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Seven Secrets to Success In Commercial Construction

Commercial construction is a tough business.  Complications can hit you from every angle.  That’s why many companies don’t make it past two years.  Longevity is typically a good sign of a construction company that is doing things right, understands how to prevent and deal with obstacles, and goes the extra mile to be thorough and honest in all their dealings and transactions. There are certain traits that propel a company to success in commercial construction, and this article presents seven of them.

1. Decide On What You Want And Why

If you want to become or grow as a commercial construction company, then flesh out your mission and your vision.  Steven R. Covey calls it, “Begin with the end in mind.” Look ahead and describe what your company and life are like in 20 or 30 years.  This will help you set both long and short-term goals; it will also define you and your company so there is no doubt in your mind and in the public’s mind who you are and what you’re good at.

2. Form A Group Of Advisors

Find advisors who understand your vision, form a group, and brainstorm ways to accomplish it.  Generate goals and to-do lists for working toward the goals. When making a to-do list that harmonizes with your goals and values, prioritize the tasks so do the more important things before the less important.

3. Daily Education and Personal Improvement

Include education and personal improvement in your daily life.  In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s called “Sharpen the Saw.”  You are your most valuable asset, so don’t let yourself get rusty and dull.  Read good books, enjoy good friends and family, keep yourself “physically fit, mentally awake, and morally straight,” as the Boy Scout Oath states.

4. Build Your Company With Pillars

Build your company with pillars which hold up the many aspects of a successful business in commercial construction:

  • accounting
  • marketing
  • public relations
  • research and development
  • skilled human resources

And the list goes on. Then, find experienced people to help you achieve your mission.

5. Pay What You Promise

Make sure you can pay your subcontractors what is promised.  Nothing kills a project faster than a reputation of not paying subcontractors the right amount and on time.  If you are unable to pay the subs until you get paid, then discuss that with the subs before signing the contract.  The subcontractor needs to know verbally and in print exactly how and when to expect payment. Also, if you are a subcontractor, be sure to make your own schedule and give it to the general contractor or construction manager.  They need to incorporate your plan into their plans, rather than arbitrarily giving you your schedule.

6. Know Landmark Building

One area of commercial construction involves landmark building.  If you pursue landmark construction projects, be aware that more permits than from the city are required.  If the building will achieve both city and state landmark status, then both will have to approve it. And many cities have commissions on city landmarks, which also must often issue the permit.  Landmark projects also affect the surrounding buildings and businesses, so address that as well.

7. Network

Network for highly skilled subs and craftsmen.  It takes some time to get acquainted with other construction professionals in a region, but you can do it by asking and searching online.  Attend trade shows and expos to see some of the newest materials. Technology and ingenuity are always creating more choices in construction materials.  Spending time interviewing other residential and commercial construction contractors and subs is worth more than gold.  City councils also will have useful opinions and recommendations.  School districts, mall superintendents, recreation center managers, and growing businesses have good information to share.  If your company does quality work, people will find out. If it doesn’t, even more people will find out.