Check that your June sales and production numbers match your company goals. If you are behind your goals, figure out why and make the needed changes. We’re now about halfway through the most productive time of the year as far as new leads go, and if you are not on or ahead of your goals, you need to figure out why and get it corrected. This is not a project one can ignore if you want to meet your company goals for the year. This needs to get done.
It is also time to refocus and get sales in the door. It’s not too late to put an advertising program together for late summer if you haven’t already. Customers will not call if they don’t know you exist. Forget the idea that you can work by referrals. That is a good way right out of this business.
Check the markup used for the first half of the year and be sure you are making the minimum 8% net profit. If not, adjust your markup to reach your profit goals. Waiting until October or November makes catch up very difficult and by then you are eating into your profits for the year. We have a simple software program, the Markup Calculator, that helps you calculate your markup.
While we are thinking of it, have you checked your actual job costs and compared them to your estimated job costs? If your error factor is more than 2% max, you have some work to do. One of the ways you can reduce your error factor on your estimates is to add your error factor into your estimates. We talk about how to calculate your error factor and improve your estimates in the book Estimating Construction Profitably.
Have you updated your employee manual recently? If not, take a look at ours. In today’s market place, an employee manual is a must. If you don’t have one, you are at risk.
You should be planning ads for fall work (October, November and December). Are you going to run any specials for the holidays this year? If you are, now is a good time to get that planning done and put dates on when to place the ads.
Also, we have talked here for several years about taking the installation classes offered by the companies that make holiday lighting equipment. If you’re considering any of these classes, now would be a good time to find out more. This is a very good way to pick up some extra work during the holiday season when your leads typically go way down. You have a bunch of former clients you can call on, and they’ve already purchased your services at least once.
Check the maintenance schedule for your office building. Anything need doing? Piles of building materials, trailers full of trash, old job signs, beat up vehicles should be cleaned up or gotten rid of. Plant some flowers or shrubs, wash your office windows, touch up or repaint your building. What does your company signage look like? Make it look nice. You only get one chance to make a good impression on your potential new clients.
Put a note in your employee’s pay envelope, reminding them that you need plenty of notice (at least 30 days) before any vacation time. While we are on the subject of time off, if they want to go hunting this fall, you’ll need at least 30 days notice for that time off as well. Hunting season happens right when you’re trying to get jobs wrapped up for the year and preparing for pre-holiday work. You don’t want or need surprise vacations then.
Check that all your subcontractors license, bond and insurance are up to date. Same tune, same verse, always an issue. Remember to get the info from the subcontractors agents or underwriters directly.
If you notice any of your sub or specialty contractors starting to ask for money as soon as they’re done with the job, that can be a sign of financial problems. Take them aside and tell them of your concern. Tell them to give us a call or read Markup & Profit Revisited if they are having problems. Cash flow problems, if not dealt with, can eventually cause your sub to go out of business and you’ll be looking for a replacement. It might also mean you’ll have to figure out how to finish any jobs they’ve started. Help them now and save yourself the time and money later.
Do you have a subcontractor agreement? Stay on top of it; get started with ours.
Be sure that you don’t acquire the two big sins in construction: Inventory and Invoicing (Accounts Receivable).
Have some fun this summer, go fishing. And try this: fall in love again with your wife/husband/significant other. Remember your first date? Go back and start all over again. Keep the sparkle in your relationship.