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!