Blog: 5 Ways to Make More Money on Your Next Construction Job
Turning up a decent profit in construction is about more than hard work. It’s about having a business plan, being efficient, and surrounding yourself with people who approach jobs with the same enthusiasm. It is about balance. And the best way to ensure you follow through with your goal of making more money is to have the right tools for the job.
Bid Quickly and Accurately
The first order of business is the bid. Bidding on jobs requires an investment of your time, so be wise about what you bid on. If a job is out of your scope, focus on projects you can handle confidently.
Video: Bidding Simplified with 3Dazer Pro
Get to know the space and ask a lot of questions. Before any construction begins, the first thing that needs building is the relationship between you and your customer. Make a good first impression with timeliness, friendly confidence, and open conversation.
Employ tools that speed up your process and increase the likelihood that your bid is accurate. To reduce the amount of tools and paperwork necessary to survey a site, use a device that clips directly onto your mobile phone. A laser measurement tool replaces the need for a tape measure and a project management app stores all documents in one place, digitally.
Whenever possible, collect bids from contractors on a per-project basis, not hourly. You want your workers to be invested in the efficiency of the job as much as you. Have a system to double-check your estimates before you present. Your bid should always include labor, materials, overhead, and profit expectation. Once you have labor and materials costs nailed down and double-checked, double that estimate. Expect the unexpected or at least give yourself some breathing room to handle issues as they arise. You are not going to turn a profit if your initial bid does not include one.
Connect With Your Crew
Strong communication skills will carry you far in an industry where scheduling multiple calendars, ordering materials from multiple suppliers, and handling change orders for multiple jobs is the norm. Having a strong team of contractors that you trust will make a difference in how quickly you can complete a project. Happy workers do better work.
One way to stay connected with your crew is to link everyone into a mobile app-based project file. When everyone is tapped into the same visuals, keeping up with the progress of a job is quick and easy. Floor plans, photos, voice memos, and notes about materials and change orders are all in one place.
With all of your jobs streamlined and the time you have to spend making calls and sending emails reduced, you will be able to put in more face time with your contractors on-site. The more time you spend getting to know your team and how they operate, the better you will be at managing them.
Author of Construction Management Jumpstart and director of the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate & Construction Management, Barbara Jackson, offers this advice, “Spend time on the job site observing the work being done and asking lots of questions. Get out in the field, get your boots muddy, and show respect to the trades who actually do the work of getting projects built.”
The best project managers know how to handle issues as they arise, how to predict the unpredictable, and most importantly they know how to get things right the first time and avoid issues altogether.
To get a sense of the variety of common construction delays, the International Journal of Project Management identifies a list of 28 well-recognized causes. And while it may be common knowledge among customers that construction projects notoriously take longer than expected, that does not mean it should be the norm. Set yourself apart by staying on schedule.
To start, take time to make sure everyone on your team understands the job – their individual expectations and responsibilities. Refer your subs to notes in a shared mobile app where they can also double-check material specifications and other job details.
Missing information can cause delays and miscommunication. By keeping all info in one place, accessible to all, you save time spent searching through old emails, texts, or jotted notes. Keeping yourself organized may be second nature, but with a project collaboration app you keep everyone organized.
Most importantly, track the progress of each job you are overseeing. With work completed in stages you need to be aware of each slight delay before it snowballs into a major problem for you and ultimately, the client.
Reduce Extra Materials
By monitoring a job’s progress you not only keep scheduling accurate, you cut back on extra materials. Proper handling of equipment and materials on-site is important to avoid accidental damages, so be sure your team is well trained and clear headed.
Planning is key, right from the start, so always get a complete read of the job when you meet with potential clients. That way you can properly relay the scope of work to your subs for their initial project estimates and avoid over-ordering materials. It is crucial that your measurements are accurate. Keep a device for measurement that clips directly onto your phone and stores a history of those measurements for you digitally.
Provide your crews with on-site waste storage that is well labeled for different types of waste and incentivize its use. Repurpose existing materials whenever possible to reduce the amount of new material you need to order. Repair damaged pallets and stockpile crushed materials from a project’s earlier phases.
Stay vigilant, plan ahead, and put in time on-site to establish trust with your contractors. Careful measurements and smart work will reduce costs on a job and increase profit.
Build Up Your Brand
In the construction business, your reputation precedes you. Landing the next bid requires great reviews of past work. This means every person involved on a job reflects back to you, so pay attention to the work habits and professionalism of your subs and rehire only the best.
First impressions are important. When you meet with potential clients, show them your system for monitoring the job and keeping them informed along the way. They will appreciate your organization and be reassured by your commitment to keeping them in the loop.
When your team of subs and your client are all connected to job details online, communication is easily streamlined. And when you spend less time making phone calls and sending emails, you can invest in your business differently. Research changing practices in your industry, keep up with market trends, and always give some extra thought to your clients.
At the end of a job, pay on time. Use surveys to obtain feedback - from not just your clients but also your crew - then consider the areas where you can improve. Do something that sets you apart to thank your client – find a way to show your appreciation through some personal knowledge you’ve acquired about them. Their good word about your work could lead to referrals and gives you a testimonial to add to your website.
Be sure to update your website with before and after photos. When your entire project is stored in the cloud you have access to all related files whenever you need them. Cloud storage also keeps your work separate from your personal files on your mobile device. So your phone storage will not be bogged down with work photos and you do not have to worry about losing work info if your phone gets damaged.
Keep your web presence fresh and up-to-date as well as your business practices. Having a reputation for clear communication, presence on-site, and accurate procedures will bring you more clients and more money on your next construction job.