5 Construction Business Tips for Dealing With Jerks

It’s surprising to encounter jerks at negotiation tables. People involved in management and negotiations usually have professional people skills. But you’ll probably work with less-than-polished people during your construction business career. 

Writer/editor Gwen Moran says when you’re dealing with people that seem to be biased against you or your company, give them the benefit of doubt. They could simply be jerks. They may not be subjective, and for them, negotiations aren’t an attempt at teamwork; everything is a win-lose.

You may be able to generate a positive meeting outcome:

  1. Before you go – Know what your bottom line is and define an exit strategy before the meeting. If you don’t establish your walk-away point, you could end up giving away negotiating options or being treated unfairly.
  2. Discover their fears – If you’re dealing with an unreasonable person, try to learn why. “Tell me more about that…” If you sense mistrust is the catalyst, reviews some of your shared goals.
  3. Defuse their fears – Humor is one way to deal with their mistrust. Sarcasm is a powerful tool (when it works). “Okay, so it sounds like we’re saying the same things; we’re both bluffing and lying…”
  4. Put out fires with water – Responding to anger with your own anger seldom leads to resolution. Take a break. Encourage refocusing by reminding everyone of the key points and goals outlined at the beginning of the meeting.
  5. Respect the silence – When there is an uncomfortable pause, don’t rush to fill the quiet by blurting something – anything. Let the others do that. Here’s a tip: Bring a writing tablet and pen; pretend to be making notes during silences.

If you choose to leave before striking a deal, do it with dignity. It may give you more leverage later. Set or agree to another meeting before you go if you want to try again, even if you’re dealing with jerks.

If you could use some tips for increasing your construction business opportunities this, year, we’ve got them! Speak with a marketing professional to learn more: Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor.

7 Construction Contractor Tips for Newcomers

We are making positive changes that will impact our industry for generations. We are grooming younger students for construction industry apprenticeships. Technology continues to dominate our development.

It’s a good time to be a construction industry business owner.

A construction business is still, after all is said a done, a business. Here are 7 contractor tips* to help you get a better idea of how to succeed in the construction contracting industry.

  1. Create financial relationships – Get prequalified to “establish surety credit for future projects and growth,” says Liberty Mutual. Make sure you have the right insurance and permits for every job. Look for partners that include:
    • Bank
    • Construction industry CPA
    • Knowledgeable-in-construction surety company
    • Surety bond producer
  2. Develop a business plan – What’s your mission? Your vision? You’ll return to your business plan when times are tough. It serves as a reminder of what you want to accomplish as a construction contractor.
  3. Document processes – In construction, there are many variables but implementing industry-best policies and procedures should be every contractor’s goal. Another reason to develop and document procedures: If a critical employee is unavailable, can someone step up to the plate and serve, using the documented processes for the job?
  4. Don’t hire the wrong people – It’s difficult to avoid hiring friends and relatives but unless they are qualified for the job’s responsibilities it’s a big mistake. If you do hire the wrong people, replace them asap.
  5. Equipment (lease or buy) – Operating expenses are different for every company so explore the benefits of leasing vs. buying equipment. Monthly payments are one thing; maintenance and repair are another.
  6. Invest in technology – Tracking finances with the right software is critical to your success. Software can keep billings and payments on schedule and provide a real-time look at your business. Estimating software is equally important. Your new business may not recover easily from a badly estimated project.
  7. Scrutinize every contract – If you don’t trust yourself to adequately understand a legal document, partner with someone who does. Conflict resolution, scope of work, and deliverable timelines must be clear to all parties.

For more information you can use, call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor today.
*This is not professional/legal advice; it is provided for information only.

Stand Down To Prevent Falls: Construction Safety 2021

construction safety

May 3-7, 2021, was the 8th annual National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) promotes this week to encourage construction safety 24/7 all year, every year.

Falls are the greatest challenge to construction safety. Injuries dramatically impact workers’ lives. But families and businesses also suffer when there’s a fall-related accident.

Employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces. We also have a responsibility to provide safety education to employees at every project site. OSHA’s function is to set safety standards and guidelines for workplace safety.

What You Can Do To Promote Construction Safety

In addition to reducing fall hazards and providing safety information, another valuable measure to increase construction safety is to encourage workers to report any fall or other safety risks they see. A Safety Stand-Down is an opportunity and not an obligation because most of us feel responsible for employee safety.

Who Participates In a Safety Stand-Down?

Project managers can take advantage of this opportunity to discuss project-specific hazards and risks. It’s also a good time to document rescue plans.

Construction safety programs or “toolbox talks” can be sponsored or supported by:

  • Construction companies of every size
  • Employee interest organizations
  • General industry employers
  • Government entities
  • Highway construction companies
  • Industry institutes
  • Safety equipment manufacturers
  • Sub-/independent contractors
  • Trade associations
  • Unions

Go to the Stop-Falls Events site to learn where and when programs are available in your region or contact your regional manager. If your company has developed a fall-prevention program, needs additional information, or has suggestions, you can email oshastanddown@dol.gov or access social media sites with #StandDown4Safety.

Construction Monitor genuinely cares about on-the-job safety. If you have safety-related information we should share with construction employers or other industry-related businesses, please email Construction Monitor and we’ll promptly reply.

Building Permit Data Management

You can process large amounts of permit data through Construction Monitor’s API or automated weekly data dumps via secure FTP. To learn more, call 800-925-6085 (international 435-586-1205) or contact us.

Finishing Others’ Construction Projects: Yes, It’s Tricky

construction projects

This would make for a great Halloween blog: It’s no treat to finish other companies’ construction projects. And being politically correct when dealing with another construction professional’s mistakes is tricky.

You may be finishing up for a competitor, but you’re also dealing with the work of a company that may be a future partner or source of more work. And if it happened to them, it might happen to you someday.

You literally don’t want to burn any bridges here.

Taking On Construction Projects Halfway Through

What happens when you’re asked to take on construction projects halfway through? The first question to ask is, “Why?”

Relationship conflicts, disagreements, job conditions, financial issues, personal emergencies, or unforeseen circumstances can lead to a general contractor or subcontractor leaving a project midstream. If you’re the replacement, it’s important to know why they left.

Look Before You Leap

It’s a bit of an ego-trip. Everyone wants to be “The Wolfe,” the prestigious problem-solver in Pulp Fiction. Don’t let the initial excitement of landing a new project cloud your judgment. If you do, you could wind up with the same issues as your predecessor. 

  • If the first contractor was overwhelmed, that’s something you can manage.
  • If money was an issue, it might not have been the general contractor’s lack of money. It could be a delinquent client.

You also need to know exactly how much money is available for the scope of work you inherited. “You may get in and think you have $1 million of work to do, and the bank may think you have $100,000 of work to do,” said Michael Rune II, Carlton Fields P.A.

Are There Do-Overs?

Your contract should specify the work that remains as-is, work to be completed, and itemize any crossover work. If you’ll be responsible for the quality of any scope of work, make sure it’s your work. You don’t want to assume 100% liability for 10 percent of the contract price, Rune continued.

If you’re taking on another company’s construction projects, the bottom line is how much you’re willing to risk to turn a profit. Only you can decide.

Other Construction Projects Impact Your Business

Construction industry businesses know what’s important to business development. You should be regularly evaluating your competition, seeking alignment with other companies’ construction projects, finding mentors, or nurturing startups.

Construction Monitor has been providing data analytics for construction business development since 1989. Let us give you information for a better 2021.

How to Keep Construction Equipment Cool During the Summer…

construction equipmentThe construction equipment you use is designed to be rugged. However, the extreme temperatures of summer can put enough strain on these vehicles and tools to cause breakdowns, sidelining progress and profitability. Here are some suggestions for how to keep construction equipment cool during the summer.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your construction equipment working properly in all temperatures, but it’s especially important in hot climates. The equipment will be better able to handle the stress of high temperatures if it has been checked and small problems corrected. A program of regular maintenance will extend the equipment’s overall working life and reduce the possibility of breakdowns and system failures.

Check Coolant Regularly

Coolant checks are part of maintenance, but they are important enough to deserve special attention. The coolant in your construction vehicles is vital to keeping the equipment cool during both normal operation and more stressful times when outdoor temperatures are high. Check coolant every day before starting work. Make sure you maintain an appropriate ratio of coolant and water to prevent equipment overheating.

Use the Right Equipment for the Job

Make sure the equipment on your site is used properly. Vehicles and tools should be used as intended, according to manufacturer’s instructions. It may be tempting to press a piece of construction equipment into service as needed, but using the equipment in ways it’s not designed for can cause damage, overheating and other problems.

Store Equipment Properly

When not in use, equipment should be stored in a shaded area to reduce the effects of heat. It’s even better if you have an indoor storage area with fans or other cooling systems. Storage areas should also be dry to avoid any effects from moisture, such as rust and corrosion, that could make it easier for the equipment to overheat.

Construction Monitor has the best interests of construction firms in mind, providing useful data, practical advice, and actionable content that can improve operations and profitability. Contact us today for more information on how to keep construction equipment cool during the summer.

Rental Apartment Construction Booming Across the U.S. at a 27-Year High

Rental apartment construction in the U.S. has increased to a level not seen since 1987, according to new industry numbers reported in the Wall Street Journal. Multifamily apartment construction is at its highest level in some 27 years, with 330,000 multifamily apartment units under construction as of October 2014.

rental constructionThis indicates a boom in apartment construction, and it came despite the multifamily sector saw a 15.5 percent overall drop in October 2014.

Construction of multifamily housing options containing five units or more is at its highest level since 1989. The number of those units being produced for rental is at the highest level since records were first kept on the issue in 1974.

More than 93 percent of units in buildings with at least two units will be rental units.

The upsurge in apartment and rental unit construction continues a trend in urban residential construction that tends to concentrate more people into available spaces. The current trend outpaces the last notable housing boom in 2006. The notable difference today is that more units are being built as rentals.

Are you a construction industry professional looking for the latest information on construction trends, housing starts and building permit issuances? Construction Monitor provides comprehensive reports on these and other important industry topics. Contact us today for more information on recent developments in rental apartment construction and what they could mean for your company.

Image via Shutterstock.com

5 Construction Tips to Keep Your Projects as Efficient as Possible

5 Tips to Keep Your Construction Project as Efficient as PossibleOn any construction project, efficiency translates into better profits, more satisfied customers and a better reputation in your local area. Here are five construction tips you can use right now to improve project efficiency and boost results. Continue reading 5 Construction Tips to Keep Your Projects as Efficient as Possible