Hey gang, it’s a new year, and I have a news flash for you . . . . the business rules that applied last year, still apply this year. If you’re doing things right, keep doing it. If you’re doing things wrong (which you’ll know if you’re losing money, having too many problems with your clients, or spending 80 hours a week on the job), it’s time to make changes.
When it comes to estimating jobs, do the same thing, the same way, every time. Those who take this approach to fun task of estimating will see their error factor drop like a rock.
Check that your January sales and production match your company goals. This is when you get a chance to start seeing the results of all the planning you did back in November and December.
Continue assembling tax information for 2019 and get it to your CPA. This should be done as soon as you can get it all together. Ideally it was done by mid-January, but if it isn’t done yet, set a date to make it happen. Get after it and get it done. Be sure and get a time commitment from your CPA as to when they will have your returns done and ready for you to sign and pay your dues to Uncle Sam. Taxes are the price we pay for the opportunity to do business in this country.
Review your subcontractor contracts and adjust them as needed to cover any weaknesses that showed up last year. If you don’t have a subcontractor agreement, take a look at ours and get started.
The same holds true for your employee manual. If you didn’t get it done last fall, now’s the time to clean up any weak spots and have your employees review and sign an updated copy. If you don’t have an employee manual, we have one that can help you get started.
Put ads out for employees needed for anticipated spring work. There are more and more places on the web that match employees and employers. Find them and get right after the people you need. Look now before the good ones are hired by other companies. Remember to have all new employees sign your employee manual. This should be a condition of employment.
Continue placing ads for spring work (April, May, June) in whatever medium you’ve found that works for your company. If potential clients don’t know you’re available, they’ll buy from someone else. Working by referral doesn’t work long term in this industry.
Start planning ads for summer work (July, August, and September).
Production staff should be checking all of your equipment for maintenance and proper working order. Equipment can also include hand tools and vehicles. Don’t assume that something is running okay. Check it thoroughly and make the necessary repairs while you have the time. Fire it up, goose it, and see if it growls or does funny things. Blue smoke isn’t good. Now would also be a good time for you to drive each of your vehicles and make sure they are all in good operating condition and that maintenance is being performed on schedule. Check the lighting including your trailers, and check that all your licenses and paperwork are current.
While we’re thinking about tools and equipment, have you lent anything out to other contractors, or worse, to family members? Let’s get those things back and from now on if someone wants to borrow something, give them the phone number of the local equipment rental agency. No more Mr. Nice Guy or Gal. You’re running a business, and that equipment needs to be available and in top shape at all times.
Check that all your subcontractors have a current license, bond and insurance. Don’t let anyone work on a job that isn’t completely covered. Get the insurance paperwork directly from the carrier, not the sub.
Take your wife/husband on a date. How about an extended date to a warm climate?
Also, be liberal with what we used to call the Big Hug. One size fits all. No waiting. Grab your spouse and kids and give them a hug. A healthy marriage and family life helps make a healthy business.