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Contractors that work in property, home improvement, and real estate come in all shapes and sizes. Electricians, plumbers, construction managers, steelworkers, roofing experts, so on and so on. However, they all share a vital role in the same industry family and they all rely on specific qualities that keep getting them work and keep earning them money. You need more than just an understanding and in-depth knowledge of your particular discipline and field of work. Here, we’re going to look at the qualities you need to really lay the foundations that will help you reach the very top of the business.
Before you can take a leadership role in contracting, you have to make sure that you’ve worked on the machine from the inside. You can join an existing team beyond your apprenticeship to use a more experienced employer as a mentor, for instance. But it’s a good idea to become an independent contractor as well. In particular, working as a subcontractor for other more established teams gives you the chance to learn what it’s like to work flexibly and to mesh with different team members using different disciplines for each job. Great contractors get the job done no matter who they’re working with. That kind of talent needs to be learned with experience before you take the reins yourself.
Contractors that don’t know their math aren’t going to get very far. That’s the simple truth of it. You have to have a working knowledge of the different costs involved in a job and have a constant understanding of its relationship to the fee and how it affects profitability. You have to know when to scale costs back or when you might need more investment. Contractor accounting software such as those shown at SJD Accountancy can be a great help in keeping track of it all, but some of that understanding needs to be innate. Hire an accountant or keep in touch with other successful contractors to get accounting tips from them. Make sure you’re using estimating software accurately to get a better idea of how profitable every job that comes your way is, too.
Sometimes, jobs take more time than expected. But going over schedule shouldn’t be a regular reality for you. There are two points to great timekeeping. The first is developing a realistic understanding of how different processes take. Learn from past jobs and apply their data when you’re constructing a new plan for a new project. Keep expectations reasonable while aiming for more efficient work at the same time. The second part of great timekeeping is constant vigilance. Scheduling software such as Jobber can make it a lot easier to see when you’re on time, behind schedule, or ahead of it. No matter where you are, it’s a good idea to keep clients abreast of it, too. It creates a sense of trust that means they’re less likely to get frustrated when things do fall behind somewhat.
Just as you should constantly build on your understanding of the realities of how time is used in the business, build a deeper knowledge of the supply network available to you. Rather than going only to the bigger all-round suppliers, start building a web of relationships with more specific suppliers such as www.VarnerPipe.com/steel-tubing/. Know the resources you need to use most in the business and know at least two sources of where to find them. It’s a good idea to build long-term relationships with one supplier in particular, but to have a backup in case their own supply falls through. Otherwise, you will be stuck without the resources you need to keep the job running on track, on budget, and on time.
The qualities above are all about how you manage the projects themselves, but how do you manage the business? If you’re in a competitive market, how do you stand above the rest and win more bids? Experience and referrals will play their role naturally as time goes on, providing you know how to capitalize on them. But using web design services like Pronto Marketing and establishing a brand in advance is going to help you cut a clear professional standard. Contracting is a business that is still rather slow to catch on to digital marketing, so if you make a real effort at it now, you could end up ahead of all the competitors in your area.
If market sense is applying the knowledge of the market passively to create a great brand that brings in more customers, gregariousness is applying that same knowledge actively. Get to know your market. Know your leads and build relationships with those clients most likely to return with future work. At the same time, nurture smaller one-time leads as well so you have a diverse base of work to support yourself. Network with others in your industry so you can build a longer contact list of subcontractors, service providers, and machinery leasing companies. Be as resourceful with your people as you would with your resources.
How do you make sure the work you do is up to standard? Simply put, you set the standards. Implement the habits that lead to better projects. Constantly tackle the issue of recurring inefficiencies. Make training and on-the-job maintenance a bigger part of the business you run. Hold workers accountable, but when addressing problems, address the processes and the system, not the individual flaws of your team members. Build the foundation of the business that sets the standards and creates the guidelines for how your team works. If you don’t have those guidelines in place, then you can’t be surprised when the team doesn’t work to the standards because you haven’t set them yet. You can hold them accountable but remember that responsibility always begins with you.
Beyond these qualities, you need relevance, finally. Make sure you have a space in your market, stay competitive, and keep updating. Every industry changes and contractors that can’t change with it are left behind.