The stakes are high in the construction industry. Building homes and buildings is expensive, and safety issues are paramount. Customers tend to be cautious and highly involved in the construction process, which can potentially cause issues for construction firms.
Construction company owners must be mindful of customer service, quality, costs and many more factors to find success and attract loyal customers. We’ll explore seven tips for building a successful construction business and highlight essential tools for everyday operations.
While the construction industry forecast is bright and shows no signs of slowing down, construction businesses face challenges and dangers that aren’t for the faint of heart.
When building or growing your construction firm, pay attention to the following factors to protect your reputation and business and thrive in the industry.
Your clients will remember your team’s work and how your employees treated them during the construction process. Assemble a team who will respect your clients, display patience and show understanding when there are concerns or issues. This level of support will help you avoid customer service pitfalls and go a long way toward generating customer loyalty, earning repeat customers and gaining valuable referrals.
Contracting encompasses many niches. If you specialize in a particular area, make it known. Promoting your company as superior in a specific niche – for example, window installation or roof repair – is an excellent way to ensure you’re the one clients call when a window cracks or the roof starts to leak.
Even if you’re a general contractor, you can still offer a broader spectrum of services while branding your company as “the best” in a specific niche.
Marketing your construction company is crucial. While acquiring clients through word-of-mouth advertising is great, developing a robust regional and local marketing strategy will further grow your business. Use fundamental branding tools to help get your company’s name out there so people think of you when they need a contractor.
A company needs business insurance, especially when working with heavy machinery and electric tools is on the daily agenda. Ensure you have general liability insurance and coverage for potential injuries, property damage and lawsuits. These days, choosing insurance policies is straightforward, especially when finding affordable, specialized insurance policies for your industry.
This step comprises two parts:
It might be tempting to go with less expensive materials. However, remember that saving now often means spending more later.
Ensure all equipment is up to the task and can withstand the test of time. For example, investing in stainless steel screws might be smart when working in a location vulnerable to wet weather conditions. Customers may not be well versed enough in construction to know the difference, but they’ll certainly notice if things start to rust or break down.
It’s essential to keep your business organized. For example, maintain thorough bookkeeping to ensure you stick to your budget and get paid for your work promptly.
It’s also wise to track how much time and energy you dedicate to your services. This will prevent you from spreading yourself too thin and taking on too many clients or tasks at any given time. It might seem like more customers are always better, but that’s only true if it doesn’t require you to sacrifice the dedication you can give to each one.
To have effective and efficient construction and customer communication processes, you need industry-specific tools. Here are some essential tools you’ll need:
Estimating the cost of labor and materials – plus your profit – is a crucial element of your construction business. If your price is too high, you won’t get much business. If it’s too low, you will lose money or need to revise your estimate, leading to poor customer satisfaction.
Construction estimating tools provide reasonable, comprehensive estimates you can modify if material prices change or the project’s scope shifts. The best construction estimating software includes modules for scheduling, client communication, invoicing and project management, in addition to price estimation.
Point-of-sale (POS) systems are generally associated with retailers. However, construction POS systems allow you to accept customer payments via smartphones and tablets, and provide robust payment and customer-tracking features.
Many construction POS systems help track inventory so you can reorder efficiently and avoid project delays. They can also track business metrics like sales and profitability and help with scheduling. If you have subcontractors, you can track their time and scheduling as well.
All successful businesses must be able to receive and process payments promptly. Construction projects typically involve several large periodic payments. Getting paid without delay is even more critical because you must order materials for the next construction phase.
While you might receive many payments by check, construction companies should also accept credit cards and other payment forms. Accepting multiple payment methods can boost customer convenience and payment efficiency.
Safety is a significant issue on construction job sites; it always pays to protect your workers, subcontractors and others visiting the site. Smart helmets are a high-tech way to improve safety. These helmets are hard hats with sophisticated tools built in, including sensors, tracking tools and augmented reality.
Smart helmets can warn wearers of potentially dangerous conditions or alert team members if help is needed. They can monitor workers’ health in real time to avoid potentially disastrous accidents. The augmented reality feature helps with site planning and provides a visual overlay without the need to carry around site plans or blueprints, allowing workers to use their hands for balance and stability.
While architects and engineers may be used to 2D blueprints and renderings to visualize completed projects, it’s more challenging for clients. Imagine being able to virtually walk clients through what their new home or office will look like. Virtual reality in construction is at an early stage, but it’s poised to become a significant competitive advantage and game changer in the industry.
In addition to using virtual reality to improve client interaction and sales, construction firms can use it for training, reducing labor costs and improving efficiency.
Evyatar Sagie contributed to this article.