Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

ContractorCity.com

Disclaimer And/Or Legal Notices: While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the Author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. They disclaim any warranties (express or implied), merchantability or fitness for any purpose. This publication is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisher wants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varying state and/or local laws or regulations. All users are advised to retain competent counsel to determine what state and/or local laws or regulations may apply to the user's particular business. The Purchaser or Reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. The Author and Publisher do not warrant the performance or effectiveness of any sites stated in this book. All links are for informational and educational purposes only and are not warranted for content, accuracy or any other implied or explicit purpose. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, federal, state, and local, governing professional licensing, business practices, advertising, and all other aspects of doing business in the United States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the Purchaser or Reader. The Author and Publisher assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any Purchaser or Reader of these materials. Any perceived slights of specific people or organizations are unintentional. The restructuring of the content found in this publication is expressly forbidden. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any other means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, unless express consent has been given by the Author and Publisher.

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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Construction Contractor's Blueprint for Success

Construction is a competitive yet massively rewarding field. To make it in the construction business takes determination, intelligence, business savvy, technical know-how, salesmanship and oh yes, did we mention determination? You have to stay focused and keep moving forward. Contractors that stand still are contractors that go under. The construction industry has always moved in boom-bust cycles, and now is no different. During the boom cycle, you have to compete with every guy out there who thinks he can simply swing a hammer and make a fast buck. During the bust cycle, you have to keep flexible to get your share of fewer jobs until things trend up again. But boom or bust, there is always one thing that remains constant through all the ups and downs: construction happens.
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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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People always need things built, repaired, remodeled and renovated. They don’t have the technical knowledge and craftsmanship to do the job, but you do. How to take advantage of that simple fact is a big challenge. You need a blueprint for success. By staying focused and being nimble, your great customer-service savvy contractor business can become the new leader in your area. Blast the competition out of the water by following the tried and true blueprint that successful building trade pros use to grow in even the toughest environments. Talk to any successful contractor, in any building trade, and in any area of the world. They will tell you that there are a small handful of simple rules that they follow consistently to protect and grow their businesses successfully. We’ve taken those elements and principles, and distilled them into this simple walk-through. We’ve also included links to resources that will help you get the most out of your plans.

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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Here are thirteen bedrock concepts that will help you create a solid, lasting blueprint for your own successful construction contractor business:

1) Never work without a signed contract.
Never. Seriously. The days of a handshake deal are long gone. We’ve become a highly litigious society, suing each other right and left. Do NOT leave that door open. No matter how small the job, always use a solid construction or service contract. Always. Construction contracts protect both you and your customer. They make communications clear, manage expectations, and set the parameters of the job. They lay out, in clear language, what’s what. Be sure that any contract you use spells out, at a minimum: - Who the parties involved are - Exactly what the job consists of
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What materials will be used Where the job is to be performed When the job will be done (estimated timeframe) How the job will be performed

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint -

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How and when you will be paid

- How any disputes will be resolved. Always use solid, professional construction and service contracts. Always consult with your own legal advisor prior to signing any legal document for any reason. PROTECT YOURSELF.
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Construction Contracts FormPack - Instant Download Professional Contractor Forms & Contracts

2) Any and all extras must have a signed change order.
Change orders are professional forms that legally modify the parameters of an existing contract. Again, never do any work of any kind without having the work, the timing and the payment spelled out clearly. Use change orders for all modifications to an original agreement, no matter how simple or complex the change may be. This avoids misunderstandings, manages expectations and protects profit margins. Change orders also provide solid legal corroboration should a dispute arise over any aspect of the changes or how they affect the original agreement. Contractor's Guide to Change Orders • Change Order FormPack

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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3) Use accurate job cost data with good estimating practices.
Your profit margin on any job is the dollar amount difference between your costs what you charge the customer. If you misprice the true costs of your materials and labor, the difference comes out of your profit, plain and simple. Accurate and current cost data is essential, both during the bidding and contract stages, and during the job for change orders and other modifications. Good estimating practices ensure you don't accidentally undercut yourself.
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Standard Estimating Practice Markup & Profit: A Contractor's Guide

4) Use cutting-edge estimating software that integrates seamlessly with your accounting.
Make sure whatever estimating software you use to work up your bids, it can integrate seamlessly with your accounting programs, transferring your estimate data cleanly across both platforms. This way you can not only immediately turn a bid into an invoice, but also compile solid detailed sales business data that can help you make effective business choices. For example, National Estimator integrates beautifully with QuickBooks and QuickBooks for Contractors.

National Estimators and Cost Guides

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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5) Hold field start-up meetings and weekly employee training sessions.
Direct communication with your employees, crews and subs is crucial. Your team needs to be treated like one. Make sure everyone is on the same page on the day's jobs every morning to avoid delays, confusion, duplications and callbacks. Hold regular training sessions to raise employee skill levels and get them invested in company goals.

Basic Construction Management: The Superintendent's Job

6) Base all bonus systems on achieving specific goals.
Make all bonuses for everyone, from yourself on down, based on the achievement of a clearly stated goal. Not only does this motivate people to produce desired results, but every time a goal/bonus is reached, it reinforces the motivation of other employees to try harder to reach their own goal/bonuses. Accounting & Financial Management for Residential Construction • Accounting Form Pack Download

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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7) Track profits on completed jobs, not projected ones.
Too many contractors book profits on projected jobs by year's end, to their own misfortune. Do not gamble with your future - book your profits on reality, not fantasy, by tracking real amounts based on completed jobs paid in. Make decisions based on what you know is true, not on what you think may or should happen.
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Contractor's Guide to QuickBooks Pro Builder's Guide to Accounting ( with CD)

8) Consistently work targeted marketing programs.
Decide what your company is, and what it does. Then see what kind of customers actually need what you provide, and go relentlessly after them. Make marketing your services the highest priority part of your regular business practices. Marketing is how you reach new customers that want your services, and how you retain old customers and profit from them

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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again and again. Without marketing, there are no jobs, and without jobs there is no profit.

Marketing Made Easy: Principles & Procedures for the AEC Firm

9) Use a proactive customer relationship tracking system.
Don't stop feeding that job funnel! Bring in the leads and then follow them up methodically and consistently. Tracking your interactions not only allows you to mine your customer base more effectively, it allows you to see patterns over time that will help you make crucial business decisions.

Free software download: Lead Manager

10) Create and implement strategic business plans.
Working without a business plan is like walking a highwire without a net. Sadly, most small businesses do not have a working plan, and instead fly by the seat of their pants, most often right into a brick wall of reality.

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Strategic business plans are a roadmap for growth, helping you anticipate obstacles and choose the most profitable paths. Business planning is a simple and straightforward task, and one of the best things you can do for your company. Do it now.

Free software download: Biz Plan

11) Set clear goals and targets.
You will get where you're going if you know where you want to go. Ask yourself realistic questions, and make practical decisions. Use all the data you have collected about customers, jobs, costs, and profits so far. Let the patterns they hold jump out at you. How big do I want to grow this year? How much do I want to net per job this year? What steps do I need to take to make that happen? Do I need to buy equipment? Should I get a loan? What kind of advertising works best for me? How do I know that for sure? Etcetera. Consider thoughtfully your dreams and aspirations, and ground them in the reality of actions required.
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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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Setting clear goals and targets are a fundamental part of your strategic business plan and your blueprint for success.
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Production Checklist for Builders and Superintendents Free Software Download: Virtual Boss

12) Have field operational systems in place.
Use proven project management techniques to coordinate jobs, supplies and crews smoothly and efficiently. With solid field operational practices, you can minimize profit-eating delays, overruns, and callbacks. You can quickly improve efficiency and increase profitability.
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Project Management FormPack Download Construction Project Log Book

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

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13) Cultivate a strong management team and vision.
Your leadership decisions determine your everyday results. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What do you want for the future? How can you make it happen? Be bold. Be brave. Think outside your own comfort zone, try something new. Set clear measurable goals and targets. Write out exactly what you want so you and others can see it clearly. Encourage everyone in your team to do the same.
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Managing the Small Construction Business Smart Business for Contractors

Building a great business takes hard work, positive decisions and visionary determination. Have confidence in your ability to take the necessary actions, and you will not simply survive – you will thrive. Use all the resources at your disposal to increase your business knowhow and beef up your business toolbox. Here are just a few ideas and places that can help you out right now:

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Contractor’s Success Blueprint

ContractorCity.com

Small Business Administration - An amazing wealth of information for entrepreneurs and small companies, and a grossly underused resource. For example, do you know they have an area specifically for hooking up subcontractors with companies already working government contracts? Get yourself a piece of that pie! SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) - SCORE is a national association dedicated to helping small business owners form and grow their businesses. They can give you a personal business coach to help you with every step of your business. Need a mentor? Get a good one right here. Contractor City’s Builders Bookshop - Over 200 professional books, videos and software titles to help you in every aspect of your construction business. To Your Success!

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