Subcontractor Growth: Learning to Do More with Less
If you’re a subcontractor wondering, “how do I grow my construction company?” you’re certainly not alone. There’s a phase every company (even specialist subcontractors) goes through where they need to balance their capacity and capabilities with their need to grow. Add managing cash flow and finding the time to market your services to the mix, and it’s no wonder so many companies feel a little stuck.
Even if you really want to grow your business, it can be scary, and it sometimes feels like everything is a gamble. You’re not sure what you should spend on, worried about overextending yourself financially, and concerned about whether you will get enough work to keep everything going. The good news is that you can take some relatively easy steps to grow your construction company without hiring more people. Here’s what you need to know.
Embrace Technology and Automation
Growing any business has always been hard, risky, and a little bit scary. However, we’ve got an advantage that most people in the past did not: technology for subcontractors.
Where we used to have to wait for paperwork to trickle in from job sites, we can now equip our foremen with tablets and software for specialist subcontractors, so we always know what’s happening in close to real-time.
Technology for subcontractors makes it easier to estimate new work and change orders. It integrates time tracking, so you can measure productivity but also speed up payroll and wage processing. Daily productivity data is automatically tracked in your project management tools, so it’s easy to generate claims and progress billing.
Automation for subcontractors takes technology to the next level, allowing you to create automated workflows that can take care of all the time-consuming, tedious things you used to have to do manually.
Many subcontractors are hesitant to invest in technology, but this is one of the best scaling-up strategies for subcontractors. It allows smaller teams to do more in less time, and as we all know, time is money!
This kind of technology upgrade is not just for new businesses, though. In fact, some Field View customers like Pacegrade have been around for decades – and they’re one of the top specialist contractors doing architectural facades. By switching to smart technology for subcontractors, they eliminated the need for two new hires. They can do more with less, which has increased their profitability on every job.
Training and Upskilling
One of the most time-consuming and expensive things any business can do is recruit and hire new people, so it’s almost always a better idea to promote and train from within your existing team.
Training your existing staff members to take on new kinds of projects, teaching them how to do their jobs more efficiently, and even streamlining your administration processes will all help your team to get things done faster. Since improved productivity almost always equals more profits, this is one of the best ways to make more money without spending more.
Maximise Existing Resources
If you’re like most contractors, you’ve left a critical piece of equipment on a job site at least once, and by doing that, you probably delayed at least one other project. We’ve all done it, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Maximising existing resources is the very definition of doing more with less. It’s about finding better ways to track your equipment so that it’s always on the right site at the right time. It’s also about planning and scheduling work so that your crews spend as little time as possible waiting for something else to happen. It’s about identifying problems as early as possible, so you can take steps to avoid them.
Agile project management for subcontractors is probably 90% communication and information. When you know what’s going on on every job site every day, you have the information you need to adjust your plans where necessary.
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine when you’re running a construction business, but if you're wanting to grow as a specialist subcontractor, that’s the last thing you want to do.
Scaling up for subcontractors isn’t about making massive capital investments and hoping for the best. It’s about learning to be more efficient, accurate, and productive. It’s about getting things done faster and with less waste.
Not only do these kinds of changes directly improve your profits, but they will also help you to build a reputation as the top specialist contractor in your field, and that will bring in more business.
You don’t have to burn the midnight oil to achieve these things. In fact, when you plan and execute technology-based growth strategies, you should be able to cut the hours you spend in the office too. But you do need to embrace innovation and change.
Look for tools and technology that allow you to do things faster. Find solutions that are accessible anywhere, so you can stay connected to your business no matter where you are. Stay up to date with new materials and construction methods in your industry.
Early adopters in any industry tend to be the ones that grow their businesses faster, and they usually have to invest less money to do it. So don’t be afraid to be the first to try something new. It may just be the secret to getting your business where you want it to be.