Construction Monkey

Construction Blog

As subcontractors, especially during tough economic times, sales is a tougher and tougher battle. In the US there are approximately 800,000 specialty subcontractors, which means that whatever line of business you are in, there is a line of competitors for each every opportunity out there. So how do you sell a job? Low price becomes the quick and simple answer, since the economy has changed it ......

By now most of us have seen the change order and contract boat image that has been circulating around the internet over the past several years. The big boat is rightly called the change order and the small dingy is called "Original Contract". This brings forward a very interesting question about how people think. When you view the image it enters into your mind that this must be Contractor's set-up ......

Measurements are critical to good construction. Not just in constructing walls, placing tiles, and balancing mechanical systems, but also in tracking contractor's performance on the project. A minute cannot go by where workers are not measuring boards, conduits, walls, concrete volumes, and hundreds of other things on a construction site, but are contractors measuring things for their own betterment? ......

One of the largest complaints I hear is "the quality of the workforce is not what it used to be". Whether I am talking to union or non-union, family owned or large business, the message continues to be the same. Besides each generation believing that they are the best generation, is there any truth to this claim? I think so. I don't have any raw statistics to give an accurate assessment, but from ......

For those of us in the construction industry, we know the Estimators that are more cynical than the average Joe. They appear to be more prevalent than the fun loving young estimator. The duties of an Estimator change that fun loving young kid into the cynic through years of performing one of the most difficult jobs in construction. So what makes it such a difficult job? The most difficult part of ......

Measurements are critical to good construction. Not just in constructing walls, placing tiles, and balancing mechanical systems, but also in tracking contractor's performance on the project. A minute cannot go by where workers are not measuring boards, conduits, walls, concrete volumes, and hundreds of other things on a construction site, but are contractors measuring things for their own betterment? ......

If you have been involved in bidding work you have probably at one point in time been apart of the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) routine. In private work it is typically called "scoping out" the sub numbers. It is a process where you are expected to give your best and final proposal for the work after you have turned in your actual bid number. It may be preceded with a list of questions or changes in ......

Well, we are almost done. We have now compiled all of our revenue and gross margin amounts for our 2010 year. You should have a spreadsheet that has totals that mirrors the following: Revenue Jan Feb etc... Flow $3,000 $3,000 $3,100 Backlog $2,000 $2,500 $4,000 Pipeline $600 $2,900 $3,400 Total $5,600 $8,400 $10,500 Gross Margin Jan Feb etc... Flow $300 $300 $310 Backlog $200 $250 ......

So what does it take to be a good estimator? Being great with numbers? Having a desire to color on drawings all day? There are a few key traits I have found in my career that really separate the great estimators from the rest of them. Let's recall how I defined an estimator's job as: finding the lowest cost solution to the project as would be acceptable to the client while identifying the potential ......

When managers in construction start beating the drum of more production, the message that is typically received from the crews is “you need to be working harder”. While this may be true in some instances, most of the time this is not what is being said. In construction, especially for subcontractors that are performing the labor, money is made or lost in the amount of work being put in per hour charged ......

Typically the Get Work activity for a project in construction is focused 95% on getting the "right" number and 5% on showcasing that number to the client (i.e. the proposal). Most companies don't have a Get Work department or Business Development; instead they have an estimating department. Why is that? It is confusing to me, because most contractors insist that they sell work by having the most complete ......

If you are bidding work out there, you are going to be a price taker and not a price setter. In fact throughout the construction industry whether it is bidding, negotiated, time and material, or any other means of procurement you are a price taker and not a price setter. What do I mean by price taker? Someone where their price is dictated by others whereas price setters dictate the price of their ......

So what does weight loss and construction productivity have in common? If you track the inputs you are much more likely to get better results. In 2008, a study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that shows that keeping a “food diary” may double your weight loss. What they actually found was that the more participants recorded what they ate, the more weight they lost in the ......

Business management for years has taken the advice of statisticians: that if you don’t or can’t measure something, then you can't manage it. In construction, this simple truth is the key to being successful. Management of bidding, projects, labor, or profits is not just a group of tasks that you must perform, it is taking in facts, analyzing those facts, coming to conclusions, taking action, and then ......

For subcontractors, the best way to control and increase profit is by managing labor productivity. Too often, project managers, foreman, and executives focus on material buyouts, squeezing subcontractors, and cutting back on overhead to make gains on profits, but these actions pale in comparison to what can be accomplished by having highly productive labor. There is no doubt money to be made by being ......