Common Mistakes New Contractors Make When Starting Out

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The moment you realize you have acquired and mastered a skill that people need and will pay for, the next and most exciting part of your life begins. Being a skilled contractor will open up a whole new world of opportunities for you, especially in the ever-lucrative fields of construction and engineering. In the world we live in, there is always something to build and something to fix.

Thus, as a contractor, there are a lot of contractor companies you can join, or you can even set one up on your own. Of course, offering your services to a contracting firm is simpler and much easier, but building your own brand and your own name in the industry offers greater rewards and is much more fulfilling.

If you do decide to start your own engineering or construction firm, though, make sure you avoid making the following mistakes so that you can likewise avoid joining the hundreds of contractors who fail while trying to make it big every year.

1. Spreading themselves too thin, too fast

When starting a business, regardless of its nature and industry, you should first focus on what you know. Are you knowledgeable in residential construction but not so much in building commercial and industrial spaces? Then there’s no reason for you to launch as a general construction firm, as there’s nothing wrong with starting out as a construction firm that exclusively deals with residential contracts.

Expansion can always come later. As you start, focus on strengthening your core business first.

2. Blowing capital on large, permanent investments

Since you’re in engineering and construction, you can’t entirely avoid spending money on expensive equipment, machinery, and even vehicles. The mistake here would be thinking it’s more economically sound to purchase all these things for your business from the get-go.

For your machinery and equipment needs, you should first try leasing especially if you don’t know what gear you will need the most or which ones will just be an idle asset if you purchase them.

Furthermore, for your transportation needs, explore services like the one offered by Flex Fleet rentals. This way, you can transport your people and your rented equipment anywhere across the country without breaking the bank in acquiring passenger vans and pickup trucks.

3. Failing to forge long-term partnerships

Your success as a contractor will definitely rest on how well you can keep and maintain healthy relationships. This is true as to equipment providers, hired help, and even clients, who are all bound to give you better deals for your business in the long run.

Once you find a good company to lease equipment from, competent professionals like inspectors and handymen who make business easier for you, and clients who are easy to deal with, stay on their good side — there’s always something to gain and something to learn from long, fruitful partnerships.

4. Not cashing in on government incentives

There are a lot of ways you can cut down on your business’ operational expenses, especially if you know where to look. For instance, cities would often offer tax credits and other incentives to companies whose corporate social responsibility efforts are aligned with the priorities of the city government.

Likewise, there are a lot of incentives for using solar energy. Aside from literally pulling down your energy costs, switching to clean energy may entitle you to government relief like tax incentives and allowances.

5. Unwillingness to pay the correct people

Finally, since you’ve decided to be the leader of your own contracting firm, you have to be willing to pay the right people for the job. There are a lot of partners and associates who might be willing to work with you, but since it’s your name, your capital, and your business on the line, you have to have high standards in terms of the people you allow to work with you. Otherwise, your firm’s reputation may suffer before you can even show the world what you’re capable of.

However, the services of the right people will not come cheap. You can skimp on other things, but you cannot gamble everything on people who will not carry the name of your business well.

In the end, it’s all a matter of being wise with your capital, cash flow, and business operations. You have to know what things to spend on, and what things to do away with. That’s how you remain smart and find success as a contractor.

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