One of the most effective means of improving your construction business is to reduce costs in order to increase your profits and stay competitive. Increasing profit is not about simply having more money in your pocket, but also a means of scaling up your business to continue growing. However, the cost of construction is becoming increasingly higher, with both larger and smaller builders feeling the strain. Focusing on cutting the fat without affecting the quality of work is possible if you know where to look.
Here are a few ways builders can reduce costs while still providing clients with the highest quality of work possible.
CHOOSE ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS WITH STABLE PRICING
A common mistake of many builders is that they tend to use the same materials they are used to without a second thought. Now, there is nothing wrong with using materials you are accustomed to, especially if you have a reasonable contract with a supplier, but consider looking into alternatives. The lumber industry is often affected by price fluctuations that only increase the cost of construction, but also can make estimates for clients inaccurate.
For example, many builders rely on OSB. It is a tried-and-true product common in structural construction, but even over the past couple of years, prices have risen. Rather than simply going along for the ride, switch to a reliably priced alternative like Thermo-Brace sheathing. Not only is Thermo-Brace cost-effective compared to OSB, but also is free from the same moisture issues and any toxic emissions.
ANALYZE AND REDUCE COSTS OF CURRENT VEHICLE USE
Regardless of what type of construction you focus on or how large your company may be, chances are you rely heavily on your work vehicles. Heavy equipment typically will only be used for actual construction work and reducing expense there is tricky or perhaps not even warranted. But as far as personal or company cars and trucks, you will probably easily find ways of reducing costs.
Firstly, consider selling any old or unused vehicles. This applies to unused heavy equipment as well. You can always rent heavy equipment, and this may prove more cost-effective than maintaining a large piece of equipment you rarely use anyways. Consider that your older pickup trucks that need regular repairs and have very low gas mileage can eat up a lot of money. Sell these efficient vehicles and invest in newer ones. You may also want to change policies and have company vehicles returned to your business every night rather than allowing employees to drive them home.
INCREASE CONSTRUCTION EFFICIENCY WITH ENGINEERED PRODUCTS
The ideal materials you should be working with are those that allow for the most efficient installation possible. This means it isn’t just fast to put into place, but also is accurate and long-lasting. The easier a material is to work with, the better the end product.
Certain processes in construction are frustrating when weak or flimsy materials are used. For example, cheaply made house wrap might save you a dollar, but dealing with rips and damage only ends up costing you more in the long run. Opting for a material like Barricade House Wrap that is not only tougher and long-lasting means the once tedious process of wrapping a building is made for simple. Other highly engineered, user-friendly products include UDL Pro, which is not only wider than most roof underlayment but also lays flat without wrinkles. Again, a change in product can means a more accurate, faster installation overall.
OUTSOURCE MANAGEMENT SERVICES WHEN POSSIBLE
If you think delegating certain tasks to a company might seem like it’s only going to be taking money out of pocket, think again. As a business owner, delegating certain tasks actually frees up your own time, allowing you to put your effort towards important things that actually require your attention. Time is money, and doing this not only frees up your time but also can save you quite a bit.
Management services and software can be invaluable for managing your crew and ensuring everyone gets to where they need to be on time. Many also wisely choose to hand over all IT tasks, from data security to website design, over to an outside source. Another excellent decision is to use a bookkeeping service. It isn’t uncommon for businesses that have switched bookkeeping services to get paid from clients faster and find other areas in their business in which they can cut back on expenses.
MAXIMIZE PRODUCTIVITY WITH VERSATILE, TRAINED EMPLOYEES
Even with the best materials and management plan, unskilled or mono-skilled employees can slow down business productivity. While there is nothing wrong with taking on a green hand and training them, consider that paying a skilled employee more does tend to pay off. When hiring crew members, they should primarily be versatile and knowledgeable enough to handle various types of tasks rather than only being able to do one thing.
Having employees that can fill multiple roles allows you to do less with more so to speak. Having a master of one skill might be worth it, depending on the type of work you tend to have. For general construction having a range of “Jack of All Trades” is often the best route to go.
Setting aside dedicated time to review your business’s income versus expense is well worth the effort when you discover ways in which you can reduce overhead costs.