Is it every builder’s dream to go into commercial construction eventually? Probably not. There are modest builders around who enjoy the relatively small-scale pleasures of building homes. But, on the other side, there are others who have their sights set on bigger, more profitable jobs in the commercial sector. But commercial construction is not for the faint hearted, and here are five things to take into consideration if you’re thinking of going down this path.
Get it Right or End up in Court
That may sound like a bottom line rather than an opening line, but it’s a fact of life. Commercial properties are bought and rented by commercial entities with expectant shareholders, demanding managers, and eager legal teams. The pressure is therefore on constructors to deliver the goods on time, on budget, and to the agreed specification. While failure to achieve one of these for a private residential client may lead to disgruntlement, at the commercial end of the spectrum, reactions can be ferocious (and expensive).
Stay Ahead of the Game as Regards Equipment
There’s always someone wanting your slice of the cake, so it pays to be the guys with the best tools. That applies to everything from building materials to your trucks, and it’s not just the makes and models of the vehicles, it’s also the efficient running of the fleet. From articulated haulers to dump trucks, your fleet vehicles are your armada, your means of getting your expertise and raw materials to the business end.
Fortunately, there are fleet management software options that can take the guesswork out of the whole process. These ingenious systems automatically keep tabs on the nitty gritty, day-to-day matters that could escape the attention of the fleet manager, however good and dedicated they may be. You want this truckload of concrete or pipes on site at a certain time, because if it isn’t, there is going to be a knock-on effect and the day’s productivity will be damaged.
The fleet therefore must be properly maintained, and problems should be anticipated. Should that vehicle have been in the shop last week? That’s why it’s sitting on the side of the road somewhere, holding up not just the traffic but your business. The only good thing about this kind of event is that the technology will tell you exactly where this malfunctioning hunk of hardware is.
Always Have a New Idea Up Your Sleeve
If there’s one thing the public appreciates, it is innovation, and when it comes to your line of business, your clients are the public. But they may see themselves as experts to a certain extent, because for a certain period they are going to be in the construction business, albeit as customers. If you have an innovative approach and can tell them something they don’t know but which can be of benefit to them, you’re suddenly not just a good guy, but some kind of guru.
Don’t Let Them Take the Cheap Option
Customers always have one eye on how they can improve the bottom line, and that means saving money. But there are times, even when you are trying to get new customers on board, when a constructor must stick to their guns and insist on a better quality option. Sure, their suggestion, something they’re heard or read somewhere, may save them a few dollars, but if it bites them in the butt a year or two down the line, your name is going to be on the project and you will be the fall guys, the people who allowed this thing to happen.
So, just as you should genuinely suggest expensive materials or practices only if they will add value to the project in the end, so you should carefully but firmly register your objections to being a part of something that is likely to lead to a substandard conclusion. As for safety concerns, you can’t compromise on them.
Use Every Project as a Step Up and Show it in Your PR
You’ve got the best equipment money can buy, you have learned how to hire the most skilled workers you can find. You have an exemplary safety record and your contacts in the worlds of architecture and environmental awareness make you the clear leader in your field. Get your PR firm on the case and snap up all the media coverage they can. Don’t just wait for something noteworthy to happen, make those creative media types earn their corn.