Monthly Archives: May 2021

Concrete Alternatives for Your Contracting Business

Concrete is a big part of construction. The problem is that it’s not the best for the environment. Of course, that also means that sustainable building experts are always looking for alternatives that perform much like concrete without all the complications it presents. Here are a few options you can consider for your contracting business.

Green Concrete
Although no concrete is going to be truly sustainable, there are ways to decrease its carbon footprint. One of the major problems about concrete is that it is heavy and strong but does not necessarily last. That means concrete ends up in a landfill several years after its original application, in a lot of cases. Green concrete seeks to reclaim certain aspects of the manufacturing process. For example, green concrete manufacturers might use recycled materials in the production of new concrete. Sometimes, they can even use old concrete to create new concrete. This decreases the amount of raw materials needed for production and minimizes waste in the landfill.

Fiber Cement
Fiber cement is becoming a popular building material for its durability and low maintenance needs. Fiber cement uses a combination of natural fibers, minerals, water and heat to create a surface that is less likely to break down over time. The manufacturing process creates fewer carbon emissions, making it a more attractive option for siding and more. Due to its construction, it is less likely to crack or wear out. As such, it can remain on the building for a longer period of time without replacement or extensive repairs.

Steel
Steel is a strong, durable building material that can be a way to minimize use of concrete in construction. You probably already use steel, but you may not necessarily know all of its benefits. Steel is less likely to corrode or break down over time, which gives it a longer possible lifespan. It is less prone to fluctuations in the pricing market compared to lumber, so it’s easier to estimate how much you can expect to pay for it from one year to the next. It is also one of the most recyclable building materials. That means you can use steel that has been mostly recycled, and expect that when the building is no longer needed, that steel can be recycled once again.

Wood
Wood is an age-old building material, because it is widely available almost anywhere. The chief benefit of wood, in comparison to concrete, is that it is a renewable building material. If trees are planted at a reasonable rate to replace the ones that are harvested for building, there will always be enough wood. In addition, treated wood is often durable enough for use in multiple projects. There is a healthy market for reclaimed wood from old buildings that have been demolished. The trick for construction businesses is to ensure that the wood you buy for your projects is sustainable.

Bamboo
Bamboo is emerging as an effective alternative for both concrete and wood. The problem with concrete is that it generates significant carbon emissions in manufacture, transport and disposal. The problem with wood is that it can take years or even decades to replace the species commonly used in building. By comparison, bamboo only takes 3 to 5 years to regenerate. Companies are still coming up with the best ways to use bamboo. However, the latest innovations are increasing its strength and durability, making it an effective building material at least for small structures.

Figuring out how to use less concrete is a sustainable act for your contracting business. To find out more about what you’ll need to run a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

How to Tell Friends and Family You’re Starting a Career in Construction

Every career change starts with a lot of thinking on your part. It’s exciting and full of questions and dreams about future opportunities. While your friends and family members might be as eager as you are, there are some who could need some persuading. After all, changes can be unexpected. Here are a few ways you can show your loved ones all the reasons to look forward to your construction career.

Talk About the Labor Shortage
For decades, the discussion about careers has centered around one specific point: Can you get a job doing the work you’re working toward? Long ago, your career was often set for you by your parents. These days, pursuing a particular career only works if you have a decent chance to get the job you’re looking for. The good news is that construction has virtually boundless opportunities at the moment. If you’re dedicated and willing to work for it, you’ll find careers with great pay and wonderful job security until you’re ready to retire. So many other industries can’t even hint at that kind of potential anymore. Now your loved ones need to hear it.

Show Your Enthusiasm
When you’re listening to someone who is really excited about something, that kind of energy is contagious. It’s easy to feel optimistic about career options when you feel good about them. So take a moment and think about all the things you’re looking forward to:

  • Do you love seeing a project through to its conclusion?
  • Do you enjoy building things from the ground up?
  • Have you always wanted to start your own business or be able to set your own terms for your work?

These are all benefits that you can get from a construction career.

Describe Construction’s Future
Construction is both one of the oldest professions and one of the most modern. Everyone needs a place to live, work, shop, relax, etc. And since buildings don’t last forever, there’s a regular cycle of renovation and new construction needed. With advancements in the industry, you can find plenty of ways to do what construction does best while learning and using the latest technology. To put it plainly, construction is a lot cooler than it used to be. And it will continue to get better over time.

Explain Your Career Options
As with any career change, it’s good to show that you have options for growth and upward mobility. Take a moment to share the types of jobs you’re looking to have, not just once you’re done with training but 10 or 20 years in the future. Within any field, there may be lots of ways that you can perform the same type of job. For example, some contractors prefer to start their own businesses. Others want to work with a larger firm that offers a variety of services.

Walk Through Your Career Plan
With any career worth pursuing, you might have to spend a few years investing your time into practicing your trade. If you were going to college to get a degree, you’d have to put in a similar amount of time, or even more. Your friends and family members want to know that you have a career plan in mind, not simply a job that you can have for a time. Show them what you plan to do for the next five or 10 years, like getting your contractor’s license or starting your own business. They’ll appreciate the investment you have already put in and will be able to see that you have a good plan in place.

When you’re excited about your career in construction, your family and friends will be happy to see you so committed to your future. To get started, visit CSLS today!

How to Budget When Your Contracting Business Income Isn’t Consistent

The main point of starting your own business is to finance your life while doing good work and being your own boss. Of course, you may have to wait until the money starts rolling in on a consistent basis. In fact, it may be a few years before you can predict how much money you will earn in any given month. Although this is common for any small business, it does make it harder to know how to pay your bills. Here are a few tips.

Figure Out Expenses
When you work for yourself, you have to figure out what to pay yourself. In essence, you have to build your salary from the ground up. One of the easiest ways to do that is to figure out your expenses. Make a list of all your personal expenses for:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Utilities and other services
  • Transportation
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Incidentals, like clothing or home maintenance

This should give you a fairly good idea of what you need to be earning on a monthly basis. It may be less or much higher than what you think you can pay yourself. But at least it gives you some specific numbers to work with.

Set Minimum Income Limits
With a list of your expenses, you can start to build what you think your income could look like. In most households in California, people need at least two incomes. After all, we’re not known for having inexpensive housing or a short commute. So there’s a high degree of probability that your expenses may exceed your income, especially at first. But like many other independent workers and sole proprietors, you need to set minimums for your income. If your income is extremely variable, to a level of thousands of dollars’ difference from one month to the next, you may want to set a minimum and a target income based on the interval in which you want to get paid.

Create A Regular Payment Schedule
Once you have a sense of how much you think you can reasonably pay yourself, you should aim to set a regular payment schedule. Choose an interval that works best for your expenses. Many people choose to pay themselves once or twice a month, but you may prefer to do it weekly as well. If you are outsourcing payroll services or using ACH for direct deposit, you’ll need to make sure to start the payment process early enough. Whatever you do, make sure that you are still taking care of the non-payroll expenses for the business, so you can keep it running.

Set Aside Excess for Slow Periods
Many people who have run businesses before will tell you that until you get established, you’ll encounter periods of feast and famine. What this means is that you will have months or even a year where you have more work than you can handle. But if you don’t take care in your decisions with the money, you’ll find yourself stuck when work becomes slow. It’s a tricky balance. You have to pay yourself or you won’t be able to keep the business running. But if you take out too much when times are high, you won’t have enough to keep going when times are low. When you first have excess funds, work on building a cushion to get you through the next light month.

Forecast Changes Over Time
As you get established, you’ll notice that your income needs and expectations will change over time. For example, if you decide to offer a greater variety of services to build a more reliable clientele, you may end up with a higher income. Although you should focus on preserving cash flow and making sure you have some savings to protect you, this doesn’t mean that you have to work at the same income for the whole of your career. Examine your business spending and your income every few months or twice a year. If you feel comfortable, you may be able to adjust your payments upward.

Building a business means getting used to unpredictable income streams, especially at first. These tips make it easier. To find out more benefits of running your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

 

Paying Attention to Mental Health Can Help Your Contracting Business

Decades ago, being unhappy with your workplace was simply part of the experience. These days, experts know that the way you approach mental health for yourself and your employees can be the key to long-term business success. Here are a few factors you should consider, as a way to promote a healthy work environment that is as positive as it is productive.

Reasonable Workload
Construction is not typically known for being an industry with a reasonable workload. People tend to work long hours, especially at times of the year when business is high. Although this may seem like a dream for productivity, it can trigger problems over time. People who aren’t dealing with mental health struggles can still experience burnout. And the worse it gets, the more likely it is that people will rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms. An excessive or unpredictable workload might also trigger mental illness that is poorly managed or sitting just beneath the surface. Controlling the workload to a reasonable level, and giving people the comfort of a schedule they can expect, can make them feel more stable at a tough time.

Flexibility
Employers need to offer consistency to their employees, but also flexibility when it is needed. Research indicates that when employees feel like they have the power to control the conditions of their workday, they tend to be happier and even work harder. Sometimes, this means allowing someone to take a couple of days off when they are dealing with a complicated family issue. At other times, it means tailoring an employee schedule to fit their natural preferences. If you think about it, it’s easy to understand. Most night owls don’t enjoy getting up for work at 5 a.m. And someone who gets up at 5 a.m. probably doesn’t want to still be working at 9 p.m.

Positive Feedback
Mental illness isn’t necessarily created by a person’s environment. However, the way that you create an environment for your employees can certainly affect how they manage their mental health. Positive feedback can make a big difference, but this depends on your management style. Some business owners like to minimize the amount of time they’re telling their employees what to do. But sometimes, that means you’re not telling someone anything unless you have a complaint. In other cases, bosses spend a lot of time giving feedback to employees, but they don’t pay attention to how much of it is positive. Making sure that you give good feedback and keep criticism constructive can make it easier for workers not to get stuck on it.

Building Support Systems
Helping yourself and your employees means that you need to build a support system that people feel comfortable using. Mental illness still carries a hefty stigma, even if many mental health advocates have been trying to minimize it. People often assume that they cannot get help for even common mental health concerns like anxiety or depression.

In construction, it’s important to understand how big of an issue it can be. Experts estimate that as many as one in five construction workers struggles with mental illness. In fact, construction workers are much more likely to die by suicide than they are from a fall, which is the most common source of physical injury in the industry. Experts suggest reaching out to employees on a regular basis, and considering programs like employee assistance. Larger firms are starting to offer these benefits as a way to attract and retain long-term employees.

Employee-Focused Improvements
Ultimately, it’s not enough to make changes based on what you think your employees need. You must consult them to get their input. This is tricky because sometimes people have suggestions that aren’t realistic to carry out. Think about how you would handle a problem that you want to solve personally. You take your own perspective into consideration and make a choice that is best for the company. Now, apply that to any employees who might have input to share. Get their opinions and then see what you can put into action.

Caring for your mental health and that of your employees is a great way to ensure your contracting business survives. To find out more, visit CSLS today!

How to Handle Difficult Conversations in Your Contracting Business

Sometimes, in-person communication can seem like the most difficult form. This is because you have to know what to say on the fly, and you can’t delete it and say it a different way. The good news is that you can learn how to manage difficult conversations for your contracting business. Here’s what you need to do.

Write Simple Scripts
When you want to learn the best ways to deal with conflict in a conversation, you may want to start by thinking of people who have to deal with conflict all day long. For example, imagine the last time you had a conflict with someone who works at the DMV or the company that provides your Internet access. In most cases, these employees have simple scripts that they have been taught to follow. These scripts help them to avoid saying more than they should, or offering more compromises than they can. Although you don’t want a general conversation to sound completely scripted, you can come up with a few sentences that help you to clarify your meaning and avoid causing further conflict.

Practice Dealing With Conflicts
If you don’t feel like you have a lot of experience dealing with conflict in a conversation, you may want to practice with a friend or relative. Make sure that the person you’re practicing with knows you well enough to avoid turning it into a personal disagreement, but can also help you stick to the exercise. Try it out with a few different people, since you’ll have clients with different communication styles that you may have to deal with. Make notes about what works and what doesn’t, and keep practicing until negotiating with someone feels more natural.

Record Your Voice
Have you ever had a moment where someone told you to speak louder or talk more softly when you thought that you were maintaining a reasonable volume? It’s a matter of perception. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to tell how you come off to others. While recording devices may not capture tone and volume perfectly, they can give you an indication of your tone and volume in relation to someone else’s. Position your phone or another recording device at a central place in the room. Record your conversation, perhaps a test conversation that you’re having with a friend. Afterward, listen to it and see if you can identify changes in tone or mood based on what you hear. You may be able to spot a few problems that you can fix this way.

Ask for Feedback
One of the hardest parts of handling conflict with people is to ask for feedback. While you may not want to ask a disgruntled client for feedback about a conversation, you can certainly do this with friends and relatives. If you’re worried that you will take criticism personally, ask them to start by identifying things that they think you do well. That will make it easier to digest anything they have to say that identifies things you may need to change. It’s a smart idea to get lots of practice giving and receiving feedback. You’ll have a lot of opportunities to do this during the running of your business, so you might as well get used to it.

Lead With Compassion
Ultimately, the way that you see the conflict or problem is going to shape the way you carry out a difficult conversation. For example, if you perceive that the client or employee that you have to talk to is intentionally making things harder for you, you may have less patience or willingness to work with them. On the other hand, if you think about where they are coming from and why they may have the views they have, you may be in a better position to come up with a compromise that will work for both of you.

Having a difficult conversation lead to a successful conclusion is an important skill to learn as a contracting business owner. For more information about running your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

How to Take Advice When You’re Starting a Contracting Business

When you first start talking about opening a contracting business, you’re going to get lots of advice. Some of it might be very useful, coming from people with decades of experience in the industry. On the other hand, you might get tips from people who wouldn’t know success if it ran over them. Here are five tips you can use to help you accept advice and determine if it will work for you.

Take It In
The first thing that you want to do when you get some business advice is to make it relatively easy to accept. It’s tempting to reassure people that you have all the experience you need and that their advice is unwarranted. But sometimes, you turn out to be wrong. In order to decide which advice is useful and which parts don’t apply to you, you need to listen to it and take a few mental notes. This doesn’t mean that you need to pay attention with a rapt expression to anyone who feels like you’ve got it all wrong and they need to set you straight. But if you can allow the information to sink in, you’ll have a higher chance of being able to use the relevant bits.

Consider the Source
Of course, not everyone has good business advice to share. And that does not necessarily stop them from trying to share with you. This is why you should consider the source along with their advice. Someone who has started five businesses and had all of them fail within a year may be a great source of learning what went wrong. They might not be the best person to tell you what to do to succeed, however. Sometimes, people who don’t have the facts can share something that would be practical for you to apply to your business. It’s relatively unlikely, so you can take this advice with a grain of salt.

Question Your Gut
There is a lot out there in self-help circles that tells you to trust your gut. The problem is that when you’re debating whether or not to follow your gut instincts, you still need to consider the source. If your gut instinct comes from 5-10 years of experience in this field, you might be on the right track. On the other hand, if your gut instinct is based on what you found by searching Google for five minutes, your conclusions might be suspicious. It’s important not to disregard your own opinions. You should just make sure to scrutinize them as much as you would anyone else’s.

Evaluate Information
Once you get some advice, you have some work to do. In some cases, people make claims that are so unlikely or outdated that you can handily dismiss them as irrelevant. What worked for someone’s retail business might not apply to yours. In other cases, you need to determine how right they are. This calls for research. It’s tempting to trust the advice of someone who’s been working in your industry for decades, especially if they’ve acted as a mentor to you. It’s still good to follow up on their claims, so that you understand it better than you did.

Decide After Consideration
When it comes to big decisions about your business or the best way to run it, you need to make decisions after consideration. It is so easy to jump the gun when someone with business experience tells you to absolutely do one thing or completely avoid another thing. Unfortunately, taking this kind of a hard line position eliminates your flexibility, which you may need most in the early years of your business. With every piece of advice you get, take the time to consider it and determine whether or not you want to follow it. Keep in mind that most people advise you because they want to help. But if it doesn’t help, then it’s probably not worth following.

When you first start your contracting business, you’re going to get a lot of advice. Learning how to interpret it is part of surviving. To learn more about building a successful contracting business, visit CSLS today!

5 Reasons to Consider Hiring an Accountant for Your Contracting Business

If you’re good at money management, you might think that there is no reason to hire an accountant for your contracting business. Some business owners don’t, especially in the first few years when they’re working to get established. But there are reasons you may want to hire one, especially if you struggle to keep your focus on your books. Here are five.

You’re Not a Tax Expert
Many people choose to calculate and file their own taxes. When you start a business, it’s tempting to think that it will be easy to manage your business taxes as well. And if you don’t have a lot of business expenses or purchases to make, that might be close to the truth. On the other hand, hiring an accountant to do your taxes is a relatively minor investment. In exchange, you’re more likely to learn about less-known deductions and credits that your business may be eligible to claim. An accountant is also more likely to get everything correct so that your tax forms are accepted without dispute.

You Need Someone to Manage Your Financial Records
Maintaining financial records is a crucial task for your business. Without it, you may be stuck in a panic when someone asks you for an updated form. For example, if you apply for a loan, you may need an updated profit and loss statement for the application. If you have investors, you’ll need to show them updated financial records for your business activities as well. Just like your taxes, these records can be complicated and easy to make mistakes. In this case, it may make sense to hire a regular accountant who can handle these tasks on your behalf. You’ll need to provide the data, but an accountant can process and use it to generate the required reports.

You’re Not Sure if You’re Following Financial Guidelines
There are a lot of financial guidelines that you may have to follow as a contracting business owner. For example, if you want to bid on public sector projects, you need to confirm that your rate structure for employees complies with local guidelines. Do you know what these guidelines are? Which forms do you need to fill out and submit along with your bid? If these questions fill you with dread, then you might need an accountant to help you sort through them and determine which ones apply to your business. This way, you can avoid the stress of being unsure if you’re following the rules, with extra support in handling these administrative tasks.

You Want Help Planning Your Spending
In the early years of your business, cash flow is everything. Before you increase your own income or invest further in your business, you must make sure that you have adequate funds to keep the business running. The problem is that you may not know what you need to make that happen. And if you make errors in your estimates, you may end up without the money you need to pay yourself or your employees. Accountants do more than just file your taxes or fill out other forms. They can also help you look at your income and expenses, and create a plan that you can follow for several months or the next year.

You Don’t Have Much Business Support
There’s a reason that many licensed contractors are self-employed. In the beginning, you might not have anyone else available to work with you. Being able to make all the decisions can be nice in that you don’t have conflict when it’s time to make a choice. But it also means that you don’t get input from others, which can be a problem when you’re making a decision without a lot of information or experience to guide you. In this case, it makes sense to consider hiring an accountant to help you evaluate financial choices and select the one that works best for your business. This way, you have an objective expert who can provide you with an appropriate level of support.

Handling your business finances is less stressful when you can hire a professional accountant to ensure everything is correct. For more information about starting your own contracting business, visit CSLS today!

5 Ways Taking the Contractor Licensing Exam Improves Your Life

Complete the Process
Becoming a licensed contractor starts with an idea. But for years afterward, you’ll be spending your time picking up the skills you need and building experience in order to pass the exam and get your contractor license. Once you become a licensed contractor, you have a lot of flexibility in the way that you work or run your business. But all of those benefits aren’t available to you until you pass the exam. Taking the exam and getting a passing score are some of the last steps of a years-long process, something that you may have been working toward for more than a decade.

Know What to Expect
If you have the right knowledge, and you take advantage of exam preparation experts, you have a better chance of passing the exam. But for some people, a good chance isn’t enough to quiet those test-taking nerves. Sometimes, there’s no replacement for the real thing. In this case, taking the contractor licensing exam may tell you more than all the online research you can perform. Having taken the exam before, you’ll know what to anticipate in the format and the types of questions that you can expect. Taking the exam also helps you build a foundation of knowledge and experience that you can use to take other exams when you’re ready to add to your license.

Make Yourself More Competitive
Although many people who become licensed contractors decide to run their own businesses, you’re not required to take this path. In fact, becoming a licensed contractor gives you a lot more options than you may have had otherwise. It makes sense if you think about it. If you were hiring for your business, and you had to choose between someone who is a licensed contractor and someone who isn’t, who do you think you are more likely to choose? Having taken the exam and passed it gives you a bargaining chip that you can use to secure higher wages and other benefits.

Achieve Your Goals
When you start to get really close to achieving a goal, you may get nervous about the last few steps. After all, if you invest all this time and you’re not able to achieve it, that may seem like a waste. This kind of thinking comes up for a lot of people, but you don’t have to let it derail your progress. Being this near to achieving your goal doesn’t mean that the next few steps will be the hardest of all. You’ve already put in the time to build your skills and experience that you need to become a licensed contractor. For many people, taking the exam itself is simply a small, partial-day commitment on the road to their new careers.

Be Ready to Start Your Own Business
In a lot of cases, passing the exam and getting your contractor license are tools to help you do the thing that you really want to do: start your own business. All of the benefits of being your own boss are sitting right on the other side of this exam. Do you want to specialize in the services that interest you? Are you looking forward to making your own decisions about the running of the company? By the time you’re ready to take the exam, you’ve already got a lot of the skills you need to make your business a success. Taking the exam and passing it lets you cross to the side of building your business for real.

Are you getting ready to take the contractor licensing exam? Exam preparation from the experts can help. For more information, visit CSLS today!

Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Contracting Business Expenses

Ask anyone who runs a business, and they will tell you that managing their overhead is one of the most difficult parts. Keeping your expenses under control is vital to ensuring that your business can even survive, much less make profits. Consider these tips to help you save money on your contracting business expenses.

Plan Your Budget
In many ways, running a business is a lot like handling your own personal finances. If you don’t have a budget, then you won’t know if you’re spending too much. Creating a budget requires an analysis of your income and the expenses that you can expect. It’s an investment of time, but it pays off. By knowing what your expenses are at any given point in time, you can tailor your purchases to your available funds. That way, you’re more likely to have the money that you need when you need it. In the first year or two, you may need to revisit your budgeting on a regular basis, so that it’s always current.

Skip the Excess Fees
You know how gym companies make so much money? They persuade people to sign up for memberships that they won’t use. Then when you go to cancel it, you find that it’s complicated, so you let it run for a few months. You might be surprised to learn that there are lots of businesses that keep their finances up this way. Rental companies charge late fees or refill fees if you fail to return the equipment in the same condition. You can avoid all of these by investing the time to fill it up and return it on time. You can also do the same for other services that you need for your business. Sticking to a schedule makes all the difference.

Minimize Debt
When you were a kid, your parents probably had a lot of discussions with you about the difference between needs and wants. When you run your own contracting business, you might end up blurring those lines more than you should. And then in a lot of cases, that means you’ll have extra debt. Incurring debt for your business isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should be strategic about it. It’s easy to spend a loan or line of credit on equipment and supplies that are nice to have but not particularly necessary. It’s only when you’re paying interest on the debt that you realize it’s more than a convenience. Create a list of conditions under which you’ll be fine with going into debt, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money.

Shop Around for Services
Finance experts often say that people would save a significant amount of money if they were only willing to shop around for services. There are some industries that have made this clear. For example, if you wanted to save money on your car insurance, you could get quotes from different companies, and see which one gives you the best value. This practice also applies to the running of your business. If you need insurance or a rental workspace, it makes sense to consider a variety of options to figure out which one fits best. It won’t always be the one that charges you the least, but at least you will know that you’re making the best decision.

Update Your Inventory and Price Research
Quite a few of your business expenses relate to knowing what you have and understanding what you’ll need to pay to buy more. If your services require you to keep a regular inventory of supplies, you should research a reasonable inventory system that you can update regularly. That way, you know what you have and are less likely to order more than you need. When it comes time to order supplies, make sure that you have the most current price lists. Use this pricing in your estimates, where applicable. With the right information, you’re less likely to quote a price on a project that cuts into your profit margins.

Saving money while you run a business is a good way to keep it afloat for another year. To learn more about running your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

How to Manage Urgent Issues on Your Contracting Business Jobsite

On occasion, you’ll have an urgent or unexpected situation come up on the jobsite. Some concerns are related to safety, but others simply require you to address them promptly. Having a plan in place can help you avoid the worst complications. Here are a few tips to ensure that you always know exactly what you need to do.

Plan Ahead
You may have heard people say that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. To a large degree, this is true. If you want less guessing or panicked reactions in the event of something unexpected, you should create a plan to handle it in the first place. In the beginning, your plan may not be particularly accurate. It may raise concerns that you will have to address later. But having a plan gives you a set of instructions to follow, which can be particularly useful if you are having difficulty focusing in the moment.

Keep Reference Guides Handy
As a general rule, plans to handle unanticipated or dangerous situations may require you to follow certain protocol. Organizations like OSHA often have guides that you can use to help you figure out what you’ll need to do. However, it’s not reasonable to expect that either you or your employees will have that information memorized. It’s also not reasonable to assume that you will have internalized it so completely that you can remember it while stressed out or distracted. Keep those reference guides in a handy place so that you can grab them whenever you need them.

Duplicate Knowledge
On the one hand, it’s nice to know that you are the only person in the company who has certain knowledge. On the other hand, duplicating some of your experience is crucial to solving problems. If you are out of the office or away from the jobsite and something happens, you want the people working there to be able to manage it at least partially in your absence. Make sure that everyone working for you knows the general rules for dealing with any situation that is likely to come up. It’s wise to have anyone functioning as a supervisor or team lead in a position of knowledge about the right protocol to follow.

Practice Addressing Problems
Whenever you see a team of paramedics or firefighters on the scene of an accident, you can see that they don’t spend a lot of time figuring out what they need to do. They have practiced a variety of different scenarios to the point that they know what to do in the moment. They don’t have to think about it as much. In your contracting business, you can do the same. Each month, devote some time to learning, testing and reviewing standard practices for dealing with emergencies and other urgent situations. The more you practice, the faster you will be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Revisit Past Problems
Having a plan in place and practicing it regularly are crucial to success of the plan, but so is the ability to revise it as needed. It’s possible that your original plan may not work exactly as you expected once you have to carry it out for real. It’s also likely that you will, in retrospect, come up with ideas for ways that you could make it more effective or efficient. After the problem is under control, give yourself a day or two to think about it and take a few notes. If you need to revise the plan, you should do so and notify everyone related to the situation.

Dealing with the unexpected is just part of running a contracting business. Getting your contractor license is another. For expert exam preparation tailored to the California state licensing requirements, visit CSLS today!