Monthly Archives: May 2020

Is Now the Time for Your Contracting Business to Look for a Better Workspace?

Having a lot more time to think about your workflow outside of the jobsite might make you realize that your workspace isn’t working. And even if it is, it may be a good opportunity to revisit what you’re getting from the space, and what you could have instead. A sudden vacation of a lot of commercial spaces due to COVID-19 has changed the dynamic. It’s also changed the way you think about doing construction, on and offsite. These five aspects can help you determine if you should stay where you are, or consider moving to something different.

Your Workspace Needs Have Changed
It would be hard to find some aspect of your workflow that wasn’t changed by COVID-19, but your workspace may be the biggest. If you were accustomed to doing most of your work onsite and relying on a separate workspace for administrative tasks, you may find that this no longer suits your work dynamic. Many companies are shifting to offsite construction, mostly through the use of modular building practices. If you have discovered that you need much more space than you had before, or much less, it may be time to think about moving.

You’re Overpaying on Your Rental
A sudden decrease in demand for workspaces has led to a drop in prices in some areas. If you are overpaying on the rent you pay for your office or shop, you may be able to negotiate a better deal right now. Do some research in your area to see how often owners raise rates, and how much. It also may be practical to take this information to the owner or property manager of your current space, in the hopes of getting a discount on your next renewal. Keep in mind that if you have an active lease that’s not on a month-to-month schedule, you may have to pay hefty fees to break it early. It may or may not be worth it, so be sure to do the math before you pull the plug.

You’re Barely Making Ends Meet
Getting a big discount on rent for a workspace can be a boon, but you’ll pay for it at first. Rentals usually involve deposits and possibly the first and last month’s rent required in advance. While this might not be a big deal for an established business with a lot of assets, not everyone is feeling that kind of stability right now. In some cases, trying to cut your future expenses may have the potential to sink your business in the present. If your cash flow is running too close to empty, you may be better off waiting.

Pandemic Closures Limit Your Access
Many office complexes and coworking spaces closed during the pandemic, which made it far more difficult for tenants to get in and use the space. And while some landlords compensated by discounting or even canceling the rent, it was hardly the norm. If you were one of the lucky ones who enjoyed unimpeded access to one of these spaces, that stroke of fortune might serve you well in the future if closures happen again. On the other hand, if you were unable to retrieve your equipment or complete work offsite because your workspace was closed, you may need to consider alternatives.

You’re Not Sure What You Need
It’s hard to predict where construction will be in six months, much less in a year or two. As such, it is perfectly fine not to be certain what you need right now or going forward. This is a good indicator that you should stay put. If you can, give yourself the time to think. Revisit the subject in a month, when you have more information.

Finding a great workspace may be easier in the next few months than it will be next year or the year after. If your current situation just isn’t working, your contracting business may thrive better somewhere else. For more information about running a modern business as a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

5 Ways the Post COVID-19 Construction World Will Change Your Contracting Business

If you look back at the way you thought the year would go in January, it might be hard to imagine a different conclusion. So much has changed in the past few months that the whole world seems almost unrecognizable. Yet, work will continue, and over time, you’ll find ways to get back to the jobsite. Here are five things you can expect will be significantly different, so that your contracting business will be better prepared.

Long-Term Changes in Demand for Projects
Industry experts have wondered regularly over the last couple of years when the backlog of construction projects would finally ebb. While it seems that 2020 has tipped the scale as they predicted, most people did not anticipate the way the demand for projects would change. In most instances, the predictions included a general decrease in demand for all projects, not a sharp decline in certain areas.

In this case, demand for commercial construction, specifically hotels, hospitality and retail spaces, has significantly dropped. Large hospitality industry stakeholders like Airbnb have seen a huge decline in demand and revenue. This means that while construction may see an increase in certain kinds of commercial and residential projects, there will probably be a notable decrease in demand for projects like these.

Adaptation to Remote Work and Project Management
Although it isn’t usually possible for construction-related businesses to do all of their work offsite, you’ll probably observe an increasing reliance on remote work. This may also be a good time to re-examine your project management practices. If you’re in the habit of keeping an eye on people as they work, this will probably have to change. Instead, you may find more opportunities to give your employees greater freedoms to control their own productivity. You may also discover developments to the modular construction segment of the industry. In fact, that may offer new career fields or an expansion of existing ones.

Heavier Reliance on Technology
Just like you can plan to spend more time off the site going forward, you can expect to use more online or virtual tools to collaborate and communicate. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. Using tools to get certain aspects of the job done more quickly increases your efficiency and may also improve your income. However, not everybody in the industry is excited to grab the latest app or device. This means that you may need to do more work to persuade subcontractors, clients and employees to get on board.

Increasing Project Delivery Times
Ultimately, one of the biggest hurdles that contracting business owners and clients alike will have to accept is that projects will simply take longer. The need to invest more time into safety, coupled with the importance of reducing the number of people on the site at any one time, makes it harder to accomplish more in one day. You may be able to minimize the worst of it by scheduling separate shifts. This may not be possible for all projects, or for all regions of the state at any time of year. If you want to reduce overrun in your project timelines, you will need to add in these factors and adjust your commitments as needed.

Greater Attention to Site Cleanup and Sanitation
Dropping work equipment and leaving debris at the jobsite was neither a clean nor sanitary practice. But now more than ever, people are putting their own lives at risk if they fail to clean up after themselves and ensure a sanitary workspace. The level of risk in any given area is going to depend on the state of the virus at the time. However, contracting businesses should prepare to clean and sanitize equipment and protective gear after each use. They will probably also need to provide PPE like masks and gloves, and additional hand-washing or sanitizing facilities.

COVID-19 has changed the world, and in many cases, your contracting business. The way you move forward helps determine your future. To start on your career path, visit CSLS today!

Is Now a Good Time to Create a Partnership for Your Contracting Business?

If your goal has always been to become an independent contractor, the independent part might be one of the most appealing aspects. You get to set your own hours and run your business in your own way. In an economic downturn where the whole industry has been turned on its head, you may need to collaborate. Here are five factors that can help you decide if forming a partnership would be a better path forward.

Related Fields
In order to form a partnership, you need to have someone whose skills and services relate closely to yours. If you’re finding that there are too many contractors and not enough jobs in your own field, you may want to find someone whose services and products are in an adjacent field. For example, if you find that you’re hiring the same subcontractor every single time you have a project, this might be an indicator that you have two businesses that could work well together. Be wary of duplicating your own skills, though. Unless you have more work than you can handle, doubling the paycheck obligations may not be enough.

Working Relationships
As a general rule, business partners get together as a result of a long-term professional relationship or other type of relationship. This means that you have to have somebody in mind before you can form a partnership. Advertising that you’re looking for a partner may take a lot longer, and it would be harder to tell if the people who are interested would make a good candidate to partner in your business. Think about the people that you have a good working relationship with, who aren’t employees. If you don’t know of anyone who meets this requirement, it might be time to beef up your networking skills.

Financial Stability
In the middle of an economic downturn, no one may truly believe that they are financially stable. But the last thing that you want when you start a partnership is for one person to be on great financial footing while the other is inches from disaster. This kind of imbalance can create a lot of conflict in the partnership, that may ultimately cause it to fail. Make sure that you are forming a partnership so that you can both help each other, instead of one person providing financial support to keep the other one going. A slight imbalance is manageable. But unless you have so much work and stable funding guarantees, you’re probably going to struggle to support two on the money that used to support one.

Balance of Skills and Services
Similarly, you want to confirm that both professionals have at least a moderate wealth of skills and services that they can provide. This depends greatly on the field you’re working in, and the nature of the industry at large. But typically, you both should have a variety of advantages that you can bring to the table. Don’t forget soft skills and other needs for business administration like sales and marketing. Ensuring that you can split tasks in a way that feels even to both of you will help to guarantee that everyone remains satisfied with the partnership going forward.

Collaboration
Ultimately, not everyone is cut out to be in a partnership. Sometimes, you can end up in a partnership with someone that is simply unsuited to work with you or vice versa. In other cases, you are just better off working by yourself. Think about the way you collaborate. If you can set aside your individual ambitions and work together to reach a consensus almost all of the time, then you will have a much higher chance of a successful partnership. By comparison, if you have a difficult time conceding the point to others, that may be a sign that you will have a lot of conflict in a partnership.

Forming a partnership is one way to run a contracting business, but you need to be sure you can do it right. To start on your career path in construction, contact CSLS today!

What Does Contractor Confidence Mean for Your Contracting Business?

When you read about consumer or business confidence, it feels like it could mean a variety of things. What does it mean to be confident in a particular aspect of the economy? How does this data change the way that you make decisions for your contracting business? And what if people turn out to be wrong? With this information, you’ll understand what confidence means in finance and how it may affect your contracting business.

What Is Confidence?
If confidence feels like a somewhat nebulous standard of measurement, that’s because it is. Confidence is the way that people feel about themselves or some aspect of their world. It is not always an indicator of the way things actually are. However, finance experts use confidence as a way of determining what may happen in the future. People make decisions based on the confidence they have in certain aspects of the economy. For example, contractors look at their existing and expected sales and profit margins as a way of determining how confident they are in their own fields for the next several months or longer. It’s not a certain way of predicting the future, but it helps complete a more robust picture.

What’s the Difference Between Consumer, Investor and Contractor Confidence?
Now that you have a general idea of what contractor confidence means, you should know that there are indexes meant to measure confidence in other aspects of the economy. For example, you may read about increases in investor confidence in a thriving stock market, or decreases in consumer confidence based on rising housing prices. While you must keep in mind that confidence is highly subjective and heavily dependent on specific measurements, it can still give you an idea of what people plan to do with their own money. Specifically, if confidence in the economy starts to drop, you’ll notice that people will become more reserved in the types of financial risks they are willing to take.

How Does Confidence Affect Your Business Right Now?
At the moment, contractors are reporting lower levels of confidence in their ability to continue to grow sales and keep their profit margins high for the near future. As a business owner, you can imagine what those kinds of concerns may do for the way that you run your business. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get enough sales this year, you might limit your overhead as much as you can. You may decide against hiring more workers, and if the trend continues, you may have to consider laying people off. This can affect the way that your business runs. That might mean that you have a simpler workflow, or it could mean that you have fewer services you can offer and more limited selection of projects.

How Can Low Contractor Confidence Change the Construction Industry?
Confidence in one aspect of the economy can change on a dime, but it depends heavily on the pivot point. Once people are worried about the future of their contracting businesses, they may make decisions that affect their ability to continue the business long-term. If these changes happen at the same time as lenders tighten loan requirements, or at the same time that a lot of other industries are noticing a drop in sales, there may be broader effects. Ultimately, part of rebuilding the economy after an economic downturn or recession lies in establishing confidence once again. After the last recession, it took a few years before the construction industry was able to run at levels even close to where they were before the housing crisis.

Contractor confidence may not mean a lot to you yet, but it poses serious long-term effects to your contracting business success. For more information about starting on a construction career path, visit CSLS today!

 

How to Measure Your Contracting Business Productivity While Working Off the Jobsite

When the world is operating as usual, you probably spend most of your time on the jobsite. There, it’s easy to set goals and determine if you’ve achieved them. If you’re working from home or trying to manage an ad-hoc workspace, productivity takes on a whole new meaning. Here are some ways you can evaluate your work and set goals that are easier to measure and reach in a different working environment.

Communicate with Employees and Subcontractors
From the very beginning, you should communicate with your employees and subcontractors to get a sense for what they are able to do off the site. At present, lots of people are dealing with interruptions to their time due to trying to work with children or other family members at home. This makes it harder for people to focus, and can make it even more difficult for someone who needs to work on a dangerous task. Although productivity is important, it is also vital to start with goals that people can reasonably achieve.

Re-Evaluate Project Risks
If you are like many business owners, you conduct at least a basic risk management analysis for each project that you do. Some projects that you formulated prior to shelter-in-place orders may need to be re-evaluated. Specifically, you may want to look at timelines, budgetary concerns, and alternatives for components that you planned to assemble or build onsite. This will help you to figure out where you need to put most of your resources, and which areas are best for getting work done off-site.

Set Goals Based on Current Expectations
Businesses in a lot of industries will be finding their way to a new normal over the course of the next year. You can do the same by recognizing that the standards you set for productivity last year probably won’t work this year. Take a look at your current situation, including limits on where you can work and with how many people. Build in some flexibility if you can, to take advantage of changes in restrictions as they happen. Ultimately, be sure to keep your goals realistic not just for your employees, but for you as well. It serves no one if you are constantly setting standards for yourself and others that you simply cannot meet.

Aim for Self-Management
In a new, post COVID-19 world, your management practices will also need to change. If your standard so far has been to keep a close eye on everybody working under you, now is a good time to rethink that. People don’t tend to be more productive if they have the sense that a supervisor is watching them constantly. Micromanaging bosses in all sorts of industries are starting to find out what a productivity-killer this can be. Let this be an opportunity for you to invest in employees and subcontractors you can trust. That way, you can let them do their work and focus their time on productive activities, instead of responding to your monitoring system.

Use Tools to Collaborate
Since people working offsite and individually may keep different hours, being able to standardize your expectations and make them accessible to everyone is crucial. If you haven’t already started using online collaboration tools that allow everyone to look at goals for the project and the individual day, this is your opportunity to start. Collaboration is likely going to look very different for the construction industry in the next few years. Learning how to share visual updates and keep everyone on the same page can make it easier for you to measure progress and ensure that the workflow continues forward.

When you run a contracting business, productivity isn’t just a buzzword. Finding way to stay on top of it during a crisis can make the difference between success and failure. To get started, visit CSLS today!

Public vs. Private: Where Your Contracting Business Can Look for Projects in 2020

It looks like the big picture for construction is changing fast in 2020. What you might have expected to happen at the beginning of the year is probably significantly different from the industry now. There are still a lot of options for contracting businesses, but you’ll need to go in the right direction. Here’s how to decide if public or privately-funded projects are the way to go.

Stability
When private investors lose confidence in the construction industry, they stop investing in projects. If the financial industry is worried that contractors and investors are about to default on their loans, they may tighten their lending standards. This makes funding in the private sector harder to get. By comparison, funding for public sector projects tends to be more stable. California still has a lot of development projects in the works, and the funding for it probably won’t dry up overnight. Just keep in mind that the funding intervals may take longer, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get more if you run out unexpectedly.

Variability
Some business owners prefer the ability to pick and choose who they work with and which kinds of projects are best for their bottom line. If you are dying to break into a niche service that may not necessarily have a lot of demand, the private sector is probably your best bet. This may not be the safest financial approach at the moment, but it does give you more variability. On the other hand, if you like the comfort of the familiar, public sector projects tend to be larger and more predictable in general.

Timelines
Do you like to pick a project to work on next week, with the idea that you can finish it quickly and move on? Or, do you prefer to plan out your projects as far in advance as possible, giving you greater assurance of income for the long term? The answer to these questions can help you decide. Public works projects often run on much longer timelines, in part because there is more bureaucracy to get through. This means that if you’re in a hurry to start the project and finish it so you can get paid, private projects are probably better for you. But if you are willing to wait a few months before you begin, public projects may make it easier for you to book your schedule a few months in advance.

Bureaucracy
When they say that public sector projects maintain a lot of paperwork, they’re not joking. Although you should plan to carefully review any documentation that you receive for private or public projects, work funded by the government generally carries an extra load. You must be ready to invest the time it takes to understand what you need and how to meet those standards for every project. This is why some experts say that it is often more difficult to break into public projects after years of working with private companies than it is to go in the other direction. It’s still a choice you can make, you just have to be ready to do the homework.

Flexibility
When you’re first starting your contracting business, you may have no idea which direction is best for you. And as the industry changes throughout 2020 and for the next couple of years, you might want flexibility more than you need to make a single firm decision. If you have the ability, it may make sense to try working with both private and public projects. This will give you experience and let you determine which one is already working out better for your business. That should make the path forward much clearer, with a higher likelihood of success.

When you run a contracting business, you’ll have options to work in the public or private sector. The choice you make this year may affect your success for years to come. To learn more about creating a viable contracting business, visit CSLS today!

How to Minimize Downtime on Your Contracting Business Equipment

Once you have a thriving contracting business, you’ll probably have a set of equipment that you use all the time, with other pieces that you don’t need quite as much. Since your financial success depends on you being able to maximize efficiency, you want to minimize downtime for all your equipment. Consider adding these practices to make sure you’re getting the most output from your assets.

Plan Out Equipment Use
If you don’t have a lot of equipment, you might wonder why you even need to plan it out. You have a job, you use the equipment, and then you put it back. However, failing to plan out when you need to use multiple pieces of equipment can make it harder to ensure that every tool is available when you need it. Additionally, creating a plan helps you to establish how much you are using the equipment, as well as how often. This will make it easier to determine the level of maintenance and repair that you may need to perform on each piece.

Cycle Through Multiples
If you have more than one of the same kind of tool, you may notice that you use one of them much more often. While this can be an indicator that one of them works better than the other, it may also be a simple factor of habit. The tool that’s easiest to reach is probably the one you’ll use the most. In this case, it makes sense to plan to cycle through your use of multiple pieces of the same equipment. This ensures an even wear pattern, so that one is less likely to break or wear out while the other one sits virtually untouched.

Set Maintenance Schedules Wisely
All pieces of equipment will need maintenance on some schedule. Some, especially those that sustain a lot of wear or are older, will need maintenance more frequently. The last thing that you want is to take on a project with a tight turnaround only to realize that you’ll have to delay maintenance in order to make it work. This puts added stress on the equipment and increases the likelihood of downtime. Instead, pay attention to the condition of your equipment. If it needs maintenance, plan out the most convenient time to get it done.

Don’t Skimp on Upkeep
It’s tempting to think that the best way to minimize downtime on equipment is to use it constantly. But keep in mind that the more pressure you put on a tool without tending to it, the more likely it is to break down. Instead, aim for maintenance to be a short break between long periods of productive use.

This is true for equipment that you use every day as well as equipment that you only use on occasion. Tools and vehicles can sustain a failure if they aren’t used often enough. In some cases, they break down because you didn’t see a repair need before setting it aside for several weeks. Even if it appeared to be in great condition the last time you used it, you still need to inspect it periodically and perform upkeep as needed.

Evaluate Use Data
Once you have a reasonable schedule to increase use time and minimize downtime, you’ll want to build points into the schedule to evaluate your use. Your project needs may vary depending on the week or month, but they may also change as your business becomes more established. Taking time to look at how you use equipment compared to how you used it in the past will help you determine if you need to change your maintenance schedules, or even consider a different management process for your equipment.

Equipment efficiency lies in how you use it, as well as how you manage it. Understanding how to do both helps you keep your contracting business in great condition. To begin, visit CSLS today!

5 Tips to Take Criticism and Improve Your Contracting Business

Although it may feel awful to hear things about you or your business that you don’t like, it’s very important for your long-term success. There will be points in time when clients or other contractors give you constructive feedback that is designed to help you in the future. Whether you can turn it into an improvement is up to you. Here are five things you can do.

  1. Listen Closely
    A lot of people participate in a conversation mostly for the things they have to say, not for the things they have to hear. If a client or a fellow contractor wants to give you some timely criticism, you should listen to all of it. It’s hard to sit quietly and not interrupt someone who is telling you something that you didn’t do particularly well. But if you can get through this part, you’re more likely to have a positive result. If nothing, it lets you receive the information without the burden of feeling like you need to craft a response off-the-cuff.
  1. Avoid Arguing
    Nobody is excited to learn what they may have done wrong on a project. But as tempting as it might be to correct what you see as someone’s misinterpretation of your work or processes, it’s better if you keep it to yourself. It is entirely possible that someone is criticizing you for something that is a matter of opinion or even inaccurate. But by arguing with them, all you do is make it into a bigger issue. In most cases, what people are looking for when they give you feedback is validation that you have heard it. Arguing with them about the validity of their claims does not meet that condition.
  1. Get Clarification
    Once you have allowed someone to finish what they have to say, you may realize that their feedback is unclear. Sometimes, people are so worried about causing a conflict that they may give criticism that is so vague that you can’t actually do anything with it. If you have the opportunity and you feel like you can do it without arguing with them, ask for clarification on one or two specific points. Ask questions like:
  • Did you notice this problem frequently or on occasion?
  • Can you relate this to a specific instance?
  • Could you tell me more about what you mean?

It’s crucial not to use these questions to lead the person into changing their claims. Your goal here should only be to round out your understanding of the way that they see the problem.

  1. Ask for Input
    When you take constructive criticism, it is important to keep in mind that there are usually multiple right ways of doing something. This means that a client or colleague might perceive that you have done something wrong, when you simply have done it differently than they prefer. However, you should also remember that this does not make them wrong, either. Ask them for input on a different approach that would have avoided the issue in the first place. This gives you a number of options that you can choose to employ when you encounter a similar situation next time.
  1. Evaluate Changes After the Conversation
    Once you have finished the conversation, it’s useful to give yourself a little time to relax over it before you evaluate any big changes you may want to make. In some cases, a mistake was so obvious that you already know exactly what you should do differently. In other cases, where there are multiple right answers, you may need to do some digging. This is a good opportunity two invest some time researching and consulting with people in your field. You may hear similar stories with good solutions, or come away with better insight into improvements you can make.

Running your own business involves learning from your mistakes, sometimes in a very direct way. By opening your mind to the benefits of constructive criticism, you can improve your contracting business and make the next project work better. For more information about starting a career as a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

How to Get the Most from Your Contracting Business Workspace

If you’re like a lot of contractors right now, you’re trying to figure out ways to make the best of a workspace that’s not the jobsite. But even when you have more freedom to move around, you still need to think about using space efficiently. Here are a few ways you can evaluate your workspace and make it more productive.

Create Stations
An inefficient workspace is going to cost you hours in wasted time per week. To cut down on time spent moving from one side of the workspace to the other, create a set of stations for each task. You may not have a large warehouse where every project has its own spot. Still, taking the opportunity to organize your equipment based on the task makes it easier to get started, do the work and finish up for the day. Don’t forget to include a station for handling mail, invoicing and a place to keep your laptop and printer.

Plan Layout by Project
Having a set series of stations makes sense if you do very similar types of projects over and over again. If the services you offer are quite varied, you may need to take a flexible approach to structuring your workspace. In this case, you might want to plan the layout of the work area based on the needs of the particular project. Draw out a rough layout for each so you can repeat it later. If you are running more than one at the same time, you may have to split it in half or thirds. You’ll want to use organizational tools that are easy to move around, so that you can adjust it on the fly to create more space or design a different set of workstations.

Consider Adjustable Carts
In the middle of a crisis when most people are trying to maximize their home workspaces, you may not have a lot of room to move. If you are trying to do modular construction in a small workspace or garage, you may not have the ability to move from one station to another. In this instance, you want to make the stations come to you. Portable carts come in a variety of sizes, with the ability to customize them to hold tools and materials. Leaving room on one wall for a number of carts allows you to quickly pull one in for use, and then put it back when you’re ready to grab another one.

Organize Inventory Based on Use
If you’re like a lot of people, you organize inventory and equipment based on the way you think you should, not necessarily the way that you actually use it. For example, it may seem to make sense to keep all of your supplies in one place. But if you find yourself having to walk away from the workspace constantly to grab your supplies, you’ll waste time with this organizational setup. Instead, think about organizing your inventory and supplies based on the project. It may increase the time that you spend counting what you have left, but you’ll more than make up for it by having everything you need right where you need it.

Reduce Excess Clutter
In a small workspace, there is simply no replacement for a regular clutter management strategy. If you’re the type of person who prefers to clean up after you’re done with the project, this can lead to a lot of debris and waste in the corners. Over time, this can minimize the size of your workspace and increase the likelihood of injury. The best solution is to find organizational tools for papers that you need, and adequately-sized waste receptacles for packaging and buy products that you want to recycle or throw away. Keeping excess away from your workspace also minimizes visual clutter, which can make it easier for you to get work done.

Working from home or in another small space requires you to maximize efficiency so you can keep completing projects. These tips smooth out the rough edges. To get started building a great career in construction, contact CSLS today!

5 Ways to Build Flexibility into Your Contracting Business Income During a Crisis

When you’re trying to establish or run a business in the middle of a crisis, you’ll hear a lot about protecting cash flow. In truth, cash flow is important, but flexibility is too. You want the ability to make decisions just in time, so you have the benefit of as many facts as possible. Here are five things to do to protect your business’s income during a crisis.

Stay Put
If you’re living or working in an area where the cost of living is high, it might seem to make sense to move somewhere that is cheaper. After all, housing and workspace rentals can be some of the highest single expenses for independent contractors. However, by moving, you’re cutting off at least part of your income and adding a ton of immediate expenses to the list. Moving to a smaller or cheaper area also limits the number of clients to replace your income. If it is possible for you to remain where you are and stay current on your bills, that’s probably the easiest way to keep more of your liquid assets.

Avoid Diving Into Expensive Markets and Luxury Services
If you were planning to move to an area that’s more expensive or start offering high-end services, it might be a good time to rethink these measures. While a lot of people will move from a lower cost-of-living area to a higher one because there are more jobs there, this doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to land them. During a crisis, when there are many more contractors seeking work than clients creating projects, it’s best to stick with the essentials. And in most cases, that involves sticking with the area you know and the work you can do with the least amount of complication.

Consider Multiple Viable Income Streams
When the immediate future feels highly variable, it is hard to tell how work is going to pan out in three months, six months or a year. If you’re only offering one service and it’s not in demand, or you suddenly have tons of other contractors to compete with for a limited set of jobs, it might be time to branch out. An economic downturn isn’t a good situation to leap into a market in which you have limited experience or ability. However, if you have services that you know how to do and you’ve already got the skills and credibility, it may not be difficult to add them to your business. Keep an eye on overhead and the supply chain, as those might have changed since you did these services before.

Keep Funds in Multiple Places
As a contractor, most of your assets are probably related to equipment and inventory. When you’re worried about future income and cash flow, you want to keep an eye on where you’re putting your money right now. Sure, you need to upgrade equipment so you can keep working on projects. Switching to rentals, minimizing your stock of inventory, or repairing equipment that you already own outright can help to keep your assets as liquid as possible.

Implement Practices to Maintain a Steady Income
Crises that trigger large-scale economic problems often bring out the scavengers, and you don’t want to get caught in a bad arrangement. It’s tempting to relax your payment intervals in the hopes that you’ll land more clients that way. And while giving clients all the time they need to make a payment is more likely to appeal to clients, you’re not always securing the right kinds of clients. Someone who is trying to take advantage of your worry to get a lax payment standard is probably going to make you fight for every dime. Following your original billing practices is the best way to ensure that the money keeps coming in.

Ensuring flexibility for your business doesn’t mean that you have to be flexible in your business decisions. In fact, it might mean that you’re less flexible than you were before, so that you protect your ability to make quick decisions later on. For more information on building a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!