Whether you went into construction for a single reason or many, earning a living and turning profit for your business has been a driver since day one. Since that first day, you’ve learned more than once that things that can go wrong, sometimes do, and it can have a negative impact on the project or your bottom line—or both. We’ve put together a few helpful tips in your pursuit of becoming both an exceptional contractor and savvy business person.
Thorough Inspection & Bid Process
Residential remodel to commercial build-out, a thorough bid process will help reduce the chances for costly “gotchas” during the project. You can’t eliminate all surprises, but taking extra time to thoroughly inspect the foundation, supporting walls and attic for structural integrity, level, and soil condition underneath a structure will help you bid with confidence. You may not be the cheapest bid, but that’s because you’re not throwing out a half-baked proposal that will cost the owner and you in the end. I’ve heard it said, “cheap’s expensive.” Noted.
Use Efficient Tools, Hardware & Materials
This is one of those cases where investing in higher quality, more durable, or faster tools up front will help save money down the road. Better to spend $400 on a nailer ever 5 years than $175 every year or two: not only is there a cost savings over time, but also lost wages and project down time while you either need to go purchase or rent additional equipment.
Regarding hardware and materials: this is a sell more for the customer than the contractor, but it’s well worth the discussion during the bid process. For a homeowner, investing in a tankless water heater adds thousands to the initial project, but consider the convenience of continual hot water and the low likelihood of requiring replacement every 10 years; not to mention the energy savings by not maintaining temperature on 40 gallons of water when it’s not needed.
We have affinities for particular brands, whether it’s a longstanding reputation or big dollars spent on marketing and advertising, we recognize them and are predisposed to purchasing them. But, often you can find similar quality from a local vendor at a better price, and take delivery faster on custom orders due to proximity. Doors, windows, engineered products—many of these category products are produced high quality locally; it’s worth a look.
Seasonal Work Means Seasonal Price Changes
Think you need to close up shop when the snow falls like everyone else? Use this downturn to your advantage and schedule interior work for the off-season and take advantage of greater subcontractor availability and potentially reduced costs of specific materials incentivized in the down season!
Mitigate Risk of Theft
As always, protect your investments. Theft and vandalism to your tools and material will cost you with insurance deductibles, increased premiums, and of course lost project time. Install a durable construction fence around the job site and consider adding certain theft deterrent measures such as barbed wire and windscreen.