Monthly Archives: December 2021

5 Business Management Tips Your Contracting Business Can Use

If you have never run your own business, you might not be sure how to get started. Although there are tons of guides online designed to help you get your business off the ground, it’s not as obvious how to make success easier to achieve. Here are five things you can do.

Don’t Make Hasty Decisions
If you talk to anyone who has run a successful business for many years, they may tell you that there were certain points where the success of the business hung on a single important decision. When you are first running a business, you may not know which decisions will make the difference between success and failure. That’s why you should invest the time to think through all your options, and avoid deciding on a whim. Give yourself at least a few hours, if not a day or two to make a big choice. Even if you feel like none of your options are good, the investment will help you to feel that you have done everything you can.

Do Your Homework
Learning your trade requires a lot of practice and a decent amount of homework. You’ll find that it is just the beginning of the work that you will do for your contracting business. Every aspect of your business requires research, and you’ll make better decisions if you put in the time before you determine:

  • How to hire reliable employees
  • The best suppliers in the area
  • Quality business services to outsource marketing, payroll and more
  • Which products and equipment to buy

Being a well-rounded business consumer sets you up to avoid pitfalls and get the most for your money.

Grow Sustainable
In the first couple of years of your business, you may have periods of time when you have too many work opportunities to complete with the time you have. This can be a great time for business growth, but you need to make sure that you can do it sustainably. Growing too quickly may make it harder to run your business, requiring you to expand administrative services in order to accommodate new employees, complicated equipment inventory and more. You need to make sure that you can keep up with it. Adding layers of complication to your business gradually allows you to make changes as needed and avoid increasing costs too rapidly.

Work With People You Trust
Life is too short to spend your time surrounded by people that you do not trust or respect. While you might not always have the best choices for employees, subcontractors or suppliers, there’s definitely something to be said for being selective. Spend time searching for people who do good work and are easy to work with, then focus on cultivating those relationships. Listen to your instincts when you get the feeling that someone isn’t on the level. And don’t forget to invest in building these relationships from your end, as well. Work hard to establish yourself as a business owner worthy of trust and respect.

Outsource When Necessary
As a business owner, you will probably have more work that has to be done than time you have available to do it. You might be able to get on for a short time by doing most of it yourself, but you may need to consider outsourcing services on occasion. Outsourcing can be expensive, which is difficult to justify when your income isn’t predictable. But there’s a lot of benefit to be had in knowing that the work will be done, even if you don’t have the time to do it. Making a judicious choice to outsource something like accounting could help keep your business’s finances going from day to day.

Running a business is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but there are ways to make it better. For more tips on what you’ll need to become a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

5 Reasons a Healthy Lifestyle Makes You a Better Contracting Business Owner

Living a healthy lifestyle is its own reward. When you’re a business owner, it’s even more important. Check out these five reasons that being healthy will make it easier for you to run a business.

You Have More Energy
Running your own business requires more energy than it takes to work for someone else. You have to manage all the various aspects of the running of the business, not just engage in work that brings income. Even if you are able to hire employees to handle administrative tasks, you still have to manage them. If you want to keep a steady pace, you must start with a sufficient amount of energy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the easiest way to ensure that your energy level is high enough to meet your ambitions.

You Sleep Better
To even reach that level of energy, you need enough rest to recharge yourself. Of course, eating right and exercising can help you there as well. Experts estimate that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and most American adults don’t get enough. Even if you get a sufficient amount of sleep, low sleep quality can make it feel like you don’t. It’s not surprising that bad sleep leads to bad health, and vice versa. A healthy lifestyle improves your sleep quality, which makes it easier to achieve your health goals.

It’s Easier to Manage Your Mood
You’ve probably seen health experts tout the benefits of exercise as a way of managing your mood. And if you’ve ever encountered people at work who always seems to be in a bad mood, you can understand how important that is for your ability to run a business. People create an atmosphere around them that is affected by a variety of factors, especially the way they approach it. Exercise burns off excess energy and can help you avoid getting stuck thinking about things that frustrate you. In turn, you’ll be more likely to come to work with a positive outlook. All of these things make you an easier person to work with, which makes your work environment a happier one.

You Feel Better
You can probably tell the difference between waking up in the morning feeling good and waking up in the morning feeling awful. The former sets you up for a great, productive day. The latter sets you up to feel uncomfortable and frustrated. It’s probably obvious which one you would choose because feeling better is an important part of having a good day. By focusing on your health, you’re less likely to get sick or feel the effects of chronic health problems. That can give you more good days, which make it easier to get more work done and finish the week on a high note.

You’re Less Likely to Get Hurt
Although almost anyone can get injured by an accident on the job site, repetitive stress injuries are a different matter. People who work in construction have a higher risk of injuries related to repetitive movements. Although there are a number of factors that contribute to your personal risk for these injuries, your level of physical fitness is an important one. Building and maintaining strong muscles help to support your joints. As a result, you are less likely to sustain injuries related to repetitive stress, and you will find it easier to recover from injuries as a whole.

Maintaining your health is a vital part of running your contracting business. For more tips on the things, you’ll need to start, visit CSLS today!

5 Tips to Reduce Your Personal Expenses While Running a Contracting Business

Starting a contracting business involves lots of expenses. If you aren’t careful enough, you might end up overspending on your personal accounts as well as your business ones. With these tips, you can cut down on your overall expenses and make it easier to stay ahead.

Follow a Budget
In order to figure out ways to reduce your expenses, you have to figure out what they are in the first place. Even if you follow a budget regularly, there’s a high likelihood that you need to check in to confirm that it’s still working for you. If you don’t want to build one from the ground up, it’s pretty easy to find sample budgets online that you can tailor to fit your personal finances. The key is to make a budget that you can follow. Setting ambitious goals that are far beyond your reach may have the opposite effect of leading you to ignore the budget you just created. If you’re not used to sticking to a budget, start small and build up from there.

Look for Easy Cuts
Making a list of your regular expenses may help you identify things that you could cut without a lot of trouble. For example, lots of people have a gym membership that they pay more for the sake of vanity than actual use. It’s also common to subscribe to a service that you don’t use very often, if at all. Several subscriptions can add up to hundreds of dollars per month. Take a moment to evaluate your expenses and make sure that you are getting the most for your money. Canceling a service can be a hassle, but the savings is often worth it.

Plan for Emergencies
Emergencies are expensive, especially if you have no plan in place for them. You never know when you’re going to unexpectedly have to replace a tire on your car or fix the damage at your house. Additionally, there are a lot of regular expenses that can turn into emergencies if you don’t have the funds set aside to pay for them. One of the easiest solutions to this problem is to build an emergency fund to help. Even if it’s just a few hundred dollars in a savings account that you don’t touch outside of emergencies, it’s better than nothing. Having even a little set aside can help you cut down on the expenses that you incur when an emergency starts creating problems for your work or other aspects of your life.

Minimize Debt
It’s not always possible to stay completely out of debt, but you can minimize it. Debt comes with repayment obligations and interest that you have to pay on top of the principal. Debt servicing can cost you thousands or more each year, depending on how much debt you have. Be conscious about your decisions, especially if you are determining what to pay for in cash and what you can buy on credit. Even a handful of decisions to wait on small purchases could save you hundreds by the end of the year.

Track Mileage
When you run a contracting business, it’s easy to shoulder some of your business expenses with your own money. Mileage is a great example. If you use your personal vehicle to drive to a client site, you could be tracking that mileage as a personal deduction for your business. In the short term, you’re paying more for fuel to run the vehicle. In the long term, you’re putting more miles and wear on the vehicle. Deciding to make that an expense for your business helps you to separate those costs and ensure that your business doesn’t cost you more than you bring in.

Managing your expenses will help you to build a contracting business that can last for years. To find out how you can prepare for the contractor licensing exam, visit CSLS today!

How Long Can Construction’s Labor Shortage Last?

If you’ve been watching the construction industry for a while, you might think that the labor shortage is going to last forever. When experts say that construction demand is going to decrease, it often seems that demand grows even more. The shortage is tied closely to demand, but it’s not exactly the same. Here are a few ways you can look at the state of the labor shortage, and what it means for working in construction in the future.

Demand Is High
Evaluating the current state of demand for construction is more complicated than it seems. You can look at reports of new construction starts over the past few months, and that will give you some information but not a complete picture. Part of the problem with construction’s labor shortage is that demand is currently high. The pressure to complete projects relates somewhat to existing demand for housing and commercial spaces, as well as a resurgence after drops in demand during 2020 due to the pandemic. In essence, there are still a lot of projects that property owners would like to start, regardless of when they actually decide to do so.

Experts Are Retiring
Of course, in order to complete those projects, there needs to be a moderate pool of experts available to do highly-specialized tasks. The trouble is that there isn’t, and the problem continues to get worse. For the past few years, many people in construction have been retiring after careers of 30 to 40 years or more. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people coming in with the skills needed to replace them. This aspect is where the labor shortage can get perplexing. Even if hundreds of thousands of people flooded the industry, it wouldn’t solve the problem immediately. The industry needs people to fill roles that are high in demand.

Skills Take Time
The construction industry has spent the last few years trying to figure out how to motivate more people to join, and part of that is enticing people to build the experience that they will need in order to meet the demands. Although you may not need a ton of experience to work in a variety of construction jobs, the ones with the highest salaries and the greatest job security may take a few years to establish. As such, when you read about construction businesses trying to appeal to workers, you should keep in mind that it’s a long game. They’re hoping to create a future pool of construction workers and contracting business owners.

Delays Will Continue
Right now, the experience of many contracting business owners is a bit of a struggle. People have to fight to get subcontractors in certain fields, which can lead to delays in completing projects. In some cases, property owners even decide to put a project on the backburner because they can’t find the professionals needed to do the work. In the short term, this can drive innovation because businesses will have to get more creative and efficient with their processes. In the long term, the industry has to plan to minimize the extent of the shortage, even if it can’t be eliminated entirely.

Now’s the Time
All this means that now is a great time to start in construction. Businesses are bordering on desperate for workers, which can be a great opportunity for someone looking for better employment and a stronger career path. Starting now isn’t likely to hurt your future prospects, because demand is set to continue for years into the future.

Solving construction’s labor shortage starts with the decision to join the industry. For more information about your future in construction, contact CSLS today!

What Employees Expect From Your Contracting Business, and How You Can Deliver It

You probably haven’t missed the changing environment for employees in industries of all kinds. The labor shortage that construction has been dealing with for years is now gaining a lot of attention on the national stage. If you want to hire workers, you’re going to have to get them in the door with more than a smile. Here’s what you can do.

Higher Pay
It’s no mistake that if you want to get the broadest range of applicants and a higher likelihood that employees will stay once you hire them, you need to pay more. You don’t have to read the news often to know that the entire country is going through a labor shortage, and construction has been dealing with it for a decade. Right now, your ability to secure contracts and complete work is dependent on your success in getting and retaining employees. There are other factors that people look for in a work environment, but the pay is usually the first one on the list.

Benefits
Next on the list for a lot of people is benefits. When most people are dependent on their workplace for things like healthcare and retirement planning, you can expect prospective employees to ask you about it. Even if you can’t offer all the benefits of a larger business, it’s worth doing your research to see what you can offer in these categories at a minimum:

  • Healthcare
  • Paid vacation and sick leave
  • Retirement

The ultimate goal here is for employees to feel like working with you is a benefit, not something that takes away from their ability to take care of themselves, their families and their retirement. That way, any job change they make has to improve upon what they are already getting from your company.

Training/Education Reimbursement
Virtually everyone is on some kind of career path, and your business could be an attractive option to help employees on their way. When you hire people, you may be looking for evidence of education or certain credentials. You can encourage them to keep achieving. It’s tempting to believe that training employees only prepares them to leave, but in reality, the opposite is often true. Employees usually prefer to stay with a company that supports their growth, and providing training or education reimbursement is a good example of that. By comparison, employees are more likely to leave companies when they feel like they are being intentionally kept at the entry-level.

Sustainable Work Schedules
If you have ever had to work long hours just to pay the bills, you understand how unsustainable it can be. You’ve probably had at least one boss who took advantage of your willingness to please to make you come in on your day off or work hours past quitting time. Right now, employees are much less likely to tolerate these kinds of practices. They want to know that they have a defined time that they can expect for work, with the knowledge that the other hours belong to them. Offering a work schedule that they can manage and plan for makes it easier for them to make a commitment to you for the long term.

Remote Work Opportunities
Although the economy tends to swing back and forth between favoring businesses and favoring employees, the pandemic brought a particular aspect of work into the light. Many employees prefer to do at least some of their work in an office or workspace environment, but there are a growing number of people who want the option to work from home as well. Of course, as a contracting business owner, you may do most of your work at the job site. But your employees may appreciate the ability to handle online training or other administrative tasks from home.

Getting over construction’s labor shortage takes businesses that are willing to go the extra mile for their employees. To learn more about how to start a contracting business, visit CSLS today!

How to Build a Reliable Career in Construction

If you’ve been thinking about starting a career in construction, you should know that there is a lot of potential in the industry. But if you’re planning to stay in for the next 30 years or more, you’re going to need to make some good decisions from the beginning. Here are a few choices that can help set you up for a better experience.

Look for Gaps in Your Experience/History
When you’re first starting out, you may have the most flexibility in determining your future course. It’s a good idea to look at what you already have and determine how much you need to start building a career in construction. For example, most construction professionals need to have a high school diploma or GED. You may not need to have a significant amount of other experience or training, but it helps. Start researching what you’ll need in order to pursue the kinds of careers that you’re thinking about for the future. It’s better to have a plan in mind before you get too invested in the process.

Research Courses
One of the things that people love about construction is that there are so many things that you can learn, and so many different ways to do it. For example, if you’re looking to join a particular field and you know exactly which one is going to be right for you, you may be able to take educational courses or apply for apprenticeships that will give you extensive knowledge and experience by the end. But you can also take courses one at a time to learn a little bit more about the field and the job, so that you can determine whether or not it will be right for you. Don’t hesitate to get more information about fields that you find exciting or particularly interesting.

Consider Certifications
Although construction as an industry doesn’t always require a lot of training for entry-level jobs, you can still add to your résumé before you get started. Certifications may not take as long as licenses or degrees, and they may help you move toward a particular career. For example, OSHA offers a variety of certifications that can make you a more attractive candidate for certain construction jobs, even if they’re not the only things you need to have in order to get them.

Evaluate Possible Career Paths
When you start thinking about possible career paths, it’s important to choose options that will work for you years down the road. The last thing that you want is to discover that your chosen field is becoming obsolete, and you don’t know how to grow with it. Instead, look for fields with a lot of room for growth within the next 30 years, as well as demand for qualified professionals. You’ll have a better chance of finding a reliable career, as well as plenty of work to keep you busy at a good rate of pay.

Improve Other Skills
Like other industries, construction requires people to build a variety of skills that they can use throughout the workday. If your dream is to open your own contracting business, you’ll need multiple skills, such as:

  • Math and basic finance
  • Business communication
  • Basic use of technology

This is also a good time to evaluate what you need to be able to perform tasks within your chosen field every day. You might need to build your physical strength or stamina so that you can complete projects on time without burning yourself out.

Building a reliable career in construction starts with these goals. When you’re ready, you can count on us to help you prepare for the contractor licensing exam. To get started, visit CSLS today!