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.