If you’ve reached the point at which you’re ready to start scaling your construction business, congratulations! It’s an exciting time, but it can also be fraught with frustration and fear. The way you’ve operated in the past simply won’t work as you take on bigger and more complicated projects; increase your crews’ workload; and juggle more complex schedules, plans, and regulations.
Many, if not most, aspects of your business will need to evolve as you move up market. Here are 5 important things to consider in the preconstruction phase.
1. Transitioning to digital plans instead of printed blueprints.
If you dealt with primarily residential construction in the past, you might not be accustomed to working with blueprints. Or, if you’re used to doing just a few commercial projects per year, you may have sent plans to a print shop. But, as you scale, printing will become a drain on your finances and your processes.
You’ll need to make the move to digital plans with a takeoff software that you can grow with. Evaluate your options: you want a user-friendly interface, especially if you’re not familiar with technology, and look for something cloud-based so you don’t have to worry about document storage.
2. Accelerating your takeoff process.
Not only is printing plans cost prohibitive, once you grow and need to bid several jobs in a short period of time, measuring by hand is no longer feasible. Good takeoff software will speed up your process significantly, and it’s more accurate than a ruler. You can set your scale and then perform entire takeoffs with a few clicks of your mouse.
Quicker takeoffs lead to a steadier backlog of projects and more profitability as you open up space for strategy and analysis rather than playing catch-up.
3. Streamlining your estimating and formal proposal process.
As you grow, your estimating process needs to evolve as well. No more guesswork – you need a tool where you can store your material lists as items and assemblies for use across multiple projects; a tool that allows you to get granular with your cost data and account for waste, labor, and other indirect costs; and a tool that helps you calculate your profit margin with ease.
What’s your proposal process look like right now? As you scale your business, imagine having the ability to generate a professional, bid-ready proposal directly from your detailed estimate, using a template that pulls your company logo and terms and conditions. This is how successful contractors make a great impression.
4. Developing your team’s digital collaboration capabilities.
Spreading out blueprints on a table to check someone’s work or get clarification may have worked in the past, but if you want a team that’s successful working with the larger players in the industry, you’ll need to go digital. Cloud-based tools allow you to support remote work and permit multiple users to access plans, specs, and other documents at once, so your team doesn’t have to wait to do their jobs.
As you grow, your team can specialize into those who perform takeoffs versus those who build assemblies versus supervisors who can check for accuracy before signing off on a bid – all within a single platform that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and from any device.
5. Choosing technology partners to help foster continued growth.
As you begin to scale, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the software that’s available to you. Deciding which solutions you need and which you can do without is challenging. Evaluate platforms based on how much they can offer you – instead of using two or three solutions to do separate tasks, is there one platform that will combine them?
An all-in-one solution for preconstruction, for example, will allow you to perform takeoffs, seamlessly convert measurements into detailed estimates, and then generate proposals, all without leaving the software. Check on integrations, partnerships, and open API options with your potential solutions too, so you know how they will fit in your existing workflow. Make sure you’re making your tools work for you, not the other way around.