Monthly Archives: August 2022

5 Ways Your Contracting Business Can Attract More Employees

It’s safe to say that the construction labor market is tight. If you can’t afford to keep your employees, you won’t be able to. And it’s increasingly difficult to attract them in the first place. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that applicants give your contracting business more than a passing glance.

Higher Wages
Ultimately, the best way to show employees that you see them as an asset to your company is to pay them accordingly. You can add a lot of other features that could make your job more attractive than the alternatives, but the pay has to be there in the first place. There are a few ways that you can achieve this, such as a higher starting pay rate, sign-on bonuses, or bonuses related to productivity. Think about it this way: If your employees don’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay the bills while working for you, they’ll be more likely to feel comfortable settling in for the long term.

Greater Flexibility
Everyone likes to feel as if they have some control over their careers. Flexibility may be one of the things that drew you to running a contracting business in the first place. Your employees are looking for flexibility, too. Although your company has to meet certain standards in order to function, you might be surprised by the amount of flexibility you can offer. A slight change in schedule, or the option to use paid time off uniquely, might be an enticing benefit that isn’t offered elsewhere.

Career Mobility
Sometimes, it may feel like you’re investing too much into your employees to see them take the skills and leave. And yet, upward mobility is something that most employees expect from a career. You would probably be less likely to stay in a job that didn’t have anywhere to go you beyond the first job you landed, especially if it’s entry-level. Instead, ask your employees what they want to gain from the job, and take steps to help them get it. It’s possible that they might use that advantage to get better jobs elsewhere. But if you don’t offer them much of anything in the first place, they’ll almost certainly find better options by leaving.

Job Training
Experts often say that it’s better to hire the right person to do the work you need them to do, instead of hiring based on the job you need to be done. When you are too focused on the ability to complete the work according to specification, outside of certain licensing requirements, you might miss out on a lot of great candidates. There are more people out there who are interested in learning, and they might have all the qualities of a great employee. If you can find them, it may be less hassle to train them in the job than it is to end up with someone who has the right skills and the completely wrong temperament.

Frequent Raises
Right now, inflation is a little difficult to manage for most people. If you feel like you’re constantly having to adjust your budget to accommodate higher prices, you’re not alone. But the fast rate of inflation can make it harder for you to make benefits like a higher starting salary meaningful to your employees, once they get settled into the job. After all, that salary might not feel as high if rent goes up another 10 percent in the next year. Revisit the interval in which you offer performance reviews and raises. Sometimes, offering to give someone an update in six months might be enough.

Getting employees to stick with your company takes care. If you start off on the right foot, you’ll reap the benefits. To get started on your contractor career path, contact CSLS today!

Does Your Contracting Business Have an Effective Lead Strategy?

As a business owner, you are always looking for leads that can turn into paying projects for your company. If you have the right strategy, you’ll be less likely to have a slow season or long periods between projects. But cultivating a good lead strategy takes work. Here are a few things you should plan to do.

Increase Lead Generation
Since you can never guarantee that you will always have as much work as you have right now, increasing your lead generation is always a good idea. Contracting businesses get leads from a variety of sources, including:

  • Online advertising on websites, search engines and social media
  • In-network connections, such as colleagues or subcontractors
  • Print advertisements
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations from former clients

Many business owners in this industry rely on recommendations, but this isn’t a replacement for an effective marketing strategy. If you haven’t paid much attention to your website or social media profiles, now is a good time to get started. All of these can become good sources for potential leads.

Track Sources of Leads
Making a website and paying for some ad space can help you create future leads. But they won’t all work in the same way. If you don’t track the efficacy of each one, you may waste your money on a marketing approach that isn’t producing. You can hire a marketing company to do this for you, but there are also free tools on Google and other sites to track engagement, site visitation, and more. For other types of leads, including personal recommendations, it’s not a bad idea to ask where your potential clients heard about your services. If nothing, you’ll get a sense for who is making the best pitch for your business.

Improve Your Follow-Up
Once you get the lead, you need to make sure that you have an effective plan to follow through with it. Too many contractors lose out on business because they never responded to somebody asking for information. In a lot of cases, you don’t know which leads are most likely to turn into a reliable client for you. As such, you should assume that every lead could become a paying project. Set goals to respond to leads within a certain amount of time, preferably one or two business days. If necessary, consider hiring an administrative employee or outsourcing your communications, to ensure that the initial contact happens on schedule.

Don’t Force the Conversion
Potential clients come to you at different stages of the sales funnel. You might have some people who approach you when they aren’t sure about which services they need, or if they need services at all. Others may contact you when they are absolutely certain of their goals and ready to get started. In either case, the way that you respond can have a heavy effect on your success rate. If you can sense that the customer is tentative, avoid the urge to pressure them into making a choice. It’s better to provide the information that they need, answer the questions that they have, and leave them to make the decision.

Keep the Door Open
Good business owners understand that a lead that doesn’t turn into a project isn’t necessarily a failure. Sometimes, clients realize that you aren’t the right fit for one project, but you could work well for another. It’s tempting to get frustrated or burn the bridge, especially if you feel like you invested a lot of time toward a conversion that didn’t happen. Instead, do your best to keep the communication lines open. Someone who had a good experience exploring possible services with your company is more willing to consider hiring you in the future, especially if they end up being unhappy with the business they chose originally.

Generating leads is one of the most important things you will do as a business owner. Getting the right kind of education is another. To learn more about our course offerings, contact CSLS today!


5 Ways to Manage Rain on the Construction Site

Rain is a fact of life in California. Sometimes, the rain is torrential and damaging. But you still have to complete work on your projects. Here are five ways that you can keep the rain from ruining your productivity on the construction site.

Watch the Weather
If you want to know what you can expect on a given day or week, you’re going to need to watch the weather. Although meteorologists aren’t perfect at predicting the future, they usually have good estimates that you can use to plan. It’s easy to download apps to your smartphone that can give you updated estimates on the chances of rain and the level of precipitation on an hourly basis. If you know there’s a big storm coming in, or the likelihood of flooding, you can plan ahead. That way, you’re not caught by surprise and forced to leave in the middle of a task.

Know Flood Safety Practices
If you live in an area with heavy rains on occasion, it’s easy to assume that you can get around them. The problem is that lots of people put their lives in danger by making assumptions based on past experience. Every person who has to get rescued because they thought their vehicle could push through the flood is taking a big risk. Water doesn’t have to be deep to knock you over, or render your vehicle immovable. Instead, stick to these and other common water safety practices:

  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Avoid walking in flood waters without protection
  • Keep your vehicle on land

It only takes once for a simple mistake to turn into a tragedy.

Communicate Expectations
Once you have an understanding of the weather for the week, be sure to communicate this information and your expectations to the other members of your team. When you’re a business owner with a lot of responsibilities, it’s easy to forget that other people may not have the information that you have. If you know about rain in the forecast or the possibility of flooding, you should talk to your team about ways that you can manage it. Be clear that you want everyone to remain safe, and follow best practices to avoid danger. It’s better to have everyone take a different route to the construction site than to force a shortcut and not get there at all.

Establish Drainage
In certain parts of California, rain can accumulate very quickly. The best way to get rid of it is to ensure regular drainage. When you’re working on a construction site, evaluate the grading. Confirm that the land drops away from buildings, not toward. Make sure that you have a way to get water out if it starts to pool. And if all else fails, avoid working in areas that might be difficult to escape with prolonged rains or flooding.

Be Wary of Electrocution
The risk of electrocution is higher when you are dealing with rain or flooding. It’s not just that high winds or landslides can make power lines unstable. Water is an excellent conductor for electricity, and all it takes is a small amount of water in an electrified building to cause a problem. Whenever you see flooding, you need to assume that the area could have live electrical lines. Do not enter until you can confirm that the area is safe. You shouldn’t be walking through flood waters for a variety of reasons, but keeping yourself from getting electrocuted is one of the biggest.

As a construction professional, you’re going to have lots of opportunities to deal with the weather. The way that you handle them can affect the success of your business. For more information about running a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

5 Tips to Get Your Contracting Business Back on Schedule

At times, you will notice that your contracting business is running late on a project. Of course, that’s common in many parts of construction. But you don’t want it to become a habit, since it annoys clients and puts future work at risk. Here are five tips to help you get back to your original timeline.

Be Realistic About Estimates
No one enjoys being perennially behind schedule. Unfortunately, it’s a big problem in construction. When you can’t control all the factors, it is difficult to provide an estimate to clients that accurately reflects the various dependencies. The best thing that you can do in this situation is to get an accurate record of how long it takes you to do a particular task, and then add time to the estimate to provide a cushion for unexpected delays. It’s always better to delight the client with a sooner completion than to have to explain or justify a delay.

Trim Back Wasted Time
When you evaluate the various parts of your workday, you should try to maximize the amount of productivity you can get from each hour. Finding ways to eliminate wasted time can help you get more done. If you’re not sure where to start, just cutting down on waiting could make a significant difference. For example, if you spend a lot of time waiting for a delivery of materials, see if there are ways that you can change it. Choosing a different day or time for delivery, or assigning the task of waiting to an administrative employee, could allow you to continue working uninterrupted.

Plan Out Your Week
If you are the kind of person who moves through the day without a general plan, it’s not surprising that you may end up taking longer than you expected. When you can, plan out the various tasks involved in a single project. For projects that last weeks, you may need to break them up into increments that last one or two weeks. Include your time estimates for each project, to ensure that your goals for the day are realistic and achievable. Keep in mind that the plan should be useful, but it shouldn’t take over your life. If you spend hours per day just evaluating your to-do list, you probably need to try a different approach.

Consider Staggering Work Schedules
When you run a small contracting business, you may have more than one person who needs to use the same piece of equipment. You could lose a lot of productive time if one person has to sit around and wait for the other person to finish. One way to avoid this is to stagger your team’s work schedules. You don’t necessarily have to put someone on a graveyard shift. Having one person start at 7 a.m. while another person begins work at 9 a.m. could give you a decent amount of overlap, with specific hours in which each employee has dedicated access to the equipment.

Revise Your Plans
Once you make a really detailed work schedule, the last thing that you want to do is change it. But if it isn’t working for you, you’re going to have more problems by resisting the inclination to revise. Instead, if you spot a problem, act as soon as possible to correct it. If you realize you have accidentally double-booked some equipment, or assigned an employee to too many tasks, you need to fix it. After the project, it’s a good idea to look at the problems that you had with the schedule and take notes about how you improved them. That way, you don’t keep making the same mistakes.

As a contracting business owner, getting behind is a common problem. Finding a way to fix it may not be as hard as you think. For more information about becoming a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

5 Ways to Think Outside the Box for Your Contracting Business

Running a contracting business can sometimes feel like you’re lost in a crowd of people just like you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you try to think outside the box, you may come up with innovative approaches and solutions that can better meet the needs of your clients. With these tips, you’ll know how to get started.

What Is My Competition Doing Better?
When you create a business, you should spend time evaluating your competition. After all, if you don’t understand them, you’ll have a harder time figuring out how to set yourself apart. Do some research into your potential competitors, and resist the urge to find fault in everything that they do. At times, they’re going to be better at something than you are. Your job is to be honest about those instances, which could be as simple as a better social media presence or as complicated as a larger team. If you can see how they excel, you’ll have a few ideas for how you can improve.

How Is My Business Unique to the Rest?
In some areas, clients may have dozens of contractors that they can choose from on a particular task. Of course, this depends on the field, the demand, and the current state of the labor shortage. As a business owner, your goal is to be unique and memorable, always in a good way. You don’t want clients to get you confused with other contractors, because that can cost you business. Make a list of the ways that you aren’t like other contractors in the area. If you’re not sure how to answer this question, it’s all right to take time to think. Set some goals that you can work toward achieving.

Which Problems Can I Solve Better Than Others?
Thinking about the strengths of your business requires you to put your focus on the problems your prospective clients face. To do this, you’ll need to research your target demographic and learn more about them. People often come to contractors because they have a problem that they need to solve. They may not necessarily know the shape or extent of the problem, and that can be a problem in and of itself. As a contractor, you have a variety of possible solutions that you can employ on behalf of your client. You just have to make sure that your solutions can resolve those problems, as well as or better than your competition.

How Am I Staying Current With the Latest Trends in Building Practices?
When you first start working in construction as a career, you might be heavily invested in the latest trends. Over time, it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern because it seems to work well for you. But businesses that don’t know how to stay in the present tend to get left behind. Your ability to remain relevant to a modern audience may dictate whether your business has a future at all. Ask yourself what you’re doing to ensure that you always know where the construction industry is going. It might be as simple as attending conferences or hiring employees with a growth mindset.

How Can I Continue to Meet the Current Needs of Clients?
If you run a business long enough, you’ll have the opportunity to see the world changing around you. The pandemic provided a close study of this situation in real-time. Specifically, various factors of the pandemic significantly changed the way that people conceive of housing and workspaces. Their needs for commercial buildings and residential housing had to adjust in order to keep up. And now, you can see both sides of the discussion staking their claims. In a debate between the people who want to go back to the way things were and the people who want to meet clients as they are now, it’s fairly easy to see that the future will win ultimately.

Starting a contracting business is something that a lot of people want to do so that they can think outside the box. You just have to make sure that you keep doing it. To get started, visit CSLS today!