When you’ve dedicated your whole professional life to working in the construction industry, it’s entirely reasonable to want to make your mark in the industry by starting a firm of your very own. That is, after all, the dream isn’t it? To take the skills you’ve spent decades honing and go into business with yourself, taking on the industry on your own terms and shattering the ceiling that your current job places over your pay and prospects?
Yet while there are many who find success in setting up their own construction business, there are many caveats when it comes to starting out on your own. The construction industry is high in costs and low margins by nature. Cash flow equilibrium can be hard to come by and the inevitability of large scale borrowing can mean a great deal of money spent on interest in your early days. In order to find sustainable success, firms need to be securing contract after contract in rapid succession to stay afloat. Which is why reputation is so incredibly important in the construction industry.
Here are some tips to make sure that your nascent firm develops a sterling reputation which carries it to lasting success…
Never over-promise in the hopes of landing a contract
Bidding for contracts can be an extremely nerve-wracking process, especially when you’re throwing your hat into the ring alongside well established and seasoned construction firms with whom high paying business clients will already be familiar.
In such a context, it can be extremely tempting for hungry new firms to over promise in the hopes of beating their competitors to the punch… but such a tactic can often create more problems than it solves. There’s nothing worse than over promising and under delivering. As important as it is to be competitive, it’s also essential that you’re realistic about the capabilities of your team and your equipment.
Invest in the resources for outstanding project management
When you’re working on a construction project, it can seem as though every day is a battle for productivity. Not only do you need to keep close tabs on your plant, knowing where your equipment is and who’s using it at all times, you need to be sure of the whereabouts of every member of your team, know what they’re working on and make sure that they know what to focus their attention on next.
And this can be a real uphill struggle without the right project management solutions. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of software out there to help you to track your team’s progress as well as Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices that can be attached to virtually any plant and allow for easier tracking. There are even new tools hitting the market that already have IoT technology built in.
Deliver solutions that will withstand the test of time
It goes without saying that compliance in the construction industry is enormously important. But in order to secure a sterling reputation in the industry, you’ll also need to be able to assure your clients that your firm will go the extra mile and deliver solutions that are guaranteed to withstand whatever time, the elements and the caprices of nature can throw at them for decades to come. Invest in great quality materials, having checks and balances in place to ensure consistent quality and outsourcing to other entities like seismic engineering contractors can all help you to go the extra mile and develop a sterling reputation. Even if your company is still in its infancy, clients will have confidence in you if they can see that you take every care to maintain the integrity of your work. That said, it’s also essential to…
Own your mistakes
No matter how many precautionary measures you take, there’s always a chance that things may go wrong either during or after the construction process. As tempting as it may be to bury your head in the sand, failing to own and respond to mistakes can do irreparable damage to your reputation.
Invest in your plant. Invest in your team
Your plant is an important investment. You need to be absolutely sure that the equipment you use will give you the same high standard of performance. And that’s not always easy to do when you’re first starting out, which is why hire purchase is often a favorable solution for nascent construction firms who need equipment of the highest quality but can’t necessarily afford to buy it outright.
But perhaps more important is the need to invest in a skilled and highly motivated team who you can trust to get the job done on time to a consistently high standard. Your work is only ever as good as your team. Fortunately, having spent years as a construction worker you likely already know exactly what to look for in your workforce.
Maintain an outstanding safety record
The last thing any client wants is mishaps taking place on their site. And as a seasoned construction professional, you know how fraught with risk the average site can be. This is why it’s so important to maintain the highest standard of safety. When deadlines loom near, it’s all too tempting to loosen your standards in terms of safety checks in the name of getting the job done quicker.
Manage and meet expectations
It’s always frustrating when your best efforts fall short of clients’ expectations. It’s even more frustrating when this happens because your client’s expectations are inherently unreasonable. This is why expectation management in the early stages is so essential. When the client has clear parameters for what to expect there’s no room for them to perceive failure and all you can do is meet or surpass their expectations of you.
Construction firms rely heavily on word of mouth, but unlike other businesses they can’t use easy strategies like discount codes and referral incentives to facilitate it. That’s why it’s so essential to hold yourself to the highest standards and have an infrastructure in place to assure excellence in every job. When you’re doing this, you can be sure that world will get around.