In a world of commoditized construction and a playing field increasingly leveled by affordable tools and tech, there’s just one aspect that truly separates you from the competition—the value you bring to the job. Here are eight ways to grow your value so you become the contractor of first choice.
Improve Your People
Did your employees learn one method of building and then stop learning? Does your margin suffer because there’s too much rework? New materials, methods, and technology are replacing the familiar. As that happens, employees must learn new skills and adopt new ways of doing their jobs. Otherwise, they get left behind, and so do you.
When you’ve carefully considered new tech before deploying it, you’ll see a boost in productivity.
When you train your people and adopt new technologies, you future-proof your business. But, there are also added benefits. Employees will feel more confident and will perform their jobs more predictably. When you’ve carefully considered new tech before deploying it, you’ll see a boost in productivity. Your people will also feel more secure being on the leading edge and getting new skills to advance in their careers.
Build Quality Teams
It takes everyone’s involvement to produce quality and then sustain it. That’s where total quality management, or more simply, a quality focus, comes in. What you call your quality effort is not as important as how you structure it. For most construction companies, a gentle start means focusing on those processes where you already have a lot of errors. Maybe that’s something to do with your specialty contractors, or maybe the tasks your own employees perform can be improved.
Build your quality teams from the people who oversee and do the work. Then, make sure they know what makes up the quality needed. Empower your teams to suggest new ways of improving quality. Impress on them to hold themselves accountable to the quality standards by tracking and reporting results.
Don’t neglect improving yourself. Just because you’ve “been doing it” for years, doesn’t mean you’re still as effective at managing as you once were. Just as you train your people to make them resilient to change, you owe it to yourself to do the same.
Carefully consider adopting technology that will improve management outcomes. Look for opportunities to speed up communications and make them more timely. Also consider options that improve project management by automating notifications, specifications, scheduling and budget tasks.
When you manage, you control. When you lead, you inspire and motivate. There is no substitute for leadership and without it your company is only running on half its cylinders. You can become a great leader by following great leadership principles.
When managing, you focus on details, but when leading, you have to get out of the weeds and see the big picture.
Set the example, know your job, see the vision, rely more on action than words, improve yourself, be ethical, be honest, be fair, show courage, focus on the big picture. When managing, you focus on details, but when leading, you have to get out of the weeds and see the big picture. These are two very different points of view, but when you simultaneously see them your decisions are honed to perfection.
Be More Consistent
The world is a dangerous place, and things change constantly. But, in a world of chaos, you can become a breath of fresh air to your clients. Consistency grants them a refuge from shocks and jolts. When your team is consistent, it becomes a beacon of stability, It’s likely to make people remember you.
They’ll remember how your estimates always hit the mark, and your schedules held true. That becomes the energy for positive word-of-mouth, the lifeblood of construction businesses.
If consistency is the cake, accuracy is the icing. One without the other feels incomplete. Worse, slight lapses in accuracy add to project delays, cost increases and rework. When was the last time you stood back and assessed your business processes for accuracy? The record of mistakes tells a story about your company’s precision. Do you see multiple mistakes in your contract negotiations? How about your customer interactions? Are there tens of miscommunications, or hundreds? Improved accuracy scales across the whole business and across multiple projects.
Be More Responsive
Every client wants you to respond quickly to their needs and concerns. Avoid making them wait. When a timely answer is impossible, show you’re working on it. You might have one of your employees get back to them, gather information and start creating an action record. Or, you might call them, explain your delay and commit to respond at a later time.
Be More Expressive
Include in bids the reasons your company is better. Talk up your value. What makes your schedules so resilient? What’s different about your responsiveness to client needs? How do you consistently maintain a stellar safety record?
However, don’t exaggerate or fall into the trap of saying untruths just to sound good. It’s doubtful yours is the number one construction company in the country. Maybe you’d like to think that, and if you can prove it, then tout it. Otherwise, stick to the facts. People are increasingly wary of false claims and they just want honesty and authenticity, not bluster.