Technically it is About Organizing the Tech

Organizing technology

Tech is a wild and wooly beast that can be tamed. It really must be tamed if you’re to survive in the construction industry. And, taming tech means getting it organized in ways that serve you rather than overwhelm you.

When you think about the tools tech has altered, enhanced, or replaced, you’ll get a better idea of how important it is to use the organizing mantra, “A place for everything and everything in its place” even in the tech world.

For example, do you look for the phonebook when you need to find a new supplier, or do your fingers dance across the keys?

When you realize a change must be made quickly on a job site, do you jump in the truck and head that way, or do you make a phone call?

When tech is used properly, everything from how the progress photos are analyzed to how the numbers end up in the ledger columns has moved from slow and tedious to fast and insightful

The bottom line, getting your tech organized has the potential to make your construction business more productive and profitable.

Getting Productivity Tools Organized

Even for the “organizationally challenged,” there is a tendency among us humans to want to find patterns, sequences, and systems. You’ve probably heard it expressed like this, “There’s got to be a better way.” Or like this, “Someone ought to fix this mess.”

At first, I determined to organize the following list in order of importance. Then, I realized that the order of importance depends on two qualifying factors:

  1. The person using the technology
  2. The day of the week it is being used

Yeah, that challenging. So, I took the easy route and listed them alphabetically.

These are the types of technological productivity tools that should be in your construction business toolbox. Typically, these tools will be in the form of SaaS or apps. And, loosely speaking, they will form the tech stack used in your construction company.

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Contact management
  • Email administration
  • Equipment and tool tracking
  • Meetings and communication
  • Project control
  • Social media oversight
  • Travel and expense tracking

These technological productivity tools can also provide the foundation of many of your construction business operating systems.

Clean out the technology productivity tools closet

Like cleaning out a physical closet, begin by dumping any apps or SaaS you no longer use.

Then, determine if you have duplicates or apps so similar; they become redundant. Toss the extras. If you’re uncertain or wary of deleting or doing away with SaaS or an app, you may need to revisit this article concerning Lost Cost Fallacy. 

Next, take the time to scan for viruses or performance issues.

After the process of clearing, it is time to review the current versions of SaaS or apps and decide if it’s time to upgrade.

Lastly, verify the integrity of your data backup.

Organizing electronic files

“The goal of electronic file management is to ensure that you can find what you’re looking for, even if you’re looking for it years after its creation.”

Susan Ward, writing for The Balance Small Business, lays out 10 File Management Tips to Keep Your Electronic Files Organized. 

Link over. Read it. I mean it! Ward presents good stuff.

For example, one of her tips, #6 Be Specific, is one I wish I had known (and practiced) years ago. She is talking about giving files logical, specific names, including dates. When I think about the time I’ve wasted looking for information within my files I cringe.

There are only two things I would add to Ward’s tips:

  1. Use a structure that suits the way you think and work.
  2. When writing systems and while training, emphasis should be placed on how you want things done, while still allowing for personal preference when the efficiency and outcome won’t be changed.

Parting words

This article is the third in a 4-part series concerning organizing your construction contracting business. You can find the first, Organizing Your Mind and the second, Organizing Time by linking over. The next part will be about organizing your physical space.

 

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction business owner through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers. 

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

Being Intentional in Your Construction Business

Being Intentional for the sake of your construction business

Being Intentional in Your Construction Business

Being Intentional – the question

Martin Holsinger, owner of Protractor Podcast and an Internet Marketing Agency recently asked on a social media platform, “What is the one thing you want to be more intentional about this year as we move into spring?”

There were a number of good responses. I contributed an answer. Thought about it some more and added an additional reply. Then, I thought about it even more.

Holsinger’s original question included these words, “the one thing.” So, why was it that I responded twice? Perhaps I had missed the importance of the word “one.” Sorry, Martin. 😔

Being Intentional – the explanation

So, I went on with the thinking, what does “intentional” really mean? I thought I knew. But, as these things go, I wanted to make sure I really knew. And, being the good little researcher I am, I went looking for the answer. You might suppose I would simply pick up the dictionary and put an end to the mindful debate.

Nope.

I went straight to the people’s choice, my friend (?) google. There were a number of people speaking on the subject. And, if those tallies at the top of the google search page were real, more people had something to say on the subject than I had time to read.

Still, being intentional about my quest, I gleaned a few things which clarified the subject for me. When you set out to be intentional these are the three things which make a difference:

  1. Have a clear understanding of your purpose
  2. Focus on what matters
  3. Take action

The example

With that in mind, I recalled a real-life example I encountered last week.

I was invited to meet for dinner at a happy little pizza joint that is a central location for me and a few friends. We’ve met there before. The promise and the expectation was good food, good laughs, and a good time had by all. While all those expectations were met (eventually) the problem arose in the journey.

And, isn’t that where all problems in our lives as well as in our businesses arise – on the journey?

Only a few miles from home, on the path I usually take to the pizza joint, I discovered the once 4-lane road had been reduced to a 2-lane road.

There were signs. Road Work Ahead. Single Lane Ahead. Merge Right.

The signs are there for us to read as we travel with intention.

No problem. I had given myself a padded time-frame for getting to my destination because . . . well, you never know when there may be a problem (like road construction) to slow you down.

Then, at the corner where I normally turn left the sign was simple. No Left Turn.

No matter how well we plan there will be obstacles and signs which thwart us on our journey.

Remaining Intentional

Again, no problem. I knew of another street ahead where I could turn left and still get to where I wanted to go.

Except the same sign appeared on that street corner too. No Left Turn.

Often on the path to overcoming an obstacle, more obstacles appear.

And, as far as I could see ahead of me were those nasty little orange and white traffic safety cones. Far be it from me to fuss about construction. Yet, I may as well admit, sometimes far is pretty close.

Zinging around in my law-abiding-mind is the recollection of the traffic ticket someone close to me recently received for (yep, of all things) turning left at an under-construction intersection which had an all too visible sign – No Left Turn. Adding to that zinging is my consternation concerning the many happy (or unhappy) travelers who would be trapped behind me if I determined to break the law and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so I could safely make the illegal left turn. Safety first, you know. 😉

While we’re on the go we must make quick decisions which affect others around us.

Turning right on a leftward journey

So? So, rather than wait to see if one more street corner had a nasty little stop-her-from-getting-where-she-wants-to-go No Left Turn sign, I flipped the turn signal to the right. After making a few jogs in the neighborhood, I was now driving straight down the street denied me by the No Left Turn boondoggle of stupid signs.

Occasionally we must make moves which will right the path even when they seem counter-intuitive. I mean, who turns right when their destination is toward the left?

Like I said, I eventually got to my destination, met my friends, talked, listened, laughed, ate pizza, and set off to return home. As I began the journey home, I made the decision to follow a different route in order to avoid the construction zone which had slowed me earlier in the evening.

Learning from the problems and obstacles which pop up on our journey is wise.

Having determined the route I would take home, I put the car in gear and headed out. All went well. That is, all went well until I noticed the amber light set to the side of the road. The intersection at which I would turn left on my journey home was narrowed to one lane and no left turns would be allowed.

Having a sense of humor is paramount to owning a business. Sometimes, no matter how well intentioned you are, road construction is going to mess with your mind and your journey.

Being Intentional in your construction business

To be intentional is to knowingly choose your direction. Where do you want to arrive next year at this time? What about next month? The following list will give you ideas concerning areas where you might need to increase your focus and intention.

  • Do you need to improve your construction company’s safety rating?

 

  • Is it time to be certain you are making a profit?

 

  • Is presenting yourself professionally an area where you need to improve?

 

  • Do you need to be better with your people management and delegating skills?

 

  • Is now the time to get a firm grip on which construction related technology will serve your business best?

 

  • Will you need to learn how to better evaluate the risks associated with each potential project?

You get the idea. Determine where you need to be more intentional. Then you’ll be able to focus on what matters. Now, take action.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

 

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

 

Preventing Loss of Tools, Equipment, and Supplies

Preventing loss through the use of systems and strategies in the construction contracting world.

Preventing Loss of Tools, Equipment, and Supplies

Preventing loss of your stuff

I remember the overall depletion of my dad’s spirit the morning he walked out the door to go to work and discovered his tools had all been stolen. Tools which had taken years to accumulate. Tools which had somehow been magically transformed to fit the curves of his hands, his fingers, his being.

Yes, there was insurance.

No, it didn’t cover the entire loss.

It stinks! It stinks when you have to deal with insurance, downtime, and the feeling of violation. Yet, loss happens.

Preventing loss – where to start

The first steps toward loss prevention are strong locks, proper lighting, and adequate insurance. Beyond these and in reinforcement of them, there are numerous other steps you can take.

Preventing loss – it takes a system

Taking a proper inventory of your tools and equipment is elemental. While you’re at it, take photographs of individual items. And, remember to record the serial numbers.

Creating a checklist of items to be placed in vehicles or a proper storage facility at the close of the workday has at least two benefits. It goes a long way to help your crew understand the importance you place on and the care you take of your items. Plus, it it makes it easier for your crew to better support your goal of no tool or equipment loss.

Preventing loss through marking

Another loss prevention tactic you can use is marking your tools and equipment. Some possibilities include:

  1. Painting “your” color on your items. Two colors will aid in making your tools and equipment more distinctive as most companies apply only one. While many construction companies use red, blue, or orange, few add a stripe of a contrasting color. For example, you can choose turquoise with a wide line of yellow running across it.  
  2. Engraving or etching your items with your logo and other identifying marks is better than paint, (for obvious reasons) and gives you more options. You can add inventory numbers, your address, or a phone number to your items if you choose.
  3. Purchasing GPS Tracking or Bluetooth tool tracking is likely to be a bigger spend than the other options yet perhaps more useful. This story from October of 2018 will give you an idea of how this technology is useful to you as well as to the police. Consider too, some insurance companies offer a discount on the comprehensive portion of their policies when they know you’re using some type of tracking system. 

If you’re considering the benefits of GPS tracking, check out this article which discusses five high tech ways to control construction site theft.

A few other tactics to consider

  • Use a sign-out sheet for company tools
  • Schedule supply deliveries on an as-needed basis
  • Prevent on-site parking
  • Train your team to put their tools up when not in use
  • Offer rewards to those who turn in thieves or provide valuable information on crimes
  • Install alarm systems and/or CCTV on your office, shop, or tool storage areas
  • Train Fido to do his best work at night (yeah, even a nice dog can be a great deterrent to would-be thieves)
  • Put Geo-fencing to use through the aid of apps or other systems
  • Invest in thorough background checks of potential employees
  • Encourage the neighbors of your property or jobsite to report suspicious activity
  • Think about the use of security guards depending on location
  • Establish a system for verifying deliveries   

Preventing loss isn’t always possible

No matter what steps you take or how diligent you are, there are going to be some items which suddenly develop legs and walk away. Yet, there are measures you can take to slow it down and keep it to a minimum.

Having a plan in place if your shop, trailer, vehicle, or jobsite is burgled will make the next steps a little easier. The plan should designate who is in charge of each step which needs to be taken. Developing a checklist of steps will make this process easier. Include appropriate phone numbers or other contact information; local police, your insurance company, GPS tracking company, your landlord (where your business is located,) the GC or owner (of the jobsite) are all possibilities for your list.

By putting loss prevention practices in place, you can do your best to keep the “bad guys” out and the “good guys” honest. Developing a system for your commercial construction firm which addresses the issue of theft is probably not your idea of how to have a good time at the office. But then neither is all the nonsense you have to go through when you lose your tools, equipment, or supplies.

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. We invite you to get in touch here.

Grow an Established Construction Business – Part 2

Construction management of project risk and adopting new technology

Construction business growth

Construction, at its very heart, is exhilarating. Being part of an industry that manufactures the clients’ desired product on site is challenging, stimulating, and fulfilling.

Growing a construction business is hard work and requires more than wishful thinking or hoping things will fall in place. In part one of this three-part series we looked at one area, “dealing with changing regulations” which contractors must heed in order to succeed. If you haven’t read it yet, take a moment and jump over to see where this post originates.

In this second part we’ll be look at “managing project risk” and “dealing with new technology.”

Manage construction project risk

Many subcontractors find themselves dealing with insufficient management of project risk. This article from ConstructConnect, titled Identifying and Managing Construction Project Risks deals with identifying, managing, avoiding, mitigating, and accepting risks. It is well worth the time it takes to read.

There is more to scrutinize. Sometimes, the things which we don’t think of as a risk (such as paying your employees for each full day of work) can be rather a risky business after all. One of our fellow accountants shared a story about how one of her clients was very hesitant to purchase a recommended piece of software. He eventually did follow her recommendation.

The software she suggested is used for employee time tracking and scheduling. Within the first month of use, her client discovered (among other things) that he had one long-term, trusted employee who was checking into the jobsite in the morning, getting the crew set up, then leaving the site and spending most, if not all of the day on side jobs. Yeah, sometimes what you find out, stinks!

Other risks to consider

  • Seasonal slowness
  • Injuries to third parties
  • Faulty work by the crew
  • Missed deadlines
  • Employees providing less than stellar customer service
  • Not adopting tech soon enough to keep up with the competition

Using your own (hard won) experience and information from the above linked article, you can begin putting together your own list of possible risks then begin defining ways you can manage, avoid, mitigate, or accept them.

Plan for and adopt new technology

The list is long concerning the technology available to today’s construction subcontractor. So long, it can be dizzying. In one of our recent articles, Technology Isn’t the Focus, Business Is, we dealt with the “why” of choosing the right tech for your subcontracting business.  In the end, just as with all your other business choices, the reason for choosing certain technological solutions is to better serve your clients.

Yet, there is more

Having the best tech in the world won’t mean anything if you’re unable to get buy-in from your employees and subs. This article from Forbes offers excellent information concerning how to get employees to really use new technology.

For your employees, understanding why the new technology is an improvement from what they had before is paramount. And, part of that understanding must rest in the portion of the brain that always asks, “what’s in it for me?” Plus, your workers and subs are likely to have a few follow-up questions, like “How does this affect me?” and “How will it change the way I work?”

An example

Say you want to introduce GPS tracking to your crew. Some of the perks you can mention to your employees are:

  • No “he said – she said” with clients. GPS provides employee proof of service.
  • There will be a cut back on paper work giving your team more time to focus on serving the client.
  • They will be paid for all hours actually worked.

Your job is laying out “a vision for the future” and providing an explanation for how the new technology will improve the business, thereby improving the lives of your people.

Improve the lives of your employees and subs

Technologies that require multi-day training programs and hefty user manuals are more likely to cause employee rebellion and perhaps even stalled adoption. You do well to remember that while functionality is critical user-friendliness is hyper-critical.

Customize training for individual users. For example, some may want a day long, in-house demonstration, while others would prefer online training to be done at their own pace. It is best to get influencers from your company onboard as quickly as possible. They will help others understand the how of using the new tech as well as the why for the sake of the company as well as the individuals involved.

There’s no time to waste

It is no longer a matter of waiting around to see if the new tech is “worth it.” The tech available today allows you to provide better organized projects, reduce onsite accidents, and stay competitive.

While you may think there is some risk involved in adding technology to your company, it is time to realize, there is even greater risk if you don’t.

Look for this next

Next week, we’ll take a look at preparing for financial needs in advance and creating documented, sustaining processes.

We’ve created a waiting list for those who are prepared to work with us in growing their construction contracting business. To get in on “the good stuff” call 480-442-4032 or get in touch here.

Grow an Established Construction Business – Part 1

Grow a construction business

You’ve gone beyond finding your first client. You’ve gotten past all the start-up issues. You are ready to take the next steps to grow and prosper your construction business. Grow and prosper in ways which are likely to surpass your original dream.

It is fun to look back on and remember those heady days when you first became a business owner. It is even more fun to look ahead at what you’ll accomplish next.

Now it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work – on the next steps.

Grow – it isn’t an easy task, yet it is enjoyable

There is so much involved; from mindset to cold sweat, from legislation to duration, from tool advance to tech enhance – there’s just a lot going on.

Think about it. Consumer behaviors are changing, the culture is shifting, and it is happening rapidly. It’s rather exciting!

You’ve brought your business this far. And now, the real work fun begins.

Grow – the next steps

The first thing to consider is your own attitude and a willingness to position yourself as the owner of a growth-oriented company. From there you can look at specific areas which need your attention to facilitate growth.

The areas we’ll be discussing in this three-part series are:

  1. Dealing with changing regulations
  2. Managing project risk
  3. Planning for new technology
  4. Preparing for financial needs
  5. Creating documented, sustaining processes

Deal with changing regulations

Staying on top of all the changing regulations isn’t a job for the faint-of-heart. It takes time as well as a team of trusted advisors. Following are five suggestions which will help you in your efforts.

Join a trade association. For big picture insights into which regulations to be aware of in your segment of the construction industry, joining a trade specific association is a no-brainer. A good association will keep you informed of upcoming changes.

Subscribe to magazines and online industry related blogs or websites. One type of website that is helpful concerning construction regulations is that of attorneys who specialize in construction law. Put your search engine to use. The search can be as simple as “construction attorney [your state] dot com” Search through and find the ones which keep up-to-date relevant posts then subscribe or bookmark.

Track down a tax advisor. Because you’re not only dealing with federal taxes you will do well to locate an advisor who is abreast of the regulations in your state. One recommendation we make for our Arizona clients is Conover Asay. If you’re unsure who to contact in your state, you may wish to ask your fellow contractors who they use and why they recommend them.

Find a human resource expert. Freelance human resource firms are an excellent way to stay on top of regulations concerning employee and subcontractor issues. We recommend Lynda McKay of HRextension to our clients.

Locate an accounting advisory firm. (And yes, that’s us. 😉) Beside the fact we know how to deal with your sales tax issues, we’re excellent at helping you use the information obtained from your tax and human resource advisors. They can tell you what the rules are, we can help you make sure your firm remains compliant.

Grow through the use of proper resources

Finding the right resources as well as discovering ways to stay on track will be your biggest challenges through the process of growing your construction contracting business. Our clients tell us we’re good at assisting in both areas. In next week’s post, we’ll tackle “managing project risk” and “planning for new technology.”

We’ve created a waiting list for those who are prepared to work with us in growing their construction contracting business. To get in on “the good stuff” call 480-442-4032 or get in touch here.

Technology Isn’t the Focus, Business Is

Technology in your construction subcontracting business should be for making your business better.

Your technology choices

Finding technology that is relevant to running your subcontracting business is easy. Right? *Beep* Wrong! Finding tech is easy. Finding tech that is relevant is a totally different picture. Two starter questions to answer are:

  • Can we afford it?
  • Do we (really) need it?

Answer these further questions and they will help clarify the answers to the initial two:

  • Will this be advantageous to our clients?
  • How can this make it easier, more efficient, and more effective for our employees?
  • Does using this put us in better sync with our suppliers?
  • Do our strategic partners benefit through the use of this?

You see, putting tech to use makes sense, only if it benefits the relationships you’ve already established within the parameters of your construction business.

Technology is way cool

It’s readily apparent tech is causing things to change rapidly in the construction industry. Think about the brick laying robot.

Give heed to the construction safety wearables.

And of course, there is the much-lauded aerial intelligence tool found in the camera equipped drone.

Fun stuff!

Technology is good – yet beware the pitch

Not long ago, Tonya attended an event (Scaling New Heights 2018) dedicated to connecting the accounting world to the suppliers of accounting technology as well as the people who provide relevant services. There were classes, keynote speakers, networking occasions, time for product perusal, and friend making as well as friend reconnecting opportunities.

Tonya came back from Georgia with a refreshed mood and enlightened perspective concerning how to better serve our clients. All good stuff, right?

Well . . . there was this one tiny little rant. Seems a few of the developers and providers of SaaS and app technology hadn’t read her right at all when trying to make their pitch. When the pitch began with, “If you get your clients to use our ‘stuff,’ you’ll make more money,” she was Not Impressed. On the other hand, when the pitch began with, “You’ll be better able to serve your clients by adding our ‘stuff’ to your lineup,” she was ready to listen.

The Schulte and Schulte stance

In our dealings with our clients, our goal is to go beyond being a trusted advisor. It is our intention to become transformational advisors to each subcontractor with whom we have a relationship. We don’t simply plug in the numbers. Our intention with each client is to help them grow their construction business.

One example of how we better serve our clients is, we do the homework involved in finding the right tech to aid our clients so they become data-savvy business owners who, in turn, are then better able to serve their clients.

3 technology thoughts

Prioritize what is most relevant and valuable.

Finding just the right tech to make your life easier is not the goal. Finding just the right tech so you can serve your clients better is.

Look for people you can trust to advise you concerning your choices. (Like us!)

 

Interested in discovering if we’re the right fit for your accounting and systems needs? You can get in touch by calling 866-629-7735 or checking in here. Let us know you would like to take your place on our waiting list.

Hubdoc Explained for Subcontractors

Hubdoc saves time and makes your accounting more efficient.

Hubdoc pulls your bank statements, recurring bills, and uploaded receipts into one hub. Yet, that is just the beginning. Using Hubdoc means you can reduce the need for manual data entry and paper filing. Time to get rid of that ugly file cabinet? Your “stuff” is stored in the cloud. And, this is a biggy – you can get to what you need in one place. That means you no longer need to log into multiple sites to retrieve the information you’re after.

Hubdoc is set up by us, for you

We set up the Hubdoc account and then work with you to get all of your documents flowing into it auto-magically!

What we ask of you is:

  1. Set up view only user access to your bank accounts

 

  1. Make an accounting email address on your email domain

 

  1. Create your User ID and Password through the link we send you

What we do on our end

After we’ve gotten the initial stages set up, we configure your Hubdoc account to sync with your QuickBooks system. This allows you to publish your bills and receipts right from Hubdoc into QuickBooks.*

3 ways to get your docs into Hubdoc

  1. The phone app allows you to use your phone’s camera as the means of entry

 

  1. From the web-based app you can drag and drop the documents where they belong

 

  1. With the custom email you’re provided you can email them into the system

The magic behind the system

The magic is called Optical Character Recognition (OCR.) It “reads” receipts and creates transactions that will export to QuickBooks where a match is created in the bank feeds.

Optical Character Recognition is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files, or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data.

If you’re interested in the technology behind the magic, this article from lifewire is enlightening. From the article: “OCR, also referred to as text recognition, is software technology that transforms characters such as numbers, letters, and punctuation (also called glyphs) from printed or written documents into an electronic form more easily recognized and read by computers and other software programs.”

What we like best about Hubdoc

Hubdoc saves you time and all the while it is building a digital archive of your business documents.

Yeah, but what about security?

Take a moment to look at the layers of security provided by Hubdoc.  They even offer a guide to the user concerning practices which will help you protect your Hubdoc account from your end.

*Publishing to QuickBooks is a feature available only to QuickBooks Online users. But don’t despair we have solutions for you QuickBooks desktop users also.

Your call to action

Tell us today you want to take your place on our waiting list. Call us 480-442-4032 or Toll Free at 866-629-7735. Or use the form found 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

 

Construction Contractor, Got a Problem with Your Financial Reports?

Do your financial reports measure up?

Because your financial reports should tell you much more than what you’ve already done. Because your financial reports are more than numbers for the tax-man or the banker. Because your financial reports are all about guiding you to scale your business. We’re glad you stopped in.

Check Us Out!

Since Schulte and Schulte, LLC came into being we’ve been construction-accounting-centric.

We have knowledge and understanding concerning what construction contractors need when it comes to financial reports. With almost two decades of “being in the trenches” of construction bookkeeping and accounting, Tonya, the co-founder of our firm, has deep knowledge about what contractors need. She and her team all work diligently staying ahead of the curve concerning all the latest and helpful contractor accounting technology systems and support apps.

We know what you want and need

We have no desire to send our clients a mound of reports they don’t understand and won’t bother reading. Our intention is to instead work with each of our clients by providing reports which are meaningful, reports which answer the kinds of essential questions contractors have about managing their individual companies.

The well qualified “regular” bookkeeper has no experience with the specific requirements of contractors, they therefore aren’t able to make suggestions themselves. At the same time, many contractors are not familiar with the capabilities of the robust bookkeeping software or SaaS systems available and therefore aren’t aware of what to ask for.

This “two ships passing in the night” scenario leads to a communication gap that can be devastating to both parties.

Our services are designed to allow you to scale your business

Tonya, recently said, “I take great pride in my work. I love getting each piece of the accounting puzzle to fit in the right place. But, even more fun for me is seeing the lightbulb go off over a client’s head. I get excited when I can hear in their voice that moment of recognition when understanding dawns. I like it when they ‘get it’ about another important aspect of their financial documents. I love my job!”

If you’ve had it with the status quo, if you’re looking for the right bookkeeping and accounting firm to aid you in scaling your construction contracting or subcontracting business . . .well, let’s just say, now is the time. Call 480-442-4032 today. Or Toll Free: 866-629-7735