Deciding to pursue a career as an independent contractor is no small feat to take on. The world of construction is highly competitive, and many people are already loyal to one specific company, which makes it difficult to build a customer base. However, building a reputation as a reliable and efficient contractor can allow you to maintain a steady flow of work into your business. You must be pragmatic and organized in order to ensure that the services you provide are dependable. Here are essential tips to help you improve the overall quality of your contracting business.
The easiest way to attract and keep customers is to be readily available to them as much as you can. Of course, you cannot be on-call to your clients 24/7, but there are ways of ensuring that you can communicate effectively with them at all times. First of all, you must be clear on your office hours. You should include these hours on all of your correspondences and advertising to avoid any confusion. Furthermore, you should have systems in place that allow for clear communication, even when you are not in the office. You can route office calls to your mobile when you are away during opening hours. Consider setting up an automated email response for messages received outside of office hours, reassuring your client that you will reply within 24 hours. Efficient communication goes a long way and will help you avoid dealing with frustrated customers.
The importance of equipment maintenance cannot be understated when it comes to maintaining the productivity of your contracting business. You want to make sure that nothing is out of commission; otherwise, this will impact your efficacy on getting jobs done in a timely manner. Your semi-trucks are the lifeblood of your business, as without them you cannot get out to your clients. To avoid sudden breakdowns, you should implement a preventative maintenance checklist for each semi-truck. Document this list carefully as you will want to catch any issue in your semi-trucks before it becomes a major problem, as time spent at the mechanics can severely damage your output and repair costs can drain your finances.
Even if you are a general contractor, you may not be an expert in everything. However, people really appreciate it when someone goes above and beyond for them. If you are a plumber working on a leak and you notice another minor issue within the house, you should also try fix that problem to the best of your ability. In doing this, you can show the transferable skills you possess, and you can save your client doing it themselves or calling another contractor. This will reflect well on your business as it shows you care about client satisfaction.
Watch Your Finances
In order to keep your ship running smoothly, your finances must be in tip-top shape. Keep an eye on all the money that is coming in and going out of your business. When accepting jobs, make sure and account for all expenses, such as overheads and additional costs, before giving your clients a quote. Budget as much as you can to ensure you are never losing more money than you earn. Always keep on top of your invoices, otherwise you may run into financial issues.
Build a Skilled Team
Two hands are better than one, and you should consider taking on a couple of employees to help you with the workload. This will allow you to take on more projects and you will be able to complete them faster. You should try and hire people with different skillsets, as they may be able to teach you a couple of things. You should also think about the elements of the business that are not as labor forward, like legal and accounting. There are several reasons why construction businesses should consult legal professionals and some of them you might not even realize. Likewise, daily bookkeeping and tax prep are things that you won’t want to fall behind on, so outsourcing these facets might make the most sense.
Preparation is the key to building an efficient business. Before taking on any job, you must ensure that you are suitably prepared to do so. Plan each job out methodically and double check you have all the necessary parts and equipment. If you fail to do this, it can cost you time and money. If you find you are missing a part to complete a kitchen fitting, you may have to wait days or weeks for it to be shipped in. Through careful preparation, you can avoid unnecessary bumps in the road that could damage your reputation as a reliable contractor.