By working smart, and having a great team with good communication and comprehensive checklists, the most common contractor errors can be avoided to keep your projects and people safe, productive and profitable. The goal is always to limit/eliminate accidents, ensure budget and timelines stay on schedule and create a positive work environment.
1. Safety Measures
This is first because it’s the most important. Accidents can affect not just property but workers and the public at large. Incorporate technology to keep everyone connected with project and field-management software. Ensure safety collaboration is achieved. Document everything in one place as you follow all the proper steps and procedures.
You’re hiring for skill, but you should also be hiring for attitude and a willingness to cooperate and work well with others. Beyond that, be open with communication in terms of expectations and chain of command. Value employees as part of the team and show appreciation regularly to lessen employee turnover and improve productivity.
3. Estimating Costs and Planning
If you overestimate or your bid is incomplete, you won’t win the projects you’re going after. And underestimating could be even worse if you lose money. You need to be able to accurately predict all costs and always be looking ahead to forecast possible scenarios that can change the scope. Once you win a bid, employ software that transfers bid information to job management in order to maximize efficiency and achieve the highest performance. This is where an investment in the right technology can really pay off.
If you’re operating without software integration, cloud-based accessibility or modern functionality and still relying on pen and paper and/or spreadsheets in different programs, it can cripple your ability to compete. Mistakes can easily creep in and data can be lost, resulting in the loss of time, information, and money.
5. Equipment Management
Construction equipment is a major line item, and the mismanagement of it can add to delays and sudden, unexpected costs. You must properly track equipment use, following a rigid maintenance schedule, and know in advance what will be needed when. If you are working with a capital and operating budget of $10 million for heavy equipment, even a 1 percent savings on equipment costs could add hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to the bottom line.
This takes many forms in the world of contracting, but the two you should focus on are a diversified workforce and a diversified project list. With the first the company learns from a mixture of employees and brings in new experience and expertise. With the second, you stay open to a wider array of project types and provide yourself protection should market downturns occur, as we’re seeing now, or business opportunities in a particular field shrink.
7. The Future
Plan ahead – always. Did this recession catch you unaware? Not looking to the future means that when adversity hits, you have nothing to rely on to set yourself apart and stay ahead of the competition. Use the good times to prepare for the bad ones, with investments in technology and upgrades to processes, procedures, and diversity of projects. Then you’re ready to pivot to successful areas and draw upon opportunities.