Category Archives: Financial Systems

Win More Contacts At Your Price!

Every construction company business owner wants to charge a higher price for their services and products. And especially today, I’m sure you are looking for the magic ingredient that will give you more jobs at your price. But why should customers award your company a contract? In this tough economy there are less jobs to bid and more competition. Many of your competitors are pricing jobs at prices lower than their costs. They are trying to keep their doors open and crews busy hoping something good happens soon. Ask yourself this question:

Why should customers award your company contracts at your price or higher than your competitors?

It is what it is!
Perhaps you are starting to realize that it’s not what it was. The new economic reality is here to stay for at least 3 to 5 years. If it hasn’t hit you yet, get ready. Just a few years ago you could do a pretty good job and get lots of work from your customers. But today, your old sales strategies won’t get you enough work to stay profitable. It takes more than doing a good job, producing quality work, and bidding projects per plans and specifications to win contracts. Now, you must do more and offer something different than your competitors to win contracts. You need to renovate, innovate, change, improve, and upgrade your estimating systems, bidding strategies, proposal format, presentation methods, customer contact approach, marketing plan, and sales tactics to be successful today.

I started my construction company in 1977. At that time there was not a lot of competition and getting work was relatively easy. Through my business contacts, I could find a nice job to bid, call the customer, meet them, get a set of plans to bid, do the take-off, estimate the job, and then turn in my proposal with a reasonable mark-up on it. A few days later I would call to see if I could meet with the customer to review our bid. At the meeting we would negotiate the terms, inclusions, exclusions, and agree on a final price. Simple. 

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The 8 Traits Of Great Companies! Traits 5 through 8

Competition | Pro-active Sales | Operational Systems | Investments
Part 3

Trait #5 – Set your company apart from your competition!
When I drive down the freeway and see contractors’ trucks, they often have signs on like: “Joe’s Electric – Commercial, Industrial & Residential.” I chuckle and ask myself: “What do they excel at, what kind of jobs are they the expert in, and why should I hire them?” Based on my experience working with tens of thousands of contractors, my best guess is they chase any kind of work they can get and don’t make a lot of money doing it.

Are you in the “Yes” Business taking any kind of job or project thrown your way? Experience shows that companies who specialize in a specific type of project or service do better work, are more competitive, have more loyal customers, and make a lot more money than their “jack of all trades” competitors. Perceived experts are the first called when a customer needs a professional to complete a tough or special project. Experts get the first chance to propose on jobs which require complex engineering or technical knowledge.

To set your company apart from your competition and get hired at higher prices, you must be the perceived expert in your market and offer more than your competitors. According to a survey from the Society of Marketing Professional Services (a national association of construction sales and marketing professionals), the top two reasons construction companies don’t get awarded projects are 1) Their inability to market and properly present the differences between themselves and their competition, and 2) Their lack of expertise in a particular project or service niche. When you continue to be and do everything for everyone, you won’t have enough time to satisfy your customers and you can’t make enough money for all the different types of work you attempt to complete. Continue reading

The Sad Truth About Small Business Owners

Talk to 95 out of every 100 small business owners with less than 100 employees and follow their progress for 10 to 20 years. You will hear the same sad story repeated over and over. They work too hard for the effort and risk they take. They don’t make any real money or have enough left over to invest. They can’t stop working or take much time off to do what they want. They can’t find any good help. They sell low prices to get most of their customers and revenue. They’re out of control and spend too much time putting out fires. They wish they could start saving some money and can’t figure out how to make their business better.Only 5% of small business owners will ever become wealthy or financially secure.

Why? 95% don’t implement the 8 key success factors that guarantee you can get your business to work for you:

1. Have a Passionate Vision
2. Written Clear Targets & Goals
3. Structured Organization
4. Accountable Responsible Management Team
5. Operational Systems Run the Business
6. Hit the Numbers & Make A Profit
7. Unique Delivery System
8. Pro-Active Sales & Marketing
9. Seek Wealth Building Opportunities

What key are you missing in order to help your business reach it’s full potential?

Change = Growth = Improvement!

Remember when you learned something new like ride a bike or learn the computer? It was hard and caused you some pain. But with training and diligence, you succeeded. And now these tasks are like second nature and easy. Change is good and allows for growth and improvement. Without change, nothing new happens, you stay put, and go backwards.

Do you have to change? The old way still works, doesn’t it? YES you have to change! I know you don’t like to change. You want the economy to go back to its’ old steady ways. But I’m sure your goal is not to strive for stability. Today, change is the norm. Change is not something that happens to you. Change is what you must do to continue to make a profit, grow your business, and expand your customer base.

In the old days, you only had to make one or two changes every few years. Like buying a new adding machine, upgrading your typewriter to an electric model, buying a fax machine, changing from a yellow pad and pencil to a computer spreadsheet, changing from a dot matrix to laser printer, moving from Lotus 123 to Excel, buying a new pickup truck, adding a laser screed to your concrete tools, or attempting to use email to communicate.

As a part of your ongoing business management role, what do you do to plan for change, make change happen, and force change to happen? The companies who wait for something to happen die off. Look at Sears. The leaders never thought their business model would ever need to change. They hoped Wal-Mart would never catch on. To date, they still struggle to get back the market share and customers they lost while waiting and doing nothing new or different. How would you have liked to be a steel golf spike manufacturer hoping soft-spikes didn’t sell? You would now be broke and without a company.

The second part of changing how you do business is to have a pro-active plan to stay ahead of your competition and abandon your old ways of doing business. Ask yourself: “What leadership decisions should you make, but you won’t? Why not? What are you waiting for?” You have some tough calls you need to make right now:

– Do you have a customer you need to fire?
– Where are you wasting money?
– How can you be more efficient?
– What improvements are needed with your staff?
– Is there a faster way to complete your projects?
– What can you delegate or let go of?
– What should you stop doing?
– What should you start doing differently?
– What areas should you improve now?

– customers -personnel
– mgmt. team -training
– qty workmanship -service
– scheduling -sales & marketing
– estimating -technology
– subcontractors -suppliers
– productivity -financial systems
– ops systems -field systems
– project mgmt. -equipment
– banking -bonding
– insurance -your paycheck