Tag Archives: Automated Trackers

5 Tips to Become a Strong, Go-Getting Leader

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Before we proceed with this article, take a minute to stop and think about where your construction company is right now. How many projects do you currently have on-going? How many permanent employees do you have? How much is the company earning and spending on a monthly basis? You get the picture.

Okay, now that you’ve done that. Let’s move on with how you can become a stronger go-getter who can lead your construction company to success. This important because as the leader of your construction firm, much of its direction and success has to originate from you.

But here’s the clincher, you can’t be successful at something if you’re not clear with what you want. So let’s cure that with these 5 tips on how you can get exactly what you want for your company.

1. Picture what success is going to look like

Start envisioning. Get it clear in your mind what it is that you really want for your business. How many projects do you want for this year? What would the implications be if you were to add more hires? Draft our your metrics for success. The more you clarify this, the easier it will be to achieve.

2. Write it down

Don’t just store these metrics in your head. Write them down. In fact, you can even share them with trusted advisors or key personnel. Getting it out of your head will result in accountability.

3. Gauge your current power and control

It’s always a good thing to remember just what it is that you already have power over. List down the specific areas that you can readily act on or control. Make an inventory of your current manpower and network. Review your finances. You can’t be a superhero if you don’t know what powers you have in your arsenal. Knowing this will often make it easier for you to plan out exactly how to achieve the goals you’ve set.

4. Tackle adversity head-on

If you really want to achieve your vision, you will immediately try to solve the problems and overcome the challenges. Avoiding is just procrastination, and it’s precious time that you’re wasting. Face the people who have opinions  that differ from yours and you’ll probably get some valuable insight from them. Define the obstacles that are blocking your way so you can effectively craft a solution ASAP.

5.Be persistent

You’ve set your vision. You’ve written down your goals. You’re ready to pounce on those obstacles. Now it’s time to be focused and persistent. Hold on to those dreams and don’t hold back. Be passionate about your goals. Think it, speak it, live it and breathe it. Your passion will surely trickle down to the team, once they see how dedicated you are.

If people know what your goals are, more often than not, they will more inclined to help you achieve them.

Oh and as a last note, please do your best to still fight fair and do honest business. One of your main goals should always be to provide the best service for your clientele. After all, you’re in the business of building not just houses, but also homes.

Click here to know more about how you can handle more construction projects as once.

Relationship-Building and Networking for 2016

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As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and think about the things that you could do better for next year. For most entrepreneurs and professionals in general, it’s networking and relationship-building. In order to boost your career, you need to make valuable connections with people. The person you introduced yourself to may not be your next investor, client or business partner, but he may know someone who might be. Have you ever heard about the 6-degrees of separation?

So today, we’re listing down 4 refreshing yet simple tips on how you can expand your network for 2016.

1. Don’t be lazy. Attend it!

We can always come up with a dozen excuses on why we shouldn’t attend events, but the thing is, there are also a LOT of reasons on why you should go! So go ahead and attend that meeting, that industry meet-up, that conference, that workshop, that general membership meeting. Sign up, send your RSVP, and get moving. You won’t meet new people if you stay in your own little box.

2. Be genuine.

It’s so easy to spot someone who’s only pretending to be interested in what you’re saying. We can all smell a contrived sales pitch from miles away. So please, stop pretending and try to be as genuine as possible. You can still say something about your company or your agenda, but mix it with sincerity and actual interest in what the other person has to say as well. Don’t hog the conversation. Share the air-time and let each other shine. Remember, putting your best foot forward can entail honesty and sincerity too!

3. Don’t rush it.

There will be moments when you’ll meet a possible mentor or maybe a potential investor. You strike up a good conversation and see sparks fly. But then you feel sad because they don’t call you back or they haven’t responded to your emails yet. Don’t worry. While some professional relationships take off at once, others take time to build. A few may not even happen. But we’re not looking for an instant lotto win here. The goal is to install a system in you. Where you constantly build relationships with key people. Where you are confident in sharing your story and giving value to others.

4. Gold may already be around you.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to look to far! Try to study your existing network and rummage for potential relationships. You may already know a colleague with an inspiring story. An acquaintance may have already adopted a new IT system that you want to try out for your company. A gym buddy may be the gate-keeper to that person that you want to get know. Don’t have any regrets. Don’t neglect the potential relationships with people in your close proximity.

These 4 tips that we shared above are not rocket science. Keep attending events. Be genuine. Take your time. Look around you. People are a great source of knowledge. And the beauty of it is that, once you’ve built real, genuine, professional relationships, it will allow itself to expand and strengthen if you play your cards right!

So make that decision to be more outgoing and genuine in 2016. Your business will surely thank you for it!

ABC Launches “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard”

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Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched an online scorecard that will review and grade state-specific policies affecting the construction industry. “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard” is a website where builders, contractors and suppliers can view which states have created beneficial or subpar environments for the construction industry.

Quick Overview about the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC’s membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry.

What is Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard?

Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard reviews and ranks state-specific information that is significant to the construction industry. The scorecard is a tool to identify states that are embracing the merit shop philosophy via legislation, policies, priorities and valuable programs, as well as highlight states where proactive and strategic improvements need to be executed to create an environment conducive to the industry’s needs. Rankings have been assigned primarily based on the core issues concerning merit shop construction, including state policies on Right to Work, prevailing wage and government-mandated project labor agreements.

US States are ranked based on how construction-friendly they are

Overall ranking (1-51) is determined through a combined score of the seven graded criteria. Ties in combined score being broken by performance on ABC core issues, with secondary consideration given to additional graded criteria.

Every state received a score in each of the following seven categories measuring critical laws, programs, policies, and statistics impacting the merit shop contracting community. An overall comparative ranking was then assigned to each state by considering all measured categories, with particular emphasis given to the first three criteria of project labor agreements, prevailing wage, and Right to Work state laws and/or executive orders.

Ties in combined score were broken by performance on ABC core issues and a consideration of the other scored criteria grades.

  • Project Labor Agreements –  State policies on government-mandated PLAs on public and publically assisted projects.
  • Prevailing Wage – State policies requiring contractors performing work on contracts procured by public entities or with a certain threshold of public funding to pay a government-determined prevailing wage to construction workers employed on a contract subject to the requirements. 
  • Right to Work – Right to Work law or other statutory protection of a worker’s right to secure employment without being forced to join a union.
  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) – State allows public sector entities to enter into contracts with private sector entities in which both sectors share the risk and revenue from a project.
  • Workforce Development – State provides financial incentives directly to employers or associations that train their workers through registered apprenticeship programs or other industry-recognized programs like those provided by NCCER (formerly the National Center for Construction Education and Research); state provides financial incentives to employers that hire workers that possess an industry-recognized credential or are a graduate of a registered apprenticeship program.
  • Education – State policy allows for flexible high school curriculum standards that promote rigorous and relevant skilled trades and career and technical education (CTE) opportunities for career readiness, as well as college preparation opportunities.
  • Job Growth Rate – Data provides the Compound Annual Growth Rate in construction from 2011 to 2015 using data from the month of August. States with a higher growth rate were given higher scores than states that had a low or negative growth rate.
  • Prompt Pay – State has public and private prompt pay requirements for owners and higher tier contractors to pay subcontractors.
  • Immigration/E-Verify  – Identifies states that require employers or state contractors to utilize E-Verify. ABC National’s immigration policy calls for federal preemption of state-level immigration-related requirements. 
  • State GDP – Percentage of state GDP directly resulting from nonresidential construction (2013).
  • 2013 Incidence Rate – Data tracks the 2013 incidence rate in construction, which is collected and reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is a lagging indicator, with 2013 being the most recent information reported through the BLS survey process. The rate is calculated as the number of incidents per 100 full-time workers. While this is important information to have on hand, it remains non-scored because the variables that affect incidence rates are numerous and require much greater context to demonstrate the specific conditions that lead to lower rates.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Oversight – State occupational safety and health entities versus states controlled by the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration.
  • Construction Industry Unionization Rate – Data indicates how many and what percentage of a state’s construction workforce belonged to a labor union in 2014.

Visit their website and view the scores at www.meritshopscorecard.org.

Home-Buyers Don’t Want Fast, They Want Instant

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Once upon a time, our definition of “fast” meant overnight FedEx deliveries. People were even willing to pay premium for that kind of service. But the thing is, customers no longer want “fast”.

In a word where Google offers answers to just about any question within the span of a few blinks, where you can easily download an app if the need arises, where high-speed networks are the norm… your business has to keep up!

The web and the latest advancements in technology have conditioned us into thinking that we can get what we want, whenever we want, wherever we may be (as long as there’s good signal).

On-Demand Builder

So of course, clients expect you to be an on-demand homebuilder, an on-demand project manager. They demand responsiveness. After all, building a home is probably one of their biggest investments ever. An immensely critical decision. Something that is circling their minds 24×7.

Communication

So how will you address it? Email takes forever. Voicemail takes too long. People are even developing aversion to phone calls. These days, people would much rather text, chat, Viber, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and so on. Digital conversations. Conversations that immediately go back and forth.

This becomes very tricky for builders because we all know that our clients don’t necessarily understand the meaning of  “business hours”. Out-of-office communication for us has long been the norm. Today, they just want it done much, much quicker.

Sharing Files

File-sharing apps and websites have become prevalent in recent years. Clients want quick access to files. And in addition, these files have to be within reach on different devices. If you’re talking about revisions or changes in the design, they want to be able to see it whether they’re on their phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Schedule Updates

When a client ask you about the progress of their home, you have to be able to answer confidently almost instantly (more so if you are face to face). Taking too long will hurt your credibility. Giving vague answers will plant doubts in your client’s mind. As a responsible homebuilder, you should incorporate effective project management tools in your business, so that answers are readily available to you in just a few clicks. Since your customers demand information fast, you have to prepare accodingly.

One of best tools for this is SAM – The Superintendent’s Automated Manager. SAM will veer you away from messy and complicated paper schedules, ensuring that everything is digitized, editable and quickly within reach. It will help you to keep key personnel updated on project milestones, as well as with schedule changes. You can input tasks, deliveries and meetings in SAM, and even get project reports at the push of a button.

Keep up and Stay Ahead

Technology is ever-changing and customers are getting more demanding. If you don’t evolve with them, your company will get left behind. So today put yourself in the shoes of your clients and imagine how they crave and ask for information. And always remember that these days, just “fast” is no longer acceptable.

3 Simple Steps to Improving Your Financials

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In the past couple of years, we’ve seen that the number of new businesses have risen, but at the same time, failure rates are also on the rise. In fact, almost half of all startup businesses fail within the first 4 years of operation.

One of the most common reasons as to why startups are failing is because they can’t really make out the meaning of the numbers in their financial statements. Inability to understand your financial statements means that you don’t know your targets, you can’t see your milestones, and you’re probably not aware of holes in your business. Eventually, this will lead to more bad decisions which then lead to closing up shop.

Of course, our goal is better construction management. So in this post, we are outlining 3 basic steps on how you can improve your company’s profitability.

1. Make Sure You are Charging Enough

In highly competitive markets, it’s very tempting to lower your rates in order to attract more clients and close more deals. But you have to remember that the long-term sustainability of your company depends on profitability. Therefore when creating (or revising) your pricing model for your various services, you first have to determine who your target demographic is. What is their income capcity? How much are they willing (and able) to spend for a new home or renovation?

Investigate what your competitors are charging so you’ll have an idea of the current market prices. Don’t be too quick to lower your rates just to grab more customers though. You may outnumber your client’s projects, but with unrealistic prices, your profits may still be in the red. Consider all of the costs and investments that go into your construction business. Factor in all labor costs. What is your ideal profit margin?

Don’t be afraid to stand up for what your services are worth. Lowering prices might compromise the quality service that you should be offering.

2. Always Have a Positive Cash Flow

As builders, we know that cash-flow is a major issue during slow months. Since most of us get paid based on progress billing, not having enough cash-on-hand can spell big trouble when it’s time to pay your employees, contractors, suppliers, and utilities. Businesses that don’t have enough cash flow usually resort to borrowing, but make sure that all of your current and future debt are well-planned. Study your income and revenue for both your peak and lean seasons. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that it will always be Christmas. In any business, there will be peaks and valleys so you need to prepare your financials for any possible scenario.

3. Monitor Your Expenses

An educated forecast of your income will definitely come in handy, but at the same time, it’s also a must to map out your expenses. Stay up-to-date on your bookkeeping in order to have a clear view of your cost structure. Know your recurring expenses and prepare for variable expenses. Do you have any inventory or long-term investments? These should be taken into account as well.

Remember, getting a good view of your company’s spending habits (and schedule) can give you a lot of information about your big-ticket expenses. In addition, it will give you insight on areas that can be cut-off or limited. Knowledge and planning are the keys to better construction management.

While having an accountant for your construction business is a definite must, it is also your responsibility to know the basics of finance. The better your grasp for numbers, the higher your chances for profitability.