Future-Proof Your Contractor Business

contractor business

If nothing else, 2020 verified what most of us already knew:

  1. Construction is an essential business.
  2. You can’t predict the future.

If you have a construction contractor business, here are some tips to protect yourself from future surprises. For Construction Pros calls it “future-proofing your business.”

What Your Contractor Business Can (and Can’t) Control

There’s nothing you can do to control the global economy. A contractor business may not be able to influence global politics, but it can up its game technologically.

BIM + ERP = Greater Profits

Building information management (BIM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are software technologies that are perhaps used in your contractor business to manage financials and human resources. But when working together, they can deliver much more.

ERP empowers companies to predict project performance, lower costs, and deliver projects on-time “at a high quality and with minimum risk.” But it needs data to make this happen.

Implement IoT for Servitization

“Servitization” is a transformation journey, said Cambridge’s Andy Neely. It’s developing the capabilities you need to provide services and solutions that supplement traditional product offerings.

A servitized arrangement puts you in a partnership with the project owner. It increases your risk but the Internet of things (IoT) can be used to track performance and increase compensation.

Utilize Off-Site Construction

What’s not to like? Off-site fabrication makes better use of labor and materials. It lowers costs, makes timelines more attainable, and a contractor business doesn’t have to work around the weather. We may see an increase in materials’ and parts’ standardization.

Secure the Future of Your Contractor Business

Transformational technologies are basically software programs that enable new opportunities. Construction Monitor provides transformational technology benefits to your construction business every time we sort building permit information for you. Our service maximizes your time by giving you customized information that is in real-time and relevant to your contractor business. 

You can use it for leads.

Use it for more competitive bids.

You can use it to partner with other companies.

You’ve got to use it.

Contact Construction Monitor to put our future-proofing information to work.

Busy But Broke

construction business

All of us have different goals, but the common denominator for every construction business is this: We want more (more money, more work, more time off – with pay, more leads, more bids, and more resume-building wins).

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem
you had last year.
-John Foster Dulles

Busywork: Chipping Away Construction Business Profits

If you want more construction business, first get yourself in a position to manage it. Many companies say they are busier than ever. Being busy can be a trap for construction business management.

It “keeps key people overworked…without time to plan, prepare, think, manage…” says George Hedley.

Being busy sometimes means issues aren’t documented properly and communications aren’t shared with necessary team members and stakeholders. When you’re too busy, you’re forced to make decisions without the necessary information.

“Busy” doesn’t make more money. In fact, it can erode profits. It’s time to leave putting out fires to the fire professionals and to make more profit.

Here are some tips:

  1. Admit you need more help – Overworked employees (and you) make mistakes. Get some support and stop asking everyone to do more. What’s not getting done? You can better balance your construction business by shuffling assignments and adding personnel, not subtracting.
  2. End overtime – It’s a money drain and working 50+ hours/week reduces productivity and morale.
  3. Stop bidding every job in the pipeline – Bid better. Carefully analyze and bid on the right kind of projects for the right customers against worthy competitors.
  4. Make pre-project planning standard – Once you’ve won the bid, hold a pre-project meeting with the estimator, project manager, superintendent/foreman, etc. Review the bid, project requirements, and:
  • Contract
  • Estimates
  • Schedule
  • Scope
  • Subcontractors
  • Suppliers

Then allow time to prepare:

  • Construction work plan
  • Crew requirements
  • Equipment needed
  • Schedule
  • Working budget

Never sacrifice quality and professionalism because you’re “busy.” Review meetings can examine your construction business performance. They allow you to make changes sooner when changes can still make a profit margin difference.

Construction Monitor is the ultimate lead source for your construction business. Contact or email us to learn more about making more profit.

The Construction Industry and Coronavirus Vaccine

Construction Industry and Coronavirus Vaccine

It’s good to be king. But if you aren’t royalty, being an essential worker is right up there. We may never be able to adequately thank medical professionals for their sacrifices in 2020. Prioritizing them for 2021 COVID vaccinations is one way.

21 million healthcare workers and 3 million residents and staff of long-term care facilities receive the first limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines during what’s known as Phase 1a of distribution. But essential workers were presented as potential recipients in the next tier, Phase 1b…CDC Plan

Construction industry essential workers are likely next in line. This can be a blessing for project managers or a bane for individuals that don’t want the vaccine. Either way, it will need careful consideration before implementation.

Can the Construction Industry Require Vaccination as a Condition of Employment?

In October 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America lobbied President Trump and now President-Elect Biden to implement a national plan for the construction industry distribution of coronavirus vaccine.

Construction industry contractors are already scrambling to enforce distancing and exposure tracking – and thanks to technology, this is possible. But can a construction industry project owner or contractor require coronavirus vaccination as a condition of employment?

Legally, probably not. The jury’s still out, so to speak.

Some attorneys recommend contractors be “aggressive” in encouraging vaccination by offering free jobsite inoculations during work-hours. Mandating medical personnel receive the coronavirus vaccine may be considered necessary and it makes sense. “You can’t operate a hospital with half your staff is infected,” said attorney Kevin Troutman.

You can’t build hospitals when half your construction workforce is infected, either.

Essential Business Information for Essential Workers

When Construction Monitor data professionals enter construction project leads into our database, the basic information – building permit applications – becomes usable, relevant analyses for your organization. It takes us several hours to refine and customize the information into what you need.

We do that for every subscriber. It saves you time and time is money. Most importantly, you can use that information to develop connections, leads, and make money. Contact us today.

What You Should Know About Construction Industry Falls

construction industry falls

Construction workers get high more often than most people. We work on skyscrapers, scaffolding, rooftops, and even a loading dock is considered working at-height. And too many of us take unnecessary risks.

The numbers are not good: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says fall fatalities are highest in the construction industry vs. all others. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says the leading cause of private-sector worker deaths in the construction industry are falls.

Falls #1 Cause of Fatalities in the Construction Industry

The construction industry “fatal four” are*:

  • Falls – 338
  • Struck by object – 112
  • Electrocutions – 86
  • Caught/in-between** – 55

We can reduce those numbers this year. Here are some FYIs (for your information) to promote a better understanding of fall safety.

  • All roof workers need fall protection – Even if you’re 6′ from the edge, observe the OSHA options for protection:
    • Controlled access zones
    • Guardrails
    • Personal fall arrest systems
    • Positioning device systems
    • Safety monitoring systems
    • Safety nets
    • Warning line systems
  • Boom/scissor lifts require different PFPEs – Boom lift personal fall protection equipment is a body belt with a lanyard attached to the boom/basket. OSHA has no requirements for scissor lifts but some OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) may require PFPE. Consult the scissor-lift manual/verify OEM requirements to be sure.
  • PFPE alone won’t protect – Personal fall protection equipment involves more than wearing a harness and securing to an anchorage point. It should stop you from hitting the ground but doesn’t prevent falls. Guardrails protect against falls.
  • Training/leadership make the difference – Training is necessary but a safety program reinforced by leadership is even more valuable. Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions and assist in developing safety processes.

Diligence Saves Lives

Fall prevention tips are relevant. But your commitment to safety can make the real difference. Our goal is to provide relevant information to the construction industry. Every week, Construction Monitor sorts data into information that can grow your business. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

___
*2018
**Construction industry workers killed when caught-in/compressed by equipment/objects, and struck/caught/crushed in collapsing structure/equipment/material

Construction Marketing: Video Production Tips

Construction Marketing Video Production

The statistics about using video in construction marketing tell the story best:

How To Use Video in Your Construction Marketing Strategy

There’s just one problem with using video in construction marketing: If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a real goat-roping.

Here’s a way to prioritize your video advertising:

  1. Make a plan – A successful construction marketing plan can only be a success if it generates growth/revenue. You won’t know that if you don’t track it.
    Your plan should be:
    1. Actionable
    2. Have specific start/stop dates
    3. Measurable
    4. Relevant
    5. Specific
  2. Go with what you know – Whichever style of video you choose, you’ll learn if it works. Or not.
    The three types of videos are:
    1. Educational
    2. Entertaining
    3. Inspirational
  3. Start creating – “Your first video is supposed to be your worst,” says Neil Patel. So, jump right in and get it over with. (He recommends InVideo for editing.)
  4. Search matters – SEO (search engine optimization) is always critical. You can maximize it, even if you don’t have a huge budget. If you’re familiar with blogging SEO, it’s the same thing – you want high rankings on YouTube, etc.
  5. Use influencers – Can’t afford Peyton Manning? (He averages $15million/year in endorsements.) Find a “micro-celebrity.” In our industry, there are respected influencers willing to help you out. They might even be more effective because they’re ours.
  6. Use ads to their full potential – Be very clear about who your audience is. Your goal is to reach them.

Where should you spend your video monies? You’ll just have to try a few – start with your favorite – and measure the results. The platform that works best for one company may not be best for your company.

Use Construction Monitor for Construction Marketing

We take building permit data and custom-sort it into actionable, relevant information for you. If you use it, you’ll have powerful insight into construction marketing: your area; your demographics; and your leads.

The Construction Monitor Knowledge Base is a good place to start. Then contact us to get started.

Measuring Progress for Construction Projects

construction projects

Why is it important to track progress on construction projects? One very important reason is to prove to investors, stakeholders, and other important sources of support that you’re making progress. And you’ve got the numbers to prove it.

Another reason is to provide reinforcement to the troops. Your workers will see through false encouragement, but when you provide them with the metrics proving they’re doing a good job – and making progress – it’s the best motivator you have.

Tracking Methodologies for Construction Projects

Key metrics for construction projects are:

  • Compliance
  • Deliverables
  • Milestones
  • Spending

Too often, we emphasize the required tasks without analyzing the results. “…Teams are watching the wrong signs and metrics. Instead of leading indicators, which might warn of problems before they happen, these teams may focus on lagging indicators…flagging issues when it’s too late,” says process improvement professional Lori Benson.

Measuring Metrics for Construction Projects

Here are some types of metrics used for construction projects:

  • Cost ratio – This measurement is based on the dollars budgeted vs. labor hours. Example: The overall progress of the project was 42%. The contractor earned 42% of the overhead and fees.
  • Experience/opinion – This method is obviously subjective and not recommended; it can cause conflict between project managers, owners, contractors, or architects.
  • Incremental milestones – Aka the “steps” method for subtasks that need to be completed in a certain order. You calculate each step and the amount of time needed to complete each step. Each completion is an incremental milestone.
  • Start/finish – This is good for short-time tasks. Examples: load testing, flushing/cleaning, pipes. You measure the percentage of completion. Some teams use these length-of-time milestone metrics:
    • 0/100
    • 20/80
    • 50/50
  • Units completed – This is great for task-tracking, especially repetitive jobs. Example: We have 100 light fixtures. Each light fixture takes the same amount of installation time. Units to measure: 100.
  • Weighted/equivalent units – This requires more effort but gets the thumbs-up from many construction projects. Tasks’ measurements are calculated and divided into sub-tasks and their varying units of measurement.

We’re curious to know which progress measurements you use for construction projects.

Construction Monitor is interested in the most up-to-date methodologies for construction projects. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor for data that drives business development.

Is Your Construction Marketing Strategy Stale?

construction marketing strategy

“I’m too busy for a construction marketing strategy,” said no contractor ever. If you’re too busy to win more business, why aren’t you on the cover of Fortune Magazine? We’re in this business because we love what we do, but making money is nice, too. 

Make 2021 your year to take control of your company and its construction marketing strategy for greater profits. Here’s how:

Construction Marketing Strategy for 2021

Advertising is not the same thing as marketing. “Advertising” forms the foundation of your construction marketing strategy but there are organizational analyses needed as well.

Plan to revamp your:

  • Budget – You can’t invest in marketing if you haven’t set aside the money to finance it. Develop and fund your marketing budget; it’s basic but often overlooked in small- to midsize-construction company management.
  • Connections – Are you a member of one or more Chamber of Commerce organizations? What’s your BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating? Make this your year to strengthen alliances with other contractors and professional organizations.
  • Direct mail – This is still a great way to target a specific demographic and deliver your message. Response to direct mail advertising increased by 43% in 2016. “It’s a game-changer for any serious marketer,” says Neil Patel.
  • Market analysis – What are your bread and butter projects? They can’t be neglected, but what sector or industry would you like to develop? Determine your objectives for this year.
  • Social media – Many contractors once said “word-of-mouth” was the best way to get new business. Your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages are an essential part of your construction marketing strategy. Think of them as new-age word-of-mouth advertising.
  • SWOT – Schedule a meeting with your team for an in-depth SWOT analysis: What are your perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
  • Video – Are you targeting business owners? Fifty-nine percent of executives prefer video.
  • Website – Your website identifies your company as legitimate and technologically knowledgeable. If potential clients can’t find your website, you’re toast. Make sure your website has tabs/pages for:
    • About us
    • Blog
    • Contact us
    • Our services
    • Photo gallery
    • Testimonials/reviews

Building permit information can be an integral part of your construction marketing strategy if you know how to use it. We can help. Call 800-925-6085, or contact Construction Monitor to speak with one of our professionals about how to use our marketing tools.

The 3 Ps of Construction Digital Transformation

Construction Digital Transformation

Construction Monitor sorts building permit data into actionable information for your area and your business development requirements. We are proud to have been a part of digital technology for the construction industry and industry-related businesses for so many years. Our software statistics were some companies’ first experience with the construction digital transformation process.

How Do We Go About Achieving Construction Digital Transformation?

Some people still don’t understand what construction digital transformation means or what it can accomplish. Digital technology is any electronic tool, system, device, or resource that generates, stores, or processes data.

These three p’s can help you understand and develop a construction digital transformation plan for your business:

1. People

Our industry depends on people working together. This is why transparency – information-sharing with everyone involved – is integral to construction digital transformation success. Before investing in any technology, consider who must adapt to it and use it, and then get their feedback before the purchase:

  • 52% say field staff needs are a top priority but only
  • 28% request feedback, so
  • 36% report the technology didn’t fit with current processes/procedures

2. Process

Our processes are what lead to productivity issues. Implementing construction digital transformation has resulted in 14-15% productivity improvements and 4-6% cost reductions. Process change enablers include:

  • Capability enhancements
  • Contract reviews
  • Data tools
  • Legal liabilities and responsibilities defined/updated
  • Redefined responsibilities
  • Updated processes/mandates

3. Progress

Technology is progress. Every technological process you embrace moves your company forward. Technology progress requires fixing problems, not investing in the IT flavor of the month without understanding its capabilities. “Full-scale digital transformation requires integrated, cohesive systems,” says CTO Sameer Merchant. The bottom line is, analyze what will provide your team with the best advancements.

Construction Monitor: Powerful, Local Construction Statistics

Every week, we enter thousands of construction project leads into our database. You can learn more about commercial, residential, and solar construction projects in your area when you get your sample edition today.