Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

Tips for Reducing Costly Delays in the Contracting Business

Model of home in progress and calculator to demonstrate costs of construction delays

Posted by: Holly Welles, The Estate Update
Published: May 28, 2019

A construction project is a combination of many moving parts. If a member of your crew neglects his or her responsibilities, it has repercussions for the company as a whole. Of course, negligence isn't the only reason for delays and downtime.

A sudden storm can take you by surprise, throwing your schedule into chaos. Or, the pressures of the competitive bidding process can propel you forward with only partial financing. In short, a long list of things can go wrong in the contracting business.

So, how can you preempt these problems and revise your current practices? What steps should you take to prepare for issues before they happen? When you follow the five suggestions listed below, you'll ensure the present and future success of your company.

1. Overestimate the time you'll need.

Inaccurate scheduling isn't uncommon in the construction industry. With unexpected change orders and scope creep, it's all too easy to underestimate the amount of time you'll need. An overestimation will keep you safe.

While you shouldn't dramatically overestimate the timeframe for a project, a slight one is often beneficial. It's far better than the alternative where you're unable to meet client expectations due to delays. You'll reduce that risk and preserve the reputation of your company when you give yourself a reasonable amount of leeway.

2. Have a communication plan.

Your employees have to remain in close communication throughout a project to ensure its completion. A construction project is a combination of many moving parts, and they all have to work together to keep it from falling apart.

If an employee encounters an issue with a subcontractor or vendor, how quickly can they contact your site managers? More than that, how soon will you hear about the problem so you can address and resolve it? Consider these questions as you review and refine your communication plan, making changes where necessary.

Free Guide: 23 Simple Strategies to Grow Your Contracting Business Today.

3. Schedule routine maintenance.

Routine maintenance will keep your equipment in working condition, avoiding the high costs associated with repair work. A proactive approach is always preferable to damage control, so make it a point to regularly check your machinery for any issues.

As you assess your equipment, look for signs of wear and tear and attend to them as soon as possible. That hairline crack may seem unassuming at first glance, but it'll likely grow unless you give it your full attention. With a plan for routine maintenance, you'll repair these smaller problems and increase uptime for your construction projects.

4. Carefully manage your materials.

Construction workers often handle material multiple times before placing it in its final location. Naturally, this results in wasted time and effort. It also has the potential to increase safety hazards on a jobsite, harming more than just your productivity.

You can prevent material mismanagement by developing a program. It should focus on an efficient layout for your site with your materials close to their eventual placement. When you inform your workers about the cost of items, order them on a just-in-time basis and document any obstructions. You'll begin to see an improvement in your productivity.

5. Have full financing in place.

When you have financing in place before your project begins, you'll reduce the risk of budget issues and delays. Of course, it isn't such a simple subject. You'll occasionally have to compromise to come out ahead in the competitive bidding process.

Unfortunately, this small concession early on can escalate into a serious issue. If you overspend, the project you've received will start to feel like more trouble than it's worth. Despite these setbacks, you can lower the chance of delays with budgeting software, which will enable you to allocate your money more effectively.

How Can Contractors Reduce Delays?

If your company is currently struggling with productivity, you're not alone. It's an industry-wide issue, and you aren't going to find a perfect solution. There are a variety of obstacles that can create problems, including weather, communication, and maintenance. To overcome all of these delays requires a project management plan equipping your business to handle each as they come along.

With that in mind, evaluate your available options. Whether you refine your communication plan, adjust your maintenance schedule, develop a program for material management, or follow another suggestion on this list, you can make strides in reducing costly delays that hold your contracting business back.