How to grow your construction business in light of today’s challenges

By John Lack, Acuity Insurance

Whether you are new to the construction business or have been in it for a few years, growing and expanding your construction business can be a challenge, especially with the workforce issues we are all experiencing. Sometimes growth can come naturally with opportunities presented before you. Other times, it’s not as straightforward. The key is finding those ways to grow. Here are a few tips to help navigate these challenges:

Photo of John Lack, Acuity Insurance
John Lack

Ways to Grow

I believe construction companies that grow successfully are often those that are business oriented first and builders second. This doesn’t mean that building skills take second place. But it is my personal belief that 80% of all construction company problems, both in the office and the field, can be traced back to poor management.

There are many ways that you can grow your company. Here are some solid ideas to help you grow your business:

  1. Hire someone with experience.
  2. Protect your cash flow.
  3. Delegate work to your team.
  4. Use technology.
  5. Evaluate risk.
  6. Always be sure you have the proper insurance in place.

Learn more about how to grow your business in this blog.

Struggles with bidding

As a former general contractor, I know the stressful feeling that comes as bid day approaches. You are busy finalizing the numbers to submit to the owner and making sure you have everything covered. In the days leading up to this, you are reviewing and comparing subcontractors’ bids to make sure each proposal has everything it needs when one contractor stops and another picks up.

Here are six land mines contractors should avoid when bidding projects:

  1. Control the workflow.
  2. Make sure your estimators have field experience
  3. Don’t estimate based on incomplete drawings.
  4. Assign the risk a value and conduct a full risk assessment.
  5. Don’t fall to pressure to cut your pricing.
  6. Unpredictable price fluctuation.

Learn more about how to lower the struggles during the bid process in this blog.

Struggles with material costs

In my 40 years in the construction industry, I have never seen anything like the shortages and rapid price increases of building materials that are occurring today.

There are several reasons for the high prices, including inventory shortages, manufacturing issues, supply chain disruptions, wildfires, tariffs and the strong demand for materials. And worst of all, no one knows how long this will last. But one thing is sure. Contractors must be on top of their games to keep their businesses growing.

Here are a few tips to consider in these unprecedented times:

  1. Stay in touch with your suppliers.
  2. Do your research.
  3. Shorten the bid process timing.
  4. Review the contract.
  5. Use upfront communication.
  6. Leverage your relationships.

Learn more about how to lower the struggles with material costs in this blog.

John Lack brings more than 40 years of construction industry experience to Acuity, including carpentry, welding, project management, contract negotiation and much more. He also founded his own commercial general contracting firm specializing in the construction of grocery stores. John will expand on this topic in the March issue of the ABC of Wisconsin Merit Shop Contractor magazine.

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