There’s a good reason why more and more entrepreneurs, both seasoned and inexperienced, are entering the construction sector. After all, contractors are almost always in high demand, and starting a business in this industry can lead to potentially lucrative opportunities.
However, make no mistake: running a successful construction company is no small feat. It’s a colossal undertaking that requires a considerable commitment of time, effort and financial resources. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In this article, we will discuss a few actions, practices, and strategies that should help you achieve both success and growth in this industry
NEVER IGNORE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Ask any experienced contractor, and they’ll tell you the same thing: never ignore customer service. Your clients will remember the work that you’ve done for them, and they won’t forget their experience with your business and the way that they were treated either. By making sure that all of your workers show your clients patience, understanding, and respect, you’ll improve your chances of gaining more referrals and repeat customers for your business.
PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS WITH THE RIGHT INSURANCE
No matter how much planning or preparation you do, anything can happen in the construction business. As such, it makes sense to protect your company with the right insurance policies. From general liability coverage to insuring equipment and tools, obtaining the necessary insurance can go a long way to keep your business safe financially and protect stakeholders associated with the company.
Some of the most important insurance policies for construction business owners to consider include:
- Liability Insurance. General liability and professional liability insurance can protect you financially in the event of an on-site injury, construction errors, and more.
- Commercial Auto Insurance. Whether you have just a few business vehicles or a full fleet, its important to ensure you have the right coverage.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Many states in the U.S. actually require construction businesses to maintain a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy to help cover lost wages and medical expenses for workers injured on the job.
- Contractor’s Equipment Insurance. Progress can come to a halt when important equipment breaks down. This type of insurance will provide the funds necessary to repair or replace equipment so you can keep up with deadlines.
Along the same lines as insurance, getting licensed and bonded is an essential step to running a successful construction company. Many states require contractors to obtain a license bond in order to operate legally, but there are many other types of bonds to consider—like performance and payment bonds, maintenance bonds, supply bonds and more. While these are not always included in private contracts, many public projects do required bonding.
Even in areas where bonding is not required for licensure or a specific project, getting bonded anyway can help you stand out from the competition. Getting bonded is a sign of trust for potential clients, and it just might give you the edge over other bidders.
BUILD A GREAT TEAM
Your people are one of your most important assets. Take time to find the right talent, and treat your employees well. Hire people you know you can trust to get the job done right, and reward those who continue to meet or exceed your expectations.
An on-site injury can be costly and damage your reputation. Ensure all of your workers are trained and following appropriate standards. In the case of an incident, file an incident report and address the issue with your team so they can know how to handle similar issues in the future.
In addition to your workers, you also need to ensure your equipment is in good shape. Heavy equipment can cause significant damage. Perform regular preventive maintenance, keep a running maintenance log, and put someone in charge of staying on top of it all.
STICK TO YOUR NICHE
One of the most challenging aspects of running a successful construction business is keeping your overheads in check. If you try to cater to all requests, you’ll spread your resources too thin and risk letting the costs of your business operations spiral out of control.
If you’re just starting out, try to stick to your niche. While it’s true that you’ll limit the jobs that you can take in this way, you’ll also keep your outlays to a minimum. More importantly, it’ll be much easier to market your business as well.
INVEST IN MARKETING
Speaking of marketing, what does your current marketing campaign look like? If you answered “What marketing program?”, it’s time to reassess. Strategic marketing is essential for success in any industry, and construction is no different.
For starters, build out an engaging website that showcases your work and services. In today’s digital world, a high-quality website is absolutely essential. Your site will serve as the hub for many of your other marketing efforts as well:
- Search Engine Marketing. If potential customers can’t find your site online, you’re leaving money and company growth on the table. Consider working with an experienced marketing agency to build your website’s search presence. Seek out agencies with organic SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising experience.
- Content Marketing. Produce thought-leadership pieces covering topics in your niche as blogs on your website. Consider producing a series of blogs to answer the most common questions you receive or to introduce any new trends.
- Case Studies. There’s nothing better than seeing your great work first hand to inspire a prospect to get in touch. Showcase your best work with case studies on your site. Be sure to include high quality images, and seek out testimonials from your clients as well.
- Email. Start building an email list and share your content in a newsletter format. You can repurpose your blogs and case studies here.
START NETWORKING NOW
Networking is a great way to establish your business in your community and discover new opportunities. Here are a few ideas and pointers:
- Seek Partnerships. Speak with other construction company owners in your area. You may be able to form lucrative partnerships, especially if you are working in complementary niches.
- Chamber of Commerce Meetings. Consider attending local chamber of commerce meetings as well, where you can meet business and community leaders and discover opportunities.
- Trade Associations. If you’re part of a trade association, stay up to date on any upcoming conferences or special events—and show up ready to put your best face forward.
- Job Sites. Be courteous and make friends on the job site. You never know who might be able to bring the next opportunity to you. Have professional business cards ready to pass to new contacts. Of course, it plays both ways—if you can help someone out, they may be more willing to help you out as well!
It’s not uncommon for business owners to run their company’s operations unseen. However, if you want to maintain a consistent level of productivity, you must try to make yourself available to supervise whenever possible. While it may be true that you can’t always be on-site, your employees will work much harder than they would have otherwise if they know that you’ll be regularly visiting and remaining involved in projects.
Stay up to date on the latest industry trends and technologies, and never stop learning. Seek out relevant certifications in your niche that can help you to get the edge over your competition, and offer training for your employees as well. In this industry, you have to keep evolving if you don’t want to be left behind the pack.
There’s no formula that can guarantee success in any business, and the construction industry is no exception. But by delivering a high level of customer service, keeping your business financially secure through insurance coverage, sticking to your niche, and remaining involved with the company’s projects, you’ll give your construction business more opportunities to grow and achieve success.