5 Ways Contractor Business Owners Can Manage Stop-Work Orders

contractor business

At least this time, you recognize the clues:

  • Business hours of operation are more tightly controlled.
  • Curfews are put back in place.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are legally prohibited in some areas.
  • Restaurants’ hours are restricted.
  • Schools return to virtual classes only.

Your city or county is about to enforce a lockdown that will impact your construction contractor business.

Contractor Business Owners Can Prepare

Because safety is a priority, promptly adhering to stop-work requests is important. But if you see it coming, you can “make hay while the sun shines.”

To prepare your contractor business for another pandemic-related work stoppage:

  1. Accelerate timelines – Normally, overtime costs are wasteful. But these are not normal times. Finishing a project ahead of schedule when a shutdown is looming may be better management of time and money.
  2. Be prepared – Keep project progress documentation up-to-the-minute if possible. Take photos to verify completion percentages.
  3. Do what you can – You can get materials delivered now and store them. When work begins again, you won’t be waiting for deliveries. Keep your project alive.
  4. Maintain interactions – Include subcontractors in virtual meetings during the shutdown. When they maintain a connection to your project, they’ll be less likely to seek work elsewhere.
  5. Secure assets – Photograph equipment that will be left onsite and winterize if you’re in a part of the country that has extreme winter weather.

Construction writer Joe Bosquin says you can use downtime to prepare your construction contractor business for the big boom that’s coming. And the anticipated work increase poses yet another challenge for 2021.

Business Leads for Your Construction Contractor Business

A construction industry boom may be forthcoming, but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for it to happen. Now is the best time to begin developing leads for your construction contractor business development.

Use the information available from Construction Monitor data to ensure you’re in a position to get the jobs you want with the profit margin you need.

Contact us today to learn more.

Construction Safety Tips for 2020

construction safety tips

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to pose cross-contamination and exposure risks for the construction industry (indeed, every industry) for potentially years to come. Construction supervisors and owner/operators will need to provide education that defines new workplace safety standards for the remainder of 2020. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has released its construction safety tips and guidelines for post-coronavirus:

COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce

  1. Discourage space invaders – Encourage workers to avoid physical contact and maintain 6-foot distancing where possible. This includes inside jobsite trailers.
  2. Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns immediately.
  3. Face-to-face meetings – Keep jobsite meetings short and reinforce distancing practices.
  4. Keep cool – Offer shaded rest areas, plenty of water stations, and switch to nighttime work shifts if dangerously hot days pose serious health risks.
  5. Masking – Mask-wearing may be recommended but mandates are unlikely to be enforceable. Allow workers to wear masks or not unless based on community/legal requirements.
  6. Portable toilet sanitation – Construction jobsite toilet cleaning and disinfection should be increased and hand sanitizers provided. Hand sanitizers should be refilled/replaced frequently.
  7. PPE – Personal protective equipment should be used when needed, as always. Provide training in proper PPE use.
  8. Promote personal hygiene and “respiratory etiquette” – Coughs and sneezes should always be covered. If access to soap and water is limited, provide hand-sanitizer stations throughout the jobsite.
  9. Put it in writing – Construction safety diligence will be more important than ever before. Be able to show documentation that construction safety training has been completed by all workers. Document instances of best-efforts in reducing cross-contamination and disease exposure risks. Record days/times workers left the job due to illness.
  10. Use EPA-approved cleaning products – Cleaning products should meet standards for SARS-CoV-2. Alcohol-based wipes should be used on shared tools before/after use (while following manufacturer instructions for cleaning).
  11. Workaholics are no longer jobsite super-heroes – Reinforce policies to discourage workers to stay home if they are sick.

Construction Monitor LLC increases the efficiency for thousands of construction industry-related companies nationwide. To learn more about our technology tools and strategic partnerships, contact Construction Monitor today.

Are You Using Your Employees to Gain Construction Referrals? (Plus More Referral Tips!)

shutterstock_288870017Gaining new leads is a constant concern for businesses, and construction companies are no exception. Advertising, networking, customer referrals — all of these are effective methods of getting more leads into your sales funnel. While working these methods, however, don’t neglect another potentially rich source of referrals: your employees. Here are some ways you can look to your employees for construction referrals.

  • Ask for referrals: The simplest way to get referrals is to simply ask, so make it a point to ask your employees if they know of anyone who could use your company’s services. An employee’s outside business contacts, plus family, friends, and other associates, could be a good source of referrals.
  • Offer incentives and rewards: If you ask your employees for referrals, be prepared to offer some sort of incentive for successful referrals. After all, if you and your company are benefiting from employee referrals, the employees should benefit too. Typical incentives include a cash reward, gift certificates, or additional time off.
  • Tap into employee knowledge: Your employees are a potential goldmine of knowledge and expertise, so using this information to gain referrals makes sense. Ask your expert employees to write articles for your website or blog, to create tip sheets or other relevant content, or to contribute information to marketing materials that are sent out to generate leads. Potential customers will appreciate the helpful information they provide.
  • Look for insights: Many of your employees will have insights into customer needs and wants that won’t be available anywhere else. Your sales staff, for example, will have direct contacts with customers and leads and are likely to know what they’re asking for. Supervisors and employees in the field will also have direct contact with another segment of customers whose needs and requests can lead to high-quality referrals. Use these insights to your advantage.

For information and tips on how to get your clients to provide referrals without you asking, check out ClickTime’s article on 6 Proven Ways to Get Referrals Without Asking for Them.

Construction Monitor is dedicated to helping building and construction companies manage their businesses with the most recent and most effective data available. Contact us today for more information on employee referrals and how to implement an effective employee referral program for generating more and better leads.


Tips for Generating more Construction Leads

If you’re used to bringing in your construction leads through traditional offline methods, it’s easy to overlook opportunities online. These days, online options for lead generation in the construction business are plentiful, and you don’t have to be a marketing expert to take advantage of them.

Create a Blog

Research has found construction firms that run blogs attract over 50 percent more visitors and nearly 70 percent more construction leads than those without blogs. A blog lets you display your expertise, building your visitors’ impression of you as a knowledgeable authority. Regularly adding fresh content also improves your rankings in the search engines, making it more likely your would-be clients will find you.

When you post, focus on topics that will help your target audience make informed decisions. You might compare different types of building materials, explain the advantages of one construction method over another, or discuss emerging trends and new technology.

Leverage Social Media

To help attract people to your website and blog, get involved in social media. Like blogging, activity on social media can also help boost your search engine rankings.

Start by setting up accounts on the four major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Each platform requires a different approach, so take some time to plan the type of content you want to post on each one. Keep in mind that social media is like a cocktail party, not a trade show. Join in the conversation, but don’t directly advertise.

Include Calls to Action

It may seem obvious, but if you want your would-be clients to do something, you have to ask them to do it. To help ensure your visitors move in the direction you want them to, include a call to action on every website or blog page: clear, specific instructions on what to do next. Directly ask your visitors to sign up for your mailing list, “like” you on Facebook, contact you to discuss their requirements, or request an estimate, depending on your priority

For more proven-effective ideas for lead generation in the construction business, contact Construction Monitor today.

Closing the Worker Gap: Trade Schools Seeing Higher Enrollments

5 Tips to Keep Your Construction Project as Efficient as PossibleA construction firm relies on skilled craftspeople for success, but workers like these have been hard to come by in recent years. With trade schools gaining popularity, however, the outlook for construction worker recruitment stands to improve.

Seeking a Promising Future

The high cost of a four-year college education and limited job opportunities for graduates have left many wary of taking the traditional college route. These concerns, combined with the after-effects of a shaky economy, are attracting an increasing number of students to trade-based careers that offer stability and a solid income.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that the number of certificates and associate degrees awarded in construction and related fields rose by 67.8 percent between 2000 and 2012. That’s more than 20 percent faster than the growth in four-year college enrollment during that time.

Job security isn’t the only motivation for choosing career and technical education (CTE). Many students choose a trade after discovering an aptitude in their high school technical classes or discussing options with their guidance counselor to find something they’re truly passionate about. The growing prestige of trade schools and apprenticeships, thanks to their graduates’ success, also draws students.

More Workers with In-Demand Skills

The real challenge in construction worker recruitment comes in finding enough carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other tradespeople with advanced skills and hands-on experience. These are things even someone with a four-year general contractor degree may lack due to these programs’ emphasis on business skills such as cost estimating and job scheduling over actual construction skills.

By focusing on the practical skills sought after in today’s construction market, trade schools are filling in the gap. Courses offered are firmly grounded in the STEM (science, technology, engineering. and math) disciplines. Students gain proficiency with cutting-edge technology such as software programs used to model electrical and plumbing systems. Beyond this, trade schools help students develop soft skills such as adaptability and conflict resolution that make them valuable team members.

For more tips on construction worker recruitment, contact us at Construction Monitor.

3 Tips for Keeping Your Construction Firm Running Smoothly

Spending on Construction Across U.S downWhen you manage a construction firm, your company’s profits, legal standing, and reputation all depend on your ability to coordinate the dozens of elements involved in each project.  The occasional bump in the road is inevitable, but by following a few practical managing tips for construction firms, you can keep those bumps small.

Nurture your relationships

When you have good relationships with your subcontractors, suppliers, and property owners, you will enjoy more open communication and collaboration.  Those involved in the project will be more likely to bring up minor issues before they become major problems and have more patience if the project hits a snag.  Be a friend by reaching out to pass along useful information or valuable opportunities.  To ensure no one who approaches your company leaves frustrated, teach all your staff the basics of supportive customer service and instruct them in how to handle complaints.

Take time with your contracts

Clear wording goes a long way toward preventing disputes and legal action.  Review your standard contract and make sure it contains clauses designed to protect you, such as entire agreement and non-waiver/exercise of rights clauses.  Often overlooked are escalation clauses.  These address situations in which a subcontractor can pass increased costs to the general contractor, or the GC can pass them to the owner.  Without these clauses, cost increases can eat into your profits.  Thoroughly review the contract with your client before it is finalized.  If there is any confusion or hesitation on the client’s part, be willing to re-negotiate and draw up a new contract.

Switch to managerial accounting

Financial accounting helps keep you on track with your taxes, but does nothing to advance your business.  Managerial accounting focuses on collecting financial information that allows you to make better decisions about how to run your company.  It involves tracking multiple metrics, including controllable and non-controllable costs, variable costs, and opportunity costs.  The information gleaned helps you assess your performance, moderate your risks, and strategize for future growth.

For more managing tips for construction firms, contact us at Construction Monitor.

The Sharing Economy and Heavy Equipment: Is Leasing Right For Your Company?

construction equipment
Source: iStock.com/photosbyjim

For many small to medium-sized construction companies, it makes more sense to rent some types of heavy equipment when it’s needed rather than purchasing the equipment outright. A growing trend in American commerce, that of the “sharing economy,” has the potential to significantly change heavy equipment leasing and the way construction companies acquire and use the equipment they need.

Leasing companies and rental agencies have been the traditional solution to the challenge of finding and acquiring the right equipment when it’s needed. As commercial entities, these businesses must operate on a model that allows them to generate a profit on the items they lease. Even if leasing costs are relatively high, construction companies can still benefit financially from short-term leases instead of high-dollar purchases.

The concept of the sharing economy, however, has the potential to disrupt the traditional supply chain used in equipment rental and leasing.

The sharing economy approach allows almost anyone who owns a valuable commodity to make that commodity available to others for a price. For example, companies have emerged that allow private individuals to make their personal vehicles available for transportation, bypassing traditional taxies. Others offer temporary lodging in individuals’ homes, eliminating the need for a hotel room. Often these services are less expensive than comparable services from commercial companies, and are easier to acquire through specialized software and online connections.

For construction companies, this may lead to leasing equipment from other builders rather than from a specialized agency. Construction firms with heavy equipment sitting idle can generate revenue while smaller companies can find necessary equipment at a lower price. Services that match equipment owners with companies that need that equipment have already started to emerge, according to reporter James R. Hagerty in the Economist.

Industry professionals turn to Construction Monitor for the latest news on important trends that will affect how business will get done and projects will be completed. Contact us today for more information on heavy equipment leasing and how the concepts of the sharing economy are likely to transform how companies purchase, lease, and use the equipment they need.