When your construction company has reached a certain level of success in your current markets, it could be time to expand. But there are two constant obstacles that tend to hold contractors back in this stage: time and money.
Why are these such big challenges, and how can you overcome them? Find out how two innovative tools can help you achieve the growth you’re ready for.
3 Reasons Time Is Such a Struggle for Many Contractors
The race against the clock is something almost every business experiences, especially those in the construction industry. No matter how skilled you are at your trade, you can’t win every job – or even most jobs – if your team can’t get accurate proposals out the door.
1. Using manual takeoff methods or outdated takeoff software holds back even the best contractors.
An inefficient takeoff process will inevitably have you playing catch up and likely hold you back. When each takeoff and estimate takes hours to complete, and you’re always down to the wire on bid deadlines, you’re not only missing out on other projects you could have bid, but you’re also less likely to win the ones you do submit, simply because you’re not performing your best work.
2. Rework due to manual processes and human error sets you even farther back.
Paper takeoffs mean you’re manually entering all of your measurements into Excel or an estimating tool. Outdated takeoff software still means you have to transfer your takeoff data to another platform. These manual workflows duplicate tasks, taking up valuable time, and open you up to the risk of introducing errors – which then take even more of your time to find and fix mistakes.
3. Lack of communication among your team members can slow down work.
Communication among teams gets more complex as you grow. With an estimating team of just one or two people, it’s not as much of an issue, but as your team grows, not collaborating properly can take a huge toll on productivity – you might have estimators redoing work someone else has already done, or even bidding on the same jobs without knowing it.
How to Add Time Back to Your Day
Adopting a cloud-based preconstruction platform like STACK will immediately alleviate those time pressures. Why does cloud software make such an impact?
– Faster takeoffs mean you get a significant chunk of time back that you used to spend on measuring blueprints. You’ll be able to bid on more jobs, but also you can take your time for each project and make sure you’re as accurate as possible.
– The cloud offers you a single source of truth for your data, so no more time spent searching for documents or not having access to files you need if you’re offsite.
– Moving to a complete cloud solution lets you do your takeoffs, create detailed estimates, and generate professional, bid-ready proposals all in a single tool – without manual data entry or any rework, saving time and avoiding human error.
– Cloud collaboration allows teams to work on the same project simultaneously and easily check each other’s work. This is essential as you grow and becomes even more important if you open multiple branch locations.
More Time for Strategy
When you speed up takeoffs, which seems like such a small thing, what you’re also doing is giving your team time to think critically. When they’re not rushing to submit bids at the last minute and just beat that clock, they can examine projects more closely and choose the best fits to bid on.
They can look farther ahead to upcoming projects and plan accordingly, even going so far as to get information on projects in the design stage. And they can even start looking back – conducting project reviews to compare actuals to budgeted across all areas of a job.
Making this extra time for strategy and planning is what sets the best contractors apart. Once you’re consistently bidding efficiently and accurately, you can even step back and examine your markets and begin thinking about going after bigger, more lucrative jobs.
3 Finance Obstacles Contractors Often Encounter
When you are ready to go big, if you’re like most growing contractors, the next challenge you might face is financial: how can you procure materials for those bigger jobs without depleting cashflow? The problem is threefold.
1. Slow payments leave you already cash-strapped.
Construction is a notoriously slow industry when it comes to payment. You might go months after completing a job before seeing a check. In this situation, with so much outstanding cash owed to you, you’re rarely in a position to pay upfront for materials for upcoming work.
2. Supplier terms are often unrealistic for construction payment cycles.
While obtaining materials on supplier terms is common, suppliers often require payment sooner than you’re comfortably able to provide it, due to those slow payments from clients, which leaves you in a bind.
3. Banks are conservative when it comes to contractor loans.
Long approval processes, low limits, and time to fund make seeking a bank loan as a solution to materials financing a challenge. Contractors need funds quickly, and in order to take on larger projects, need less limiting terms.
A Better Way to Access the Cash You Need
Instead of traditional financing options like credit cards, lines of credit, and supplier terms, material purchase financing through a service like Billd provides an answer with longer payment terms. This type of financing helps by:
– Removing the need to invest heavily upfront
– Leveling out your cash flow from project to project
– Allowing you to take on multiple projects at a time
– Giving you the confidence to take on those bigger, higher paying jobs
– Growing your business in a predictable way without significant risk
Expand Your Toolbox, Grow Your Business
As a contractor today, you have more tools available to you than your predecessors and using them can help you catapult your business to success. When you take advantage of what technology and innovation have to offer, you can leap ahead of the competition and move your business to the next level.
Watch this webinar to learn more about how STACK and Billd can help you get there.