How you can grow your small construction business
Big construction companies are successful and efficient because they know how to manage and keep track of complex projects like houses, warehouses and business buildings, they take advantage of technology and tools to capture important information in a single point of contact that multiple team members can access so they can collaborate and make sure the project is being built and delivered as expected.
Now if you have just started a small construction business or you already have one and you are looking for growth, you need to start looking at the things that your biggest competitors are doing and also learn from your own experience combine that knowledge and finally be able to come up with a way to do things that will allow you to complete projects on time, correctly and for the right price so you will get happy customer, that happy customer will more than likely recommend you to another customer and there is where you start to grow. Now the question is how can you get happy customers, recommendations and take my business to the next level? First you need to understand what your customers are looking for.
What your customers are looking for
Whether you participate in big construction projects as a contractor/provider or you attend your own customers, the company or person that requests your services is looking for the following:
1) Build or install something they way they expect or better.
2) Get quick and accurate status when they need it.
3) Have the work completed on time.
4) Pay the right amount for the work or less.
Going back to the original question:
How can you get happy customers, recommendations and take my business to the next level?
As soon as your business is able to meet your customer expectations you will get paid by a happy customer that will more than likely recommend your services to another possible customer, now is your business able to meet your customer expectations? Here is what we suggest so you can easily find out by yourself:
Make sure your customer gets what you promised
One big assumption here is that if you have a business is because you and your team know very well how to do the kind of construction or installation you are offering, so generally at the time that you get your contract you already understand what your customer is looking for, let’s say your customer requirements, at that time you collected dimensions, specific details like colors, materials, brands, and other information or specifications you need from your customer in order to be able to complete the task, so if you have questions you need to ask until you get what you need.
Once you know what your customer needs, make sure that your customer will get what you promised or agreed by doing the following:
1) Generate a unique project file to collect information for each project or contract that you get from your customer. Make sure this file can be access remotely and is easy to share with your crew members 24/7 so they can consume, update and add files or relevant notes.
2) Add the main contract and other important documents and pictures to appropriate project file. Make sure your crew members adds important documents or pictures to appropriate project file, this will help you have last updated related documents in same project file.
Just doing the 2 steps above, you will easily have access to the specific project information anytime you need and compare pictures of your final work vs specifications requested by your customers before you let your customer know that your assigned project is completed.
Make sure you or your team is available when your customer asks for status
When your customer asks for status, make sure you or your team treats them with respect and courtesy and answers their questions with precise information, to do that, we suggest you to do the following:
1) Make sure the project file is assigned to the crew member that is working on the project/task and that this person updates project file with relevant notes and information. This will help you and your team to know who is working in what project and what is the last updated status so you can easily provide status by accessing the file.
2) Define your business reasons and associate each project file to the appropriate reason (if applicable). Business reasons helps you identify persons in your organization that are in charge to attend specific tasks, for example if you got a construction contract, one of your reasons could be “Plumbing installation” or “Electrical installation”, you have defined those reasons when you have 2 supervisors that attends one “Plumbing installation contracts” and the other “Electrical installation contracts”.
Make sure your assigned project will be delivered on time
It is important that you provide good and accurate estimates at the time that you start negotiating rates and times with your customers so don’t create wrong expectations, make sure your timeline is enough for you to provide complete a high quality work or at least a good quality work, never provide short completion dates just to try to make good impression, if you do this you will put your business in risk of end up running out of time and potentially fail to deliver your project on time or deliver a bad quality project that will make your customer unhappy and frustrated. In the other hand you also don’t want to provide very long completion dates which could cause your customer to look for other of your competitors.
So once you have an agreed timeline, make sure you deliver on time by doing the following:
1) Make sure you add the project Due Date in your project file. Doing this simple step you and your team know when the project needs to be completed.
2) Capture technical difficulties details. Make sure the assigned crew member working in each project or task reports all known technical difficulty he/she is facing as early as possible so you can figure out a way to resolve it, ask him/her to upload pictures or files that helps resolve the issue.
3) Build a knowledge database. Things happens and you will face challenges and difficulties while completing your construction projects, so make sure you plan ahead and capture technical problems with its solutions so when happens again you can find a solution in your knowledge database instead of loosing time having to research for a solution again.
Make sure you charge the right price for your work
When starting a small construction business, the owner usually is the one that knows very well how to build and handle construction projects, but calculate the right price is not easy and depends on lot of factors, so you either do it yourself of pay for someone that can help you to do that, well at least if you follow all recommendations in this post, you will be able to gather all necessary information to do it your own and save some dollars, see our suggestions below:
1) Make sure you know right hour labor rate. This is what is typically included in the construction contracts you charge for each hour you estimated to spend in the project, even this is useful to properly calculate flat service fees or one time service fee if applicable.
2) Make sure you collect expenses in each project file. You may not charged the right amount while working in you first projects, but if you collect all expenses in each project file, you will be able to get the total amount of all expenses you paid while handling the project like gas, parking, meals, etc… then you compare your expenses against the amount you charged for the project and you will know how much you gain or lost.
3) Keep all project files in your knowledge database per reason. This is very helpful for continuous enhancement of your process, so let’s say after 6 months of completing “plumbing installation projects” you can review all your completed projects and compare your contract amount vs your expenses so you can understand better how much money you put down for each project and find a way to reduce them or increase the amount you charge for those kind of projects, this is another advantage of defining your business reasons.
Start growing your small construction business today
Getting knowledge and having the theory is good but not enough to achieve what you want, you need to put it in practice and the sooner the better.
That’s why we recommend you to add a cloud application to your business so you can:
1) Create a case for each construction project you get to be able to store contracts, important documents and information for each project.
2) Define your business reasons and associate each construction project case to corresponding reason.
3) Allow your crew members to collaborate by access, upload and provide information for each construction project case you create 24/7 from any device that has internet connection.
4) Keep track of projects and know who is working in what, provide accurate status with no need to capture notes yourself or call your crew members by phone.
5) Build your knowledge database at the same time you work on projects and use it to continuous enhancement of your process like solutions for technical difficulties, total expenses for each project and more.
You can do all this with M@vDesk, it is user friendly, ready to use and secure, sign up for free today.
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