Build a successful Contracting Business

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It’s time to get that construction business going. A new year means new goals & new challenges, so now is the time to get your business back on the ball!

Make 2019 the most successful year yet, by following our hacks & hints on how to boost your building business. So, you can look back one day and say “2019 was the year it all started”.

WHERE TO START?

1) DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND FOR YOUR CONTRACTING BUSINESS

What is a personal brand? Think of a strong successful brand the same way you would imagine a healthy human body.

Download this chart here

2) WANT TO GROW YOUR CONTRACTING BUSINESS? PREP YOUR FINANCES:

  • Set up a safety net – Ensure that you are in a comfortable financial position to reboot your business. Start saving several months’ worth of income long before you even start your planning, so you have a cash cushion to fall back on if the things go South. 
  • Do your research – Do you know what impact the current Rand value andemployment rate has on your business? The country’s financial climate affects the construction sector holistically (e.g. Prices of resources & labour, etc.), so keep that in mind when rebooting your business budget.
  • Calculate labour costs – Start with the question: “What would YOU pay someone to do this for you?” Being a variable cost, it would mean that you need to accurately assess the comprehension & expertise of your employees, so that you can figure out a fair costing. Factor in taxes & expenses (which can be the majority of this costing), as well as overheads (e.g. office space, equipment, etc)
  •  Establish your billing rate – Finding the perfect middle ground for your billing rate is essential. You don’t want to overcharge and risk losing clients to more competitive businesses, but you also don’t want to undercharge and risk losing precious business capital. Calculate this by adding your labour costs to your available working hours (exclude non-billable times such as admin hours, vacation & sick days). Then factor in profits (e.g. markups) and losses. 
  • Chat to us – Step into your nearest BUCO and speak to one of our financial or project planning experts to find more ways to save your business from insolvency.

3) WHAT’s THE SECRET TO RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL CONTRACTING BUSINESS? CUT COSTS BUT DON’T CUT CORNERS.

“Any building and any structural element or component” must “provide strength, stability, serviceability and durability”.

- South African National Building Regulations

Do it right the first time. As a respected Construction Business, your services and materials are going to have to adhere to the South African National Building Regulations (NBR) and the SABS. This means that it will not only be bad for business if you cut too many corners on construction, it will actually be illegal.

It is possible, however, to build on a slimmer budget while using quality materials. This is where it would be wise to pop into your nearest BUCO and chat to one of our friendly staff to help you pick the best products at the best prices.

A BUCO-supplied building business is boosted for success.

4) BE WISE & ORGANISE – HOW TO RUN YOUR CONTRACTING BUSINESS MORE EFFFICIENTLY

  • ACCOUNTS & FINANCES – It is essential to manage your business’ finances efficiently, and nowadays the only way to do this is by investing in quality Bookkeeping Software. Some top options include Sage and GnuCash, and some FREE options include Money Manager Ex & TurboCASH 
  • ADMIN – The costs of hiring an admin assistant is not always available. In these instances, it’s better to invest in comprehensive software solutions that can take care of the nitty-gritty details such as payroll, time & attendance, etc. Some great admin packages include PayDay, BOSEnterprise and Sage 50 HR. For a project management tool try GanttProject. There are plenty more free and paid options available online.

5) BE LEGIT - BECOME A CERTIFIED CONTRACTOR

If you are going to establish a successful building business that wants to be taken up seriously, it is essential to get your business licensed. Besides the legal implications, there are a host of benefits when you become a licensed member of the building society:

BENEFITS:
  • Your business is protected by a legal national body 
  • You are automatically put into the loop of construction connoisseurs 
  • Your business gains a whole new level of respectability in the eyes of any new potential clients 
  • You are ensured a fair share of the pie when it comes to government tender jobs 
  • You and your staff get signed up for product training seminars, etc. 
  • You get backed up by a strong body of legal representation 

To find out more about getting your building business certified, check out Master Builders South Africa and Small Contractors South Africa.

A good start would also be to visit your nearest BUCO and speak to one of our contracting experts, to plan your best step forward.

6) DRAW UP A MARKETING PLAN FOR YOUR CONTRACTING BUSINESS

Drawing up a marketing plan isn’t just another excuse to sit in a boardroom and call a meeting. The benefits of a well thought out marketing plan are numerous. It gets everyone in your organisation on the same page, it ensures operations flows seamlessly, it allows your business to work proactively and think ahead, it opens helps manage resources better, it even helps your customers get the most out of your business. Here is an infographic to help guide you through the process:

Download this chart here

7) GET SMART. GET SOCIAL

Finally, a strong, well-planned social media strategy does not have to be a daunting task that takes up all your precious time. Don’t waste time. From the get-go, establish these 3 key factors:

  1. What do your clients want to see?
  2. What do you want to show your customers?
  3. How can you do it in an entertaining or informative way? (i.e. How can your Social Media page create value for your clients?)

Then carefully map out some great content for your social media page to post, and schedule it to upload at the best times for your clients, so they are sure not to miss out on your valuable messaging. To ensure you don’t have to sit in-front of the computer 24 hours a day to post at exactly the right time, utilise a content scheduler to pre-schedule content to upload to your social media at designated times. A great post schedule manager for multiple social media platforms at once, is Postcron. A similar facility for sending e-mails in Gmail & Chrome is Boomerang.

Check out our BUCO Facebook page for examples on great content marketing.

Luckily, when it comes to quality supplies and advice, BUCO has you covered. Get all the game-changing buildware & in-house expertise you’ll need to get your business going. Find your nearest BUCO here.

8) WORD OF MOUTH IS A CONTRACTOR’S ALLY – HERE’s HOW TO:

Three words: word of mouth. It is the most powerful form of advertising. No matter how many online marketing ventures you execute for your business. No matter how many billboards and banners you lay out, nothing promotes your business better than praise from satisfied customers.

Always play to your strengths and see what you can offer that others don’t. Follow this 4-step process to carve out a unique positioning for your business:

  1. Look at your competitors – Scope the scene: online, in the outside world, in the media, everywhere. What are your competitors doing? What works for them? What doesn’t?
  2. Look at your potential customers – What is your target market getting from your competitors? What are their desires? Free online surveys & low-cost giveaway marketing schemes (e.g. “Get 10% Discount on your first project with us if you fill out this quick survey”, Customer satisfaction surveys, etc.)
  3. What do they want? – Compile a comprehensive list of services and products your business could possibly provide. Then, compile a complete list of products and services your competitors are providing their customers. Compare the two lists. What is your target market not getting from the competition?
  4. Give them that – Create a marketing campaign for your business surrounding that unique aspect of your business. Strive to be the best in your field, and the customers will come.

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