Creating a safe and productive work environment is a crucial part of any business setup — without those foundations and objectives, you’ll ultimately doom your business to numerous pitfalls. This is especially true of businesses within the construction industry.
The reason these aspects of the job become even more paramount is because of the type of work you and your employees are dealing with. Arguably, this is due to how varied construction is, e.g. there’s a lot of services that make up the different businesses within it. As a result, there’s a lot of potential for growth, but also for areas of your business to go awry if you don’t carefully organise and supply your business well with the right trade essentials.
Regardless of what stage of the process you’re at, you need to double check you have all the trade essentials checked off of the list before you venture any further. Even if you’re coming up fast to opening day, there’s still much that can be done to ensure you meet and exceed all your business expectations. If in doubt, go back to the beginning and see what trade essentials you need.
Stable finance options
It should go without saying that finances make up the main foundation of any business; if you lack a stable stream of money, you could suffer numerous delays before and after launch. Neither of which instills confidence in customers and your peers. Consequently, you need to have a sufficient amount of funds as soon as possible.
For a lot of individuals, this sort of capital will come from a loan, however, you can also take less traditional routes, such as borrowing from friends and family. No matter the route you opt for, you need to make sure that the money available can handle the weight of such an investment heavy venture. After all, construction involves a lot of equipment, much of which is highly expensive and large in size. If you genuinely can’t afford to purchase these times and instead decide to rent equipment, you need to be aware that the cost won’t be much cheaper.
The SWOT approach
This may sound like an insult you’d throw around in a classroom, but the SWOT technique is actually a highly valued means of analysis. Essentially, the concept is centred around identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential threats to your business; it prompts you to take into account all variables and not just the more favourable ones, such as strengths.
Even if the idea of your business is still vague, you need to start taking charge and begin fine tuning your business venture. For example, are you already a trained tradesman or do you need to undergo more training? Ideally, you want to be bringing a certain skill set to the table to better grasp industry expectations, but there’s also room for you to learn as you develop your business.
One of the best ways of ironing out these details is to chat to someone else within the same industry or a similar one. By informing them of your idea to launch a business, you can get some honest feedback on their thoughts, while also asking them questions. This may end up being a conversation with someone who will eventually become part of the competition, but that doesn’t decrease the insider value they can give you.
What type of business?
Once you have greater insight into the current landscape of the industry, you can then start to draw up a detailed plan of what your company will become. This means you need to be decided, or close to deciding, on whether you’ll be a commercial contractor or a small renovations one, as well as determining whether you’ll be an owner-builder company. The latter term means that you’ll chiefly construct property for your own ends, e.g. property developer.
As you can see, there’s a lot of ways your company can proceed, even after getting some insider tips. Therefore, you need to make this decision before going any further. Once you determine which type of business you’ll be, you can better organise other details of your business.
For example, if you intend to start a general construction company, you’re going to need a base to work from, whereas if you deal with small renovations/projects, you’ll be able to work from your own home. From there, you then need to explore whether being a sole trader or a limited company is of more benefit to you and the business you envision.
Know the regulations of the trade
Now that you have a firmer grasp of the direction you intend to take your business, you need to start investigating and learning more about the regulations you need to adhere to. Unfortunately, with this type of business, not having the right licensing and/or procedures in place will ensure you fail before you’ve properly begun.
This is even more true when you have a team of individuals working for you; health and safety come into play with any type of construction company, however, as a sole trader you only have to be concerned about yourself. The moment you add more bodies into the mix, the importance of regulations increases tenfold, including matters such as personal protective equipment, aka PPE.
In truth, you should already recognise the importance of such trade essentials, even if you’re only going to be conducting business by yourself. Without the proper attire and protective equipment, accidents are going to befall either yourself or your workers, which will have a detrimental effect on how your business is received.
There are five main bases you need to cover when learning more about PPE: head, hearing, hands, eyes/face, and then finally respiratory. If you’re completely at a loss as to what equipment is better suited to you and your company’s needs, you need to browse the wares of PPE Supplies Direct or similar. These types of services cover a wide range of trades, meaning you can get a better overview of how others in your industry are keeping their workforce safe and healthy. Safety of workers is one of the most important trade essentials you need to consider.
Hiring and subcontracting
As you move into the later stages of your business planning, you need to firmly understand who your workforce will be comprised of, e.g. are you going to hire everyone, or hire a select few and then subcontract the rest? Both options have their benefits and cons, which is why a lot of construction businesses tend to combine the two rather than deciding on one or the other.
Of course, when you combine these two, you need to do so in a logical way. Take tradesmen, for example, you may have your own small pool of workers, but for the most part, you’ll likely subcontract for larger projects. However, when it comes to personnel like admin, you’ll want to keep to the more traditional aspects of hiring rather than utilising another company’s employees.
A lot of this is common sense, but that doesn’t mean that what works for one business will automatically work for you, and so you need to consider the types of jobs you’ll initially be taking on. For most startups, it’s likely your projects will be on the smaller side, meaning that subcontracting won’t come until much later on, once you’ve developed more.
Optimise marketing — Know your customers
Marketing your business correctly is an element of business that will play a huge part no matter where you are on your journey. Poor marketing, coupled with a lack of understanding of your target audience, will result in your business stagnating and being outdone by competitors.
Therefore, you need to consider the type of business you are, e.g. commercial contractor, and then learn who your customer base will be, which in this instance would be property owners and development companies. Your customers for this type of construction will differ greatly to your customers if you work in renovating repossessed properties.
Imagine you’re creating social media content to showcase your specialist skills — you need to highlight the benefits of someone employing you. If you want a bank to utilise your services for a repossessed property, then you don’t want to create content that discusses commercial sites because it gives the wrong impression to your followers. To ensure you don’t run into these pitfalls, you need to either brush up on marketing trends and/or employ someone to help your business reach its full potential.
The benefits of being your own boss and creating a respected business are second to none, however, you need to know what to expect if you’re to succeed. To experience success early on, make sure to follow the above guide on trade essentials at every stage of the way.