reason we aren’t cheap is we are quite valuable!

Our clients remind us all the time of how glad they are that we work with them. We straighten up long miss-managed books as well as answer small questions concerning software nuances.  And, we work out the data entry solutions and develop entire systems to manage their construction business processes. Plus, we can take over the contract management duties as well as find one-on-one solutions to accounting dilemmas. We are the go-to partners for all things accounting and many things back office related.

“Thank you so much! Our CPA told us he had never seen a more complete and nicer set of books from any of his construction customers.” – a client who had been with us only 4 months when he told us this

“When we first decided to go with you, I told the other gals in the office, ‘This girl knows what she is talking about, she is good.’ I was right!” – a client who has been with us almost from the time we first opened our doors

“Having you be on our team has already gotten us through a lot of issues I wouldn’t have known how to deal with. Thanks for getting this one straightened out too.” – a client who has been with us for about 6 months

The reason to outsource

Schulte and Schulte is the “corporate accounting department” for small to medium commercial construction contractors. We are their outsourced partner.

An article from the archives of the New York Times is enlightening concerning the benefits of outsourcing.

And, this article from Inc. says outsourcing certain tasks can be cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.

3 Reasons you Should work with Schulte and Schulte

  1. We understand well the junction between Construction Contracting Street and Accounting Avenue.
  2. Our company culture means we work hard to see to it that our clients run with the big dogs.
  3. We’re not cheap – because we’re worth it.

 

Now that you’re ready to see how we can add value to your commercial construction business give us a call Toll Free: 866-629-7735 or get in touch here.  

Our Clients Are Savvy Contractors – Take a Peek

Our clients are construction subcontractors.

Who our clients are

Our clients are construction subcontractors. Yet there is more to the picture. They’re ambitious, smart, determined, enthusiastic, resourceful, industrious go-getters.

We understand the position many of our clients are in when they come to us. They’re splitting their time between:

  • returning phone calls
  • developing new products or services
  • going on sales calls
  • hiring or firing employees
  • managing social media
  • doing the bookkeeping
  • answering email
  • checking the jobsites
  • invoicing
  • dealing with payroll
  • marketing
  • keeping employees motivated and happy
  • networking
  • and . . . well, simply putting out fires which are often left still smoldering.

This list from OSHA describes Construction Special Trade Contractors. And, it does a fair job of identifying the types of businesses our clients own.

How our clients are served

At Schulte and Schulte, we are advisers and consultants, not just bookkeepers or accounting specialists.

Why do we consider the difference important?

Bookkeeping is a component of a construction company’s financial health. Yet that is not the only component. We provide counsel and advice on financial and business issues. Advice that goes beyond the scope of entering the right numbers in the right place. It is our intention that this approach provides value to our clients in both visionary and in-the-moment ways.

It is important to us to help our clients get meaningful metrics and systems in place so they’re no longer flying blind.

We work with established construction subcontractors who have invested time and money into finding ways to grow their businesses. Subcontractors who are ready to take the next step. Subcontractors who must get familiar with and in charge of their numbers in order to grow their business and be profitable.

We partner with our clients on a long-term basis to ensure they get results from the work we do together.

Peek at our ideal client

Our ideal client is a construction subcontractor – but not “any old” subcontractor.

Here are the other things our ideal client is:

  1. Accountable and responsive
  2. Willing to listen to and act upon our advice
  3. Tech savvy or willing to learn
  4. Determined to scale their business
  5. Inclined to offer referrals

Peek at us

We provide accountability (beyond simple accounting) and hold our clients’ feet to the fire. The fire of staying on task, putting the right systems in place, and of understanding the metrics.

Are you ready to take the next step in growing your construction business? You can take your place on our waiting list by calling 866-629-7735 or get in touch here.

Avoid Construction Business Overwhelm

Avoid overwhelm in your construction business. Delegate, Designate, Automate, Eliminate.

Avoid overwhelm in your construction business. Delegate, Designate, Automate, Eliminate.

I grew up hearing this phrase, “Let go and let God.” The jist of the phrase is to allow God to handle the things you can’t. It is a simple concept to understand, yet a devilishly difficult discipline to achieve. And, if we have a difficult time allowing God (you know – the guy who can do ANYTHING) to handle things for us, how much harder it is to allow people to take over the things we’re finding difficult to deal with.

Yet, if you’re serious about guiding your construction company to growth and sustainability, you’re going to have to “let go, and let other people.”

You choose

Strategy One – Micromanage. Micromanaging is an ultimately self-defeating strategy. It is a major time waster for you and an ultimate morale defeater for those in your employee.

Strategy Two – Personal Growth. Personal growth for both you and your employees will broaden your horizons exponentially. You become a more expert and powerful leader and your employees gain skills and knowledge which make them more valuable to you.

You’re probably worried that:

  1. The work won’t be done to your exacting standards
  2. It will take longer to teach someone else to do than just doing it yourself
  3. This is cruddy work no one wants to do
  4. It will cost too much
  5. Some people can’t be trusted

The answer is:

  1. It might not be done to your exacting standards. It may take some time to get others up to the standard you would prefer. Yet, if you’ve no time left to get it done, it isn’t getting done at all. Give someone else the opportunity.
  2. There is a possibility it will take time to teach someone to do it. Yet, once they’re taught, you no longer need worry about it. Or, it could be someone will step to the plate and get it done with little to no training. Other people have skills too, you know. 😉
  3. Just as one man’s trash is another’s treasure, one man’s cruddy job is another’s fun task.
  4. Sure enough, there may be costs associated with getting things done you no longer have time or skills for. Weigh the costs. If it takes you longer to do something with a less than satisfactory result, why hang onto it?
  5. It is true, some people can’t be trusted. Weed them out. Find others who can be trusted and entrust them with the tasks at hand.

If you frequently feel frazzled and are left wondering which direction to turn before taking the next step, you’re a good candidate for learning the 4 “Ates” of Successful Construction Company Owners. Even if you think you already delegate effectively, consider you may have room for growth in this area. It’s time to learn about the four “ates.”

The 4 “ates” of Successful Construction Company Owners

  1. Delegate
  2. Designate
  3. Automate
  4. Eliminate

Which leads to the over-all “ate” – Get it off your plate!

Delegate – to those already in your employ

Delegating will often create a short-term cost, which leads to the creation of long-term benefits. Getting really good at empowering others to deliver their best, builds your capacity to get the job done through the contributions of others.

Fast Company and The Art of Manliness both weigh in with good articles concerning the art of delegating well. Jayson DeMers, in his article found on the Inc. website gives you 7 Strategies for Delegating Better and Getting More Done.

Delegation is more than just a management concept. It is a skill (which can be learned) and will allow you to move beyond the land of overwhelm into the realm of getting-work-completed-in-a-timely-and-productive-manner.

Designate – to new hires or outsource service providers

As you go along the path of building your construction business you find there are tasks or skills needed for which you have neither time nor competence to address. Consider:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Answering phones
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Web design and maintenance
  • Content creation
  • Tools, parts, and supplies running
  • Sales
  • Janitorial duties
  • Sales training
  • Tax preparation
  • Human resources duties

Sometimes it is as easy as hiring someone to take care of some of the tasks. Janitorial and runner both come to mind (and might even be carried out by the same person.) At other times, it will be better to outsource tasks which include skills or knowledge you don’t have. Web design and maintenance, accounting, and human resources are all candidates for the outsource solution.

What are you least efficient and effective at completing?

Which tasks are you most likely to put off until the last minute, thereby never giving them the full attention they deserve?

What have you been limping along doing and now know it is time to bring on a pro in order to have the task done properly?

Answer those questions and you’re on your way to determining the type of person you should hire or the outsource solution provider you should engage.

Automate – through tech

How long has it been since you used a phone book, bothered with a set of encyclopedias, pounded away on a typewriter, or payed for your groceries with a check?

Your personal as well as your business life are both being disrupted by technology. Yet, the construction industry as a whole has been seen dragging its feet in the tech world.

Beware, the light is dawning on many. It is no longer a matter of stepping ahead of the competition through the use of tech; it is a matter of being left behind through the neglect of tech.

Let’s face it, there must be an investment of your time to investigate your options and an investment of your dollars to implement new technology across your construction company. Yet, making that investment pays off. It pays off in three bold ways:

  1. Increased reliability
  2. Improved performance
  3. New capabilities through new functions

As far as mobility? Your phone alone has taught you the benefit of a tech device which allows you to be more mobile.

Almost any tech you bring into your business is going to come with a built-in learning curve. Yet, once you and your employees get over the hurdle of learning the new tech both you and they will be better equipped to perform your individual job functions better.

Both GetApp and Capterra list a plethora of SaaS and apps to choose from for your construction company. Look them over, you’re likely to find several options that will be of use to you.

Eliminate – the tasks, duties, or systems that no longer work

Sometimes it is difficult to determine which tasks, duties, or systems are not working for you. Yet, you can look at a few symptoms which will, at the very least, give you a heads-up that something is wrong.

  • Your clients complain about poor quality or bad service
  • Your employees are constantly frustrated
  • Some work gets duplicated and some work is left undone
  • Your costs increase (for example, there is a constant need for rework)
  • Resources are wasted
  • Bottlenecks develop
  • You’re frustrated

As you grow your construction business you’ll find you have new goals, you use new technology, the business environment changes, and your established systems often become inefficient or outdated.

Consider these two examples of when a system isn’t working:

  • Your people use email instead of the CRM you provided for them.
  • You put documents in Dropbox rather than on the intranet.

Or think about these time disrupters:

  • You don’t have quick access to key tasks.
  • You’re constantly interrupted by people asking the same question over and over.
  • Meetings run too long and don’t have a specific agenda.
  • You’re disrupted by email notifications throughout the day.
  • You don’t have a “hard stop” to end your work day.

Make a decision to eliminate the tasks, duties, and systems which aren’t aiding you in growing your construction business. Take the time to think it through then begin getting rid of the outdated, old fashioned, or broken pieces of your work day.

Your call to action

Learn how a team dedicated to helping construction contractors avoid overwhelm and conquer their accounting needs can best serve you. We’ll help you get it off your plate. Give Schulte and Schulte a call today so you can take your spot on our waiting list.  480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

The Efficient Construction Office Part 2

Efficient construction offices take time and planning.

Efficient construction offices take time and planning.

This is the second in a 3-part series dealing with efficiency in a construction contracting office. The first installment, having to do with the basics, can be found here

Being efficient is all about systems and processes

Finding ways to make your construction office operate more efficiently begins with determining simple, thoughtful solutions for the various systems and processes necessary to get from point A to point Z. You already have systems and processes in place, whether or not you know it. I think you’ll see what I mean if you take a moment to consider diets.

You’re on a diet whether you know it or not

Assuming you eat, (and I’m going to make that bold assumption) you’re on a diet. Be it good, bad, or somewhere in between you are on a diet. The same thing goes for your construction office; you’re either functioning with poor systems and processes or you’re somewhere on the scale of good, better, best systems and processes.

The words “processes” and “systems” are often used synonymously

I know, because I’m guilty. Yet, they are distinct. A process helps you run systems most efficiently. A system has a process built around it – the process involves specific, documented responsibilities and next steps.

While your entire business could be considered a system, there are smaller systems within it. Each of these smaller systems –  advertising, bookkeeping, sales, permit management, supplier management, and so on – should have a process built around it. The process is the steps you take in order to help the system run as efficiently as possible. So how do you determine what each step of a process is or should be? One way is to create a process map.

Create a process map

There are a few ways to accomplish the task of process mapping. One is using an online tool such as smartdraw. Another online tool is Lucidchart where you can also find a brief explanation of a process map.

Or you can rely on the pen and paper method. What you will be creating is a “map” of the sequential steps involved in any given process.

If you’re a one-man-show (or a one-woman-show) then a piece of paper and a pencil or a pen may suffice. If you have a number of people working in your office you may wish to use sticky notes and a wall surface, or a dry erase board. The main point here is to get everyone who is involved in an individual process to be involved in the creating of the process map.

Especially if you’re creating the process map with several people involved, I suggest the analogue method simply because a “scruffy” visual will make it more inviting for people to participate. If you create the map online, things might look “done” to the participants and they’ll be less likely to want to “mess it up.”

Process mapping explained

One of the best places I’ve found for a great overview and tons of information concerning process mapping as well as process improvement is from a process consultant named Ian James. His videos are entertaining, his British accent is a pleasure to listen to, his information is geared toward an office setting, and he understands that people are the most important factor concerning process improvement.

Take a few minutes to watch some of his videos or read some of his articles. He gives an excellent overview of the hows as well as the whys of process improvement.

You may wish to start with this set of articles which deals with classifying different process types. Or this spunky video having to do with ways to overcome the pitfalls you may encounter when trying to do process mapping.

Documenting the processes – no silver bullet

One more article you’ll find most informational on Mr. James’ site is this one having to do with process documentation. It is lengthy and chock full of good info. He says, “The goal of process documentation is to provide a means to communicate what the process is.”

Consider why you may need to communicate what the process is.

  • The person who regularly completes a process is on vacation or has left your business.
  • A new employee needs to be brought up to speed quickly.
  • The process is only used occasionally and people (even you) may forget what the process is.
  • Everyone is on the same page when it gets down to “this is how it is done.”
  • Your construction business is able to maintain and grow better through consistency.
  • Having the written process makes updating and improving easier when the time comes.

“If you don’t write it down, you don’t own it.” Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth

This looks time consuming

If you’re concerned about the time involved in the whole idea of creating processes for multiple systems here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • It is likely you already have some good processes in place (and at most, may only need to document them.)
  • You aren’t expected to have every process documented perfectly in the next week or even within a month.
  • There are plenty of processes already mapped out and ready for you to use in the form of SaaS. (I’ll talk more about that in the next installment of this series.)
  • There are a few SaaS applications which are designed to make documentation and the use of set processes available, so you won’t need to start from scratch – think templates.

Setting aside time to create documented processes will, in the end, save you time + headache. Take a look at this post to be reminded why it is worth the effort.

In the next article of this 3-part series the focus will be on ways to build, maintain, and use documented processes on your journey to cultivate an efficient construction office.  

Get in touch today, see how Schulte and Schulte can be of service to your construction contracting or service business by calling 480-442-4032.

Running an Efficient Construction Office – Part 1

Efficiency in your office basics.

Efficiency in your office basics.

Efficiency in the construction office

Efficiency for the sake of efficiency isn’t enough. As a project-based organization, you often face a struggle with factors such as time, cost, and quality on each individual job site. Therefore, being efficient and effective in the office becomes paramount to supporting all the needs associated with getting the jobs, performing the jobs, and getting paid for the jobs.

Let’s start with Return on Investment

Yes, there is an ROI factor connected to the level of efficiency in your construction office. And it will be best if you have a holistic view of the hard ROI and the indirect or so-called “soft ROI.”

Because you will be able to see the hard ROI in the numbers, I’ll focus here on the soft ROI. Examples of long-term soft success metrics to look for are:

  • Escalation of employee productivity
  • Enhancement of company morale
  • Decrease in work related stress levels
  • Increase in company culture awareness
  • Upsurge in employee wellbeing
  • Improved brand perception and reputation
  • Boost in word of mouth advertising

These soft metrics aren’t as easy to quantify or measure. Yet, set against your immediate and long-term financial goals, they are equally important to consider.

Pour the Foundation

Before we get to system and process improvement (covered later in this series) we’ll delve into some overall office basics which play into the goal of better office efficiency. It doesn’t matter if your office is in your home, shop, or another stand-alone location, these ideas will work. Some of the recommendations will involve more effort as well as a monetary comment. Others are so simple you’ll probably wonder why you hadn’t been using them already.

Color

Painting the office walls is neither simple nor quick, yet it is bound to have an effect on your and your employees attitude as well as efficiency. This brief article from Entrepreneur will give you a quick guide to which colors will serve your office best.

Lighting

From eye strain to headaches and a few other glitches in-between, it seems that improper lighting is the likely culprit in many offices. The folks at Inc. mention five ways lighting can improve mood, productivity, and health. Their second point about making lighting more flexible is likely to be the least capital outlay for the most intrinsic gain.

Temperature

The folks at PGi offer a bit of office temperature advice that might surprise you. Take a look. Even though they rely on scientific research to make their recommendation, you may wish to consider providing office scarves, sweaters, even blankets part of the year and a few of these gadgets during the summer months if you have two or more people sharing office space. BTW, the makers of the facial spray from Mario Badescu (mentioned in the link above) recommend keeping the spray in the refrigerator for “an extra refreshing and cooling boost.”  And yes, since I live in the wilds of the Arizona desert I see that as a majorly good idea.

View and décor

Gloomy is as gloomy does. If your offices are dark or otherwise constrained, being efficient isn’t likely to be your strong point. Considering both the color and lighting advice above is a good starting point. From there, other simple ways to add to your view and décor are by bringing in plants, adding beautiful decorative objects, placing intriguing wall art, or simply placing framed photos of your loved ones on your desk. Do you have a small collection worth showing off? Consider displaying it in your office for your own as well as the enjoyment of visitors. If you have the funds and the desire to go all out, then by all means find an interior decorator who will understand your corporate identity and work with you to make all your interior spaces rock.

Scents

Lisa Evans over at Entrepreneur says, “Aromatherapy probably isn’t the first tool you think of to help boost your productivity and grow your business, but maybe it should be.” She goes on to describe various reasons for introducing scent into your office as well as ways to do so that won’t be offensive to others.

Stress balls and fidget spinners

OK, I saved this for last, because I like it – and it seemed like fun to me. Yet, I know what you may be thinking. What do non-productive gadgets have to do with efficiency?  There is evidence that “stress toys” may actually help folks focus on their work. While the jury is still out, it may be worth the few dollars to pick up a stress toy (or 5 – depending on your office size *wink*) and give it a try. If “calm down” is the directive you’d like to give yourself or someone in your office, perhaps having a fidget widget nearby is an acceptable answer.

In the next part of this 3-part series we’ll delve into effective planning methods for becoming more efficient in your construction contracting office.

In the meantime, you can get in on the accounting service we provide (which comes with systems and processes as part of the package) by getting in touch here.

Getting Your Construction Company Ready for Company

You know the story. Company’s coming – we need to get this place straightened up!

Truth is, when guests are on their way, getting the “stuff” picked up isn’t much of a problem if there are already systems and routines in place. If like-items are stored in appropriate use-ready places, if each family member knows what his assignment is, if the place is simply cluttered as opposed to being in a state of filth, you can probably nail it in less than an hour.

But, what if your home is in a “state of filth?” What if you have company coming in only an hour?

Is your construction business ready for “company?”

Put another way – Do you have an exit plan? Are you preparing now for that day? Because you know as well as I do, some day “company” will arrive – will you be ready?

There are some construction contracting or service businesses which could be ready for company at the drop of a hat and others which wouldn’t be ready no matter how much notice they were given.

The process of getting your business “ready for company” necessitates the business practices and procedures that maximize the return from your construction contracting firm.

Let’s talk basics

You’ll have to implement best practices for construction business planning which at the very least includes:

  • management
  • operations
  • finances
  • marketing

A solid plan means you will have created operations manuals or their equivalent, and will have at minimum one training center. You’ll be able to document and implement your industry’s best practices, procedures, and systems.

Let’s talk about your job

There are two major jobs you, the owner, need to concern yourself with and they are –  creating career opportunities for your team and building a company that runs without you. Perhaps the greatest task you’ll face is to make yourself DISPENSABLE.

Let’s talk business financials

Knowing your exit plan will have you looking at your business financials in a whole new light. A few of the things you’ll see with better clarity are:

  • Having a budget in place
  • Understanding your accountability to employees
  • Determining to increase revenue, manage costs, and direct overhead spending
  • Organizing and measuring your rise to more profit

We can help.  480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 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