- Having to get up at some unearthly hour to open up the site.
- Getting all muddy and dirty all day.
- Kicking everyone off site so you can eat of an evening.
Well they are major problems I always used to face but perhaps something a little more general from me might be appropriate?
So, okay, the first thing I would suggest is that we are faced with just too much work. Obviously the first priority has to be keeping some kind of control over the thousand “pieces of string” floating around on any construction project. One aspect of the nature of construction is “complexity” so, even on quite small projects those “bits of string” are still there! Then we actually have a shortened day to deal with them! What happens first thing every morning? The office is jam-packed with people wanting information or decisions before they start their day’s work! That can often drag on until 10 a.m. – and I don’t actually wake up properly until 10.30! Then, if there is somewhere convenient, I can nip out for breakfast!
Having got the day started it is then wander-round-looking-important time! So, okay, there might be some chat and banter to be had from that, but there are also an awful lot of problems to come up with solutions for and decisions to be made. Plus the chat and banter is also really more work – team-building stuff. Then, usually after the majority of the trades have cleared off for the day, we have to deal with the paperwork. That’s a couple of hours of frustration stuck on the work-load! I did, once and only once, have a project which had a young lady Receptionist employed. That was joy because she had the paperwork malarkey foisted off on her!
On site we tend to be obsessive about getting the project built, fitted out, or whatever. Unfortunately we have to be making a profit or no cash to pay us! Out of work, again! That means we also have to keep a very careful eye on the project cash-flow. We have to keep a careful eye on progress so we know exactly what the Client owes us each month. Then we have to badger and harass them to get the cash transferred to our account! Then we have to do the same – eye on progress – to know what the subbies can charge us for. Only if we have managed to get the cash out of the Client can we pay them and avoid a walk-out!
The other major money problem we always face is – different to the on-site situation – having too little work on the books! Not enough work on the books to meet corporate overheads and show a year-end profit? Go mad trying to get invited to Tenderfor more work! Reduce the skimpy little profit margin even further to try hard to get the contracts? Are even more staff required to manage to do that? How do we find the cash to pay them? I ask you; is it any wonder that so many construction companies roll over and go bust?
So how to deal with these major problems we always face in construction? Well the first one, not enough time in the day, is fairly simple to at least make less of a challenge. Keep the Client happy! If we can manage to get their in-house project manager to feel that they are a part of the Team, even go so far as trying to be friends with them! If they understand that you are really under the hammer for time and that the project might suffer because of that, they’ll look after our backs for us! Loads less hassle and changes from their Architects and Consultants! That also has a spin off; means less time spent on dam*ed paperwork! We can. Actually, save all the paperwork time and hassle very simply! Just use GenieBelt! That will give you a couple of hours a day to do something more useful – or get home earlier to the wife and kids!
Cash-flow issues? The answer to that is to keep good accounts then make sure you send out invoices by due date and get the payment back – by due date! Some pressure will also be taken off if there is actually a little bit of spare cash in the kitty. That could mean that the subbies would get paid what they are due and by due date even if the Client is a bit late paying. The time saved by not having subbies clambering at your door for money can then be spent pestering the Client! Again, cash-flow issues are vastly simplified by Using GenieBelt. That will keep a close check on progress and then automatically do most of the sums for you.
That just leaves us with the “not enough work” matter to solve. The answer to that starts with making sure you have someone on the job getting you invitations to Tender for work. Once you’ve got those you must keep your prices competitive. Bang out your Quotes hand over fist and hope that some get accepted. There is a sneaky way to increase your chances and to maybe be allowed a bit more profit on your Quote. That is to leave behind a “delighted client”, one who was so pleased with what you did for them previously that they want you back on their next project!
That lot should leave you well aware of the 3 Major Problems you always face in Construction and give some good ideas as to how you can deal with them.