As a subcontractor, you have the benefit of choosing projects that will be the most beneficial to you. With high-quality work and affordable bids, you have the opportunity to take on projects that will produce a high profit for you or your firm. However, although you have the advantage of choice, general contractors are making a constant effort to increase subcontract engagement on bid day. With that comes increased competition, especially for startup subcontractors and firms.
So the question is, as a beginning subcontractor or company, how do you position yourself to take on consistent and high-paying projects? If you are looking for strategic business practices to propel your subcontractor career forward, then check out these five strategies below.
1. Expand Your Experience
The best thing you can do to position yourself well in the industry and remain consistently competitive is to expand on your current experience. This can be through learning from your existing network or by completing a formal training program. Many trade associations and colleges offer programs in construction with skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced. You can also build your credibility with the additional training and credentials you acquire. If you are a beginner subcontractor, you can utilize your education and experience to obtain a license that will allow you to work in a niche specialization.
To further improve specialized skills, many industry professionals will start by working for reputable home warranty companies to master their craft in a more intimate setting. You can gain experience in your niche and a wide range of system types and still have the freedom to maintain your freelance work style. You can obtain valuable insight into the types of lucrative projects that are out there before you’re fully on your own.
Even if you have hands-on experience in your specialization, you should still take time to educate yourself and improve where you can potentially increase profit on your projects. Learn from your connections and colleagues to gain more tips on lead generation and insights on how to keep up with manufacturers and suppliers on the latest materials and best practices.
2. Develop a Business Structure
Whether you are a sole proprietor or own an entire firm, you should develop or assess your business structure. Especially as an independent contractor, this is often forgotten, but it is a necessary step. You can easily lose control without developing a structure. However, with some order in place, you can ease business operations and create profit for your business down the line. Therefore, it is essential that each branch of your business is accounted for.
To ensure that operations are managed properly, delegate employees to execute tasks in specific departments. Don’t hesitate to hire fresh talent to bring new perspectives to your company and motivate your team. Work together to improve sales efficiencies and generate more leads through digital and local marketing campaigns.
3. Create a Robust Financial Plan
As a beginner in the industry, you have to create an in-depth and effective budget plan in order to stay afloat amongst the competition. In order to create a holistic financial plan, it is essential to look at some key areas of operating a business. Being well-versed in potential overhead costs, fixed and variable expenses, and market fluctuations can help you to be prepared and make the best strategic decisions for your career.
One specific financial step to consider is an alternative way to finance materials. Because of the long payment cycles common to the construction industry, paying for materials upfront is often tough, especially for newer contractors. Business loans can be difficult to obtain, and high-interest credit cards are less than ideal for large material orders. To give yourself more flexibility and the space to bid on larger projects, you can try a material financing option like Billd, which will pay for your materials upfront while offering you extended payment terms.
With a well thought out plan, you can set yourself up for more financial freedom, which ultimately equates to more opportunities in the future.
4. Adopt Technology
Technology can certainly help improve processes within your company and save you time and money. One type of software that can boost efficiencies is subcontractor bidding software. The software is conveniently cloud-based and can be beneficial for your business in many ways. Subcontractor bidding software helps you to keep up with the competition by helping you make more bids in less time. Other benefits are increased opportunity for consistent work, improved team alignment, and better communication.
In addition, you can help further improve efficiencies and organization through a field management solution. Leveraging a field management solution can help streamline a variety of processes such as daily reports, time, and production tracking. This tool can help you prevent communication silos by keeping all of your important documents, details, and correspondences integrated. Whatever your specialty, being proficient in the latest platforms can empower you to get more time back in your day and ultimately more bids.
5. Join a Contracting Network
Finding success within the contracting community is often about who you know. For a startup subcontractor or firm, it’s important to grow your network quickly to provide you with greater opportunities in the future. Joining a contracting network is a great way to build your skill sets. Take advantage of your community network by paying close attention to what fellow professional subcontractors are up to. Keep up on their latest tips, techniques, and best practices that you can apply to your own business. You may be surprised by how many great resources are already surrounding you and are at your disposal. The community can help you improve your ability to make more accurate pricing decisions, find the best general contractors, and discover tools that will set you up for success.
Starting an independent contractor or subcontractor firm is no easy task. Thankfully, however, with a commitment to quality work, a developed business structure, a strong financial plan, appropriate technology usage, and industry connections, you can save yourself from a lot of pitfalls along the way. In addition to these tips, developing your own personal strategies will make your business stand out, and lead you to your first contract in no time.
Need tips on how to seek out new projects to bid? As you’re developing your network, try some of these online tools for finding new construction projects.