5 Effective Strategies for General Contractors to Cut Costs

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | 5 Effective Strategies for General Contractors to Cut CostsContractors need to devise ways to cut costs in order to remain profitable. With increased competition, the need to cut costs has become important now more than ever.

Eliminating people is not the right way to cut costs. This will only stifle the ability of your firm to make a profit. Instead, you should look for other ways to cut costs and boost profitability.

1. Cost Audit

The first step in cutting costs should begin with a complete audit of the existing expenses. You should consider ways to reduce operational expenses.

You can relocate the office to a location where the rent is lower. Also, you can consider the shift from in-house to cloud operations to cut overheads.

A lot of contractors subscribe to different software services yet don’t use most of them. Consider whether the services really add value to your business by saving time or improving efficiency. If not, it’s better to cancel the subscription.

2. Time and Contract Clause

Instead of Under-the-contract-price, you should consider adding the add-to-exceed clause. In the former case, the owner of the project only has to pay a fixed cost that includes overhead and profit. This is not necessarily the most cost-effective approach.

Instead, you should consider the time and materials contract. This is a type of contract consist of the following three terms.

  • Actual material costs
  • Actual direct labor costs at a specific hourly rate
  • Agree on add-on to cover profit and overhead

The main benefit of this type of contracting is flexibility. This cost structure allows you to adjust requirements, replace features, and cater to changed user requirements without taking a hit on the bottom-line.

3. Seek Multiple Bids

When working with a sub-contractor, you should consider multiple bids. This may take additional time, but the effort will be worth it in the end.

You may have to send lots of emails and hammer the phones. But this will allow you to lock in on subcontractors that offer services at the least costs. This extra work will help in significantly reduce the internal expenses.

4. Inspect Your Schedule

You should keep an eye on your schedule for any potential stacking or acceleration of activities. Compressing the schedule will allow you to squeeze cost advantages. Time is money and any time that is saved will have a positive impact on the company’s bottom-line.

5. Financial Prequalification

You should prequalify all subcontractors to reduce the risk in case of cost escalation. This is particularly important if the subcontractor will bear most of the risks. It will help in absorbing any deviances in a project that result in increased cost.

By financial prequalification, you can get assurance that the subcontractors will be able to absorb any costs overruns. Some of the criteria that you should consider include pipeline, days of cash, and work in progress.

The above tips can help in greatly reducing the contracting costs. Consider adding an escalation clause in all your projects as well. This will pass on the risk of cost increase to the project owners.

Cut The Costs of Your Business Without Cutting Corners

In business, being able to keep costs as low as possible is key to get the maximum return for your business. But what many businesses get confused with, is the fact that cutting costs doesn’t have to jeopardise jobs or quality in your business or product. If you think honestly about how to resolve the business’ insufficiencies, then it can really make a difference. So here are some good ways to reduce costs at work, without having to reduce quality. Because in the long-run, if quality is reduced, it is going to affect your bottom line after all.

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Reduce Overhead Costs

If you have reduced costs of where you work from, then it can make a big difference. Your office and employees can cost you a lot of money. So could you arrange a rota where half work from home on certain days and then swap on other days? When you need a smaller office space, or don’t need an office at all, it can make a massive difference. You could also look to outsource or always hire remote employees from now on. Those are both ways to cut down costs, but still get the job done to a good quality.


Along similar lines, outsourcing is a great way to cut down costs but still get some exceptional work done. The reason being, you get experts in their fields working as freelancers. They will dedicate their time to your project to get it done and then that is it until you might need them again. So it makes things cheaper than having a full-time employee. It also helps to work to timelines, which is helping to still delivery a top quality product or business to your customers and clients. Look at your current tem, though, to see where their existing skills lay. If you have someone that is quite capable to achieve the same task, then it could be cheaper for them to do it. It all depends on what people are already able to do.

Avoid Company Cars

Company cars can be a massive expense for the business, particularly when it come to tax. So if your business involves a lot of driving to see clients, then using your own car and expensing the cost of the fuel can be a cheaper way to go. It can also work out cheaper to lease cars, from somewhere like Flex Fleet, for instance. When you only need cars or trucks for a set amount of time, then it means you only pay for what you use, rather than it taking a chunk of money out of the business.

Talk To Suppliers

If your business involves working closely with suppliers, then make sure that you are doing just that. Your costs are going to affected by their costs. So talk to them regularly about how to improve systems as well as reduce the cost of things. It may be that they need a new piece of equipment to make something quicker and cheaper in the long-term. If so, you could help them towards it, for example. It is certainly worth having that conversation, though.