Monthly Archives: December 2020

Types of PPE Your Contracting Business May Need

Like some industries, construction has a tendency to put people at risk for illness or injury. This is why so many tasks require personal protective equipment (PPE). There are many types of PPE you may need, depending on your field and the kind of work you do. Here’s what to expect from headgear, masks, gloves, boots and more.

Masks
The recent pandemic has made masks a topic of national attention. The right kind of mask for the construction job depends on what you’re trying to prevent. In the normal case, you’re looking to minimize what you inhale. Masks that are designed for disease prevention filter what you breathe out as well as what you breathe in. For most jobs, using a standard N95 mask may be sufficient. For jobs involving hazardous chemicals or inhalants, you may need a respirator with a filtration device. Face shields can also minimize your exposure, but unless they provide a tight seal around your head, they’re usually meant to be used along with masks and protective eyewear.

Eyewear
The type of protective eyewear that you should use depends on the task at hand. For example, someone who is simply trying to avoid a minimal amount of dust in the air may be able to get away with a basic pair of protective glasses. People who are working with hazardous materials may need to use goggles that surround their eyes and create a tight seal to completely prevent any contamination. Working outside during daylight hours may require you to use tinted eyewear to minimize sunburns and increase visibility. If you’re working with equipment like welding, you might need to wear a specialized protective helmet or shield with a certain type of tinted glass.

Footwear
For most jobs in construction, you need footwear that covers the entire foot and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. As a general rule, you may also want to purchase boots with ankle support and a slip-resistant sole. This helps you to avoid falls, particularly if you are working above the ground in an exposed area. For use with certain types of tools, you may consider boots with a puncture-resistant upper. This can prevent you from hitting yourself in the foot with a nail, or puncturing your foot by stepping on something sharp.

Body Protection
Although many forms of PPE focus on protecting your eyes and nose, there are a variety of equipment choices you may want to make as well. For example, you may want to invest in:

  • Protective, durable outerwear that covers the body and can go over your regular clothing
  • Gloves that protect your hands from freezing, burning or cuts, depending on the task
  • Hard hats that minimize the risk of injury from falls or from falling debris
  • Hearing protection when you are working with or nearby equipment that causes loud noises

These tools are highly specific to the job at hand. You may need some or all of them.

Fall Protection
In most cases, your protection against falls comes from the layout of your working space and additional equipment installed. This means that you should look for things like guard rails and safety nets if you’re going to be working in an exposed area above ground. Otherwise, there are systems that you can use to minimize your risk. For example, you may wear a safety harness connected to a cable that will prevent you from hitting the ground if you fall. You may also wear a monitoring device that can alert you or someone else that you may be about to fall.

In an industry like construction where you work on your feet and spend time with heavy equipment, the right kind of PPE is key. So is a thorough grounding in your field. For more information, contact CSLS today!

How to Know You’re Ready to Change Careers

There comes a point in time when many people realize that they need to change careers. You might have a variety of reasons, like an inability to move forward, not enough income or simply getting bored. Changing jobs to a whole new industry is a big leap, so you want to be sure that you’re ready. Here are a few ways you can tell it’s time.

You Need More Income
In California, even having a good job is no guarantee that you’ll be able to make enough income. Certain parts of the state have a very high cost of living. If you’ve got a full-time job, a second job and a couple of side hustles, it might be worth considering alternatives. This is especially true if you have young kids or need to take care of other members of your family. If you’re not looking forward to a high likelihood of income growth in your current path, changing directions might be just the ticket to help you find something that pays the bills by itself.

You’ve Reached a Plateau
When you first start on a particular career path, you could see nothing but opportunities. Several years or even a decade or two in, you may eventually reach a plateau. For some people, this is the right direction. If you don’t have big ambitions and you can easily support yourself, a plateau isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you want more growth and you can’t get it from your current career, it’s time to rethink what you’re doing. It’s best not to let it sit too long before you make a decision, however. The sooner you make the switch, the more time you have to develop your new career.

Your Expectations Have Changed
The American workforce has long since moved on from the idea that you need to keep the same career from the time you graduate from high school. And yet, people are often pressured to make a choice when they may be unable to determine what to expect years down the road. A young adult may think that they know what they want to do. But once they get into it and spend a decade doing it, they may realize that the entire dynamic of the industry has changed. Sometimes, people expect to move forward in a career path that won’t exist by the time they get there. Having the flexibility to move on makes all the difference in meeting your current expectations.

You Hate Your Job
Although almost everyone needs to have a job in order to pay the bills, that shouldn’t be the only way to assess the value that your job gives you. A career that you love makes you happier, keeps you healthier and makes it easier for you to enjoy other things. A job that you used to like but now merely tolerate or even despise will create stress that bleeds into other parts of your life. This can make you more likely to get sick or simply to feel stuck in a situation you can’t fix. Hating a job that provides income isn’t usually a sustainable situation. Finding a way out may solve more problems in your life than simply making your work hours more tolerable.

You’re Ready to Achieve Your Career Goals
As most people know, there’s a difference between having a job that meets your basic needs and building a career. People might have dozens of jobs throughout their lifetimes, but probably only a few careers. If you have been waiting for an opportunity, it’s hard to tell when is the best time to go for it. If you find that you meet some of these criteria, that time might be approaching now. Making the choice to get started can help you feel like you’re taking charge of your life and achieving your goals.

Moving from one career to another is a big step that many people will take throughout their lifetimes. Knowing when it’s right for you is key to making it a success. To find out how a career in construction could change your life, visit CSLS today!

Animal-Friendly Construction Practices for Your Contracting Business

As you work on a construction project, sometimes you can’t help but notice the wildlife around you. Some of them may act as pests on the jobsite, while others are merely helpless bystanders. Since some animals and insects are crucial to human survival, it’s important to take care when you’re working around them. Here are a few things you can do.

Inspect the Site Before Work
On most construction sites, you don’t quite know what to expect until you get there. If your company is doing most of the construction or you’re acting in a supervisory capacity, it’s important to inspect the site before you begin work. This includes looking for signs of wild animals, birds or insects on the property. This is also important if you are performing demolition or renovation work on existing structures. When buildings aren’t inhabited for months or years, animals and insects may build nests in occupied spaces. Taking care to identify possible infestations and make a plan for them can help to avoid damaging beneficial species by accident.

Secure Site During Construction
Once you begin work on the jobsite, you need to ensure that nothing creeps in when you’re not expecting it. Site security involves keeping everyone out who does not belong there. But since bees and rats don’t read signs and can easily get past fences, you may need a different approach. Identify likely sources of infestations on the site. Then, take the time to think about the materials on the site that may be enticing. Putting up mesh fencing, closing buildings, and making sure that you put sources of food in airtight spaces, can minimize the likelihood that birds or animals will come to the site looking for them. Keep in mind that they love debris, so cleaning up is an ideal and safe deterrent.

Call Services When Necessary
When you find a beehive or a bunch of birds’ nests, it’s tempting to call an exterminator or another form of pest control. Well this can certainly mitigate the problem for you, it isn’t always the wisest thing to do. California is home to many varieties of endangered species. Without bees to pollinate the huge farms across the state, food output would be dramatically decreased. As such, it may be better to seek out a local organization that can help you move the nests without harming them or their inhabitants. This gives you a solution to your problem in a way that causes the least damage.

Use Bird-Friendly Construction Practices
The major problems that humans have with insects and rodents is that they like to set up housekeeping in the same place as where humans live. By comparison, birds are more likely to sustain injury or even death based on the type of construction practices that you use. For example, reflective windows confuse birds and make it more likely that they will collide into them. This kills up to 1 billion birds every year. By changing the design slightly, such as adding lines or dots on the glass, the birds can tell that it is an obstacle and fly around it. Some researchers estimate that this may also help building owners save on their energy costs.

Dispose of Waste Properly
When you think about proper waste disposal, you’re often considering what happens if the soil, water supply or air is contaminated for human use. However, there are many animals and insects who also live in the same spaces. Proper waste disposal is an important way to protect them as well. This means:

  • Handling hazardous substances with care
  • Disposing of harmful byproducts or excess substances in the correct receptacle or location
  • Minimizing accidental spills
  • Mitigating the effects of harmful contaminants already present on the property, like mold

These practices helped protect you, but they can also help to ensure that no one is poisoned as a result of the construction process.

Controlling your environment is a big part of construction project management. With the right approach, you can avoid hurting yourself and all the beings around you. To learn more about how to start your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

Should You Outsource Your Contracting Business Marketing?

In order to have customers, they have to be able to find your business. For that, you’re probably going to need some marketing. While you might have been able to rely on word of mouth decades ago, these days, you need to get your name out there. But can you do it on your own, or should you hire someone else to do it? Here are a few reasons to consider outsourcing the marketing for your contracting business.

You Need Marketing to Get More Sales
If you want income, you have to have sales. And as a general rule, to get sales you must engage in some form of marketing. During the early years of your business, you may be marketing to help all potential customers discover your services. Once you’re established, you may be able to rely on partnerships with other businesses or simply recommendations from previous clients. It depends heavily on your field. Many business owners with decades of experience continue to need advertising and marketing strategies to help them maintain a steady flow of new clients.

Marketing Techniques Take Time
Although there are a lot of tried-and-true marketing approaches, figuring out which ones work best for your business takes some trial and error. If you’ve ever seen an ad campaign that completely fell flat, you understand. Marketing isn’t something that you can set once a year and forget it until it comes time again. The best marketing tactics require feedback, and in order to get feedback, you have to keep an eye on it. Hiring someone to help out with your marketing strategy allows you to receive the benefits without having to monitor it as often.

Good Marketing Takes Expertise
There’s a reason that people go to college to study marketing. It’s a complicated field that is constantly changing. Ad campaigns that you saw a few years ago may have been popular then, but they might not work at all now. A solid marketing strategy takes current trends into consideration while ensuring that every piece is likely to reach and resonate with your target demographic. If you don’t know much about marketing, you may have a hard time understanding how to market to your most likely customers. And once you’ve tried a few different approaches, you’ll have a hard time processing feedback to determine what to do next. An expert can do all of these things in much less time.

DIY Doesn’t Always Save Money
As many construction professionals will tell you, DIY may seem like it will save money, but that isn’t necessarily true. This wise piece of advice relates to all kinds of industries providing services that you need for your business. Mess up on your taxes and you’ll pay penalties or possibly face an audit. Mess up in your contracts for your business and you may end up in court. Both of these things could end up being far more expensive than you expected. Marketing is similar. If you try your own approaches and they don’t work, you’ll end up paying much more to hire someone to rush through the process just to help you get clients.

It’s Hard to Do Everything Yourself
As a business owner, there will be times when you feel like you’re pulled in a million directions. Everyone expects you to be an expert and they won’t accept that you can’t do all of these jobs by yourself. Sometimes, it makes the most sense to recognize which tasks are a good fit for you, and which ones are best to outsource. Marketing is important to your business success in the long-term, because it helps to provide a steady stream of new sales leads. Investing in the right marketing strategy in the first place can save you a lot of time and stress later on.

To set up your business for the highest likelihood of success, you’ll need good marketing support. To find out more about starting your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

5 Tips to Simplify Working from Home

These days, practically everyone does a little working from home. And if you have the right approach, you might actually be able to make it work. The trouble is that a lot of people struggle to set up the space so that they can live a regular home life and be able to get work done as well. With these tips, you can make working from home more productive and less stressful.

Designate a Separate Workspace
The dramatic rise in the number of people doing work from home has brought the concept into the mainstream like never before. People who were always able to leave work at their workplace find it more difficult to do so when they spend virtually all of their time at home. One of the best ways to ensure that your workspace remains productive is to separate it from the rest of your home. Designating a separate room is ideal, but not everyone has the square footage to dedicate. Even setting aside a desk that is exclusively for work can make a difference in what you’re able to do while you’re there.

Minimize Distractions
While you’re working on a handful of administrative tasks, it’s tempting to set yourself up in the middle of your living area. That way, you can keep an eye on everything while you’re productive. Unfortunately, for a lot of home-based professionals, this just becomes one distraction after another. Most people aren’t that great at multitasking, even if they think they are. Instead, select a part of the house that you can guarantee will be relatively quiet and inactive while you’re trying to get work done. This helps to ensure each task gets your full focus.

Improve Alertness
People who work from home in houses that aren’t set up for it find unusual places to put an office:

  • Walk-in closet
  • Basement
  • Garage

These areas might be the only place you have to get work done, but they’re not explicitly set up for productivity. For example, a lack of sufficient lighting or ventilation can make it harder for you to see or make you feel tired at the end of a long day. If you can, set up your workspace in a room with at least some natural lighting and perhaps a fan, if you don’t have a vent nearby. Otherwise, add task lighting and floor lamps as needed.

Keep Work at Work
It’s crucial to figure out ways to be productive while you’re working from home, but the reverse is just as important. If you feel like working from home means that you are living at work, you need to make a different distinction. Running a business from home allows you to set your own hours. Sometimes that means you end up working longer than you should. To help ensure that you can have a life outside of work, designate specific working hours that you can manage and still get all the important tasks completed. Once that time is up, you can enjoy your home life once again.

Be Realistic About Productivity
The fact is that most people aren’t going to maintain the same level of productivity while they are working from home than they would in a separate workspace. You should be realistic about the goals that you set, and try to avoid criticizing yourself too much if you don’t meet them. Learning to eke out productivity at home is a skill that you can develop. It’s not necessarily going to happen overnight. Start small, and increase your goals as your ability to focus improves. You might be surprised how much more you can get done with six months of practice.

Working from home can be a great way to catch up on your administrative tasks, leaving your other work time free for projects. For more information about starting your own contracting business, visit CSLS today!

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Great Career in Construction

Well, 2020 is nearly over. This is a time when lots of people set their plans for the new year. Is 2021 the year you’re finally going to start your career in construction? You may need a little assistance in taking the plunge. Here are five great resolutions that can help you get started.

Save Money
Every business needs money to get off the ground. While you can certainly apply for small business loans and other types of funding to help you buy supplies and equipment, anything you can save could make a big difference. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, especially at first. Start by saving as little as $1 per day, to begin building a habit. Consider opening a savings account or a certificate of deposit that will help you earn some interest while you save. See if your bank or credit union will help you make automatic deposits, so you don’t even have to think about it. By the end of the year, you might feel more comfortable setting more aside toward your business goals.

Improve Your Reading Skills
Reading comprehension is one of the first things the kids learn in school, and there’s a good reason for it. Being able to understand what you read quickly helps you make your study time more effective. Even if you’re just reading about the latest technologies or practices in your chosen field, improving your reading skills will help you get more out of it. Try reading articles and then summarize what you learned from the content. Then you can go back and check to see what you may have missed. Look at online guides that help you discover what to look for as you read. With practice, you’ll get faster and more accurate.

Learn More About Running a Business
Running a business also takes practice. In order to know what to do and how to do it, you should start with some research. The first year of your business is often the hardest, so it helps to give yourself some additional preparation. Invest some time into researching these topics:

  • Writing a business plan
  • Investigating target demographics
  • Creating marketing strategies
  • Applying for business funding

Once you have a little expertise under your belt, get advice from family and friends who have run successful businesses. By the time you get your license and are ready to start your business, you’ll have a lot more information that will help you make it run well.

Take a Class in Professional Communication
Like reading comprehension, writing is something that most people learn as kids in school. Unfortunately, business communications often aren’t included in the curriculum. Professional communication is one way that you set yourself apart from the competition, particularly in the way that you relate to prospective clients. The good news is that this subject is something that a lot of people don’t know how to do. That means there are lots of tools and guides available online to help you learn common communication practices.

Get Ready for the Contractor Licensing Exam
Whether you are just thinking about getting into construction or you’ve been working in the industry for a couple of years, preparing to get your contractor license is a great next step. But in order to get it, you have to pass the contractor licensing exam. One of the best ways to learn what you can expect on the exam and get assistance in preparing for it is to take a course for your license. CSLS courses are comprehensive and refined to ensure that everyone who completes the course has the best possible chance at passing the exam.

The year 2021 is full of potential. If you start now, you’ll get the benefit of a whole year of progress toward your goals. To take the first step on your career path, contact CSLS today!