Traffic in California is a problem. Even people who live out in the middle of nowhere understand this. A large population with limited housing options that are generally too expensive creates a level of sprawl with huge commutes and a heavy dependence on personal vehicles. Yet, this situation isn’t intractable. Construction business owners do have ways to cut back on consumption and traffic without having to bring all your tools and supplies on public transit. Here are a few things you can do.
Analyze Vehicle Use
In order to see how your vehicle use contributes to congestion, you first have to analyze what you’re doing. When you go to a construction site, ask these questions:
- Do you often find a lot of parking?
- How much of it are you taking up?
- Are there enough spaces for other contractors needed for the project?
Next, think about the vehicles you choose. Trucks and vans are great because you can store a decent amount of materials and equipment. How many do you really need for the job? Finally, look at the time of day you go. Construction work outdoors often follows the light, which means you may get an early start, especially in the winter. If you’re waiting until rush hour to get on the road, you may be making traffic (and resulting emissions) worse.
Carpool to Construction Sites
The simplest solution is to carpool, although this isn’t always simple as it sounds. If you have five people in your business and you take five cars to every jobsite, it stands to reason that you can do fewer. Some cities in California have implemented policies that require contractors to handle employee parking, as a way to avoid taking away a limited number of free spaces for the public. This practice aims to discourage contractors from leaving this situation to chance, and encourages carpooling. If it’s an option for your business, it is worth seeing if you can make it work.
Streamline Construction Processes
The idea of having work be relatively close to your home, or live close to where you work, sometimes feels like an artifact of the last century. When millions of people live 50-75 miles away from work and that may be true in most parts of California, sometimes the answer is to rethink your processes in general. If you live a considerable distance from most of your clients, you may want to try limiting commute time. For example, you could look for subcontractors closer to the jobsite. If they don’t have to drive as far, it will help cut down on the total traffic.
If you have a warehouse or other facility where you can work near home, you might see which processes you could bring in-house instead of onsite. Modular construction and 3D printing are making it much easier to bring a nearly-finished component to the jobsite for construction. This cuts down on the length of the project and the number of days you need to be there.
Rethink Your Business Location
Some people thrive with a long commute. They say it gives them time to think and unwind from a long day. But if you’re already working 10-12 hours a day on a project, an extra hour to and from can really cut into your leisure time. If this is starting to feel like a fact of life and you hate it, it may help to explore other regions to look for clients. Depending on where you live, it may or may not include moving your home to a different place. But you might find that there is just as much work in your field in a closer place that isn’t the center of a huge metropolis.
Traffic is a big part of living in California, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare for your business. More importantly, you can make changes to improve it. If you’re ready to discover other benefits of being a licensed contractor in California, contact CSLS today!