Sun, 15 November 2015
How you should think differently about construction estimating
Some new strategies you need to embrace and some systems you can use to become an entrepreneurial estimator.
Offering "Free Estimates" is like a car dealership offering free test drives. It's time to stop thinking of it as "estimating," and start calling it selling, business development or revenue generation.
Common frustrations from construction estimators and business owners:
"I send out a lot of estimates, but they don't go anywhere."
"I want to get more private and negotiated work, but I don't get invited to bid."
"I waste so much time doing budgeting and design work for people who either don't have the budget or they're just kicking tires."
"I have a business to run, and I can't spend all my time doing estimates."
You need to think about construction estimating differently:
If your value proposition is to offer a quote, you're not standing out from the crowd.
Advertising "Free Estimates" is like a car dealership offering "Free Test Drives." More about that later.
Let's stop calling it "estimating," and call it selling, business development or revenue generation.
Realize that everyone who comes in contact with a customer is in business development, not just your sales and estimating folks.
Just like good sales people don't sit and wait for the phone to ring, like an "order taker," if you are responsible for estimating, you need to realize that you can and should be strategic.
Sun, 8 November 2015
Will Hodges is President of Cadence McShane Construction Company, a general contractor in Dallas, Houston and Austin Texas with around 135 employees and an annual revenue of about $260 million.
During this interview we talk about how he made the transition from project management and operations into executive leadership, the importance of company culture, workforce development and how to be strategic with your business and your career.
A lot of people run their construction business like a project. What are the problems with this approach?
[Will Hodges] A construction project is linear, one dimensional, has a set of plans and specs, etc. You're going to build the project over 18, 24 or 30 months, get a certificate of occupancy and move on to the next project.
People have come up through the ranks with that perspective as field engineer, project manager, senior PM, VP, etc.
Businesses are multi-faceted with a lot things to consider; techonology, banks, HR, surety, etc. It is must more strategic and not as linear as running a project. If you run your business like a project, you get out of a strategic mindset and get into a tactical mindset, and you can get lost in the weeds.
How can someone make the transition from a linear project based mindset to a strategic mindset?
[Will Hodges] Some people's strengths are in very tactical things, and some people's strength is in more strategic things. It's just how they are hard wired.
There are things you can do and processes you can use to stretch you into a more strategic mindset and think a little more globally.
One of the things we talk about is where we want to be in three, four or five years, understand where we are today and all the pieces that will help us get where we want to be.
Listen to the rest of the interview to hear Will's answers to a few other questions like:
How important is the culture of an organization, and how does it impact the bottom line?
How is the construction industry guilty of having a "herd" mentality?
You shared an equation, "Performance + Behavior = Results." What does that mean?
If you had an audience with a group of construction business owners and could give them one piece of advice, what would it be?
How to connect with Will Hodges
Will's email address - whodges(at)cadencemcshane.com
Sun, 1 November 2015
How to develop joint ventures and collaborative relationships as a diverse contractor, how to maintain culture in an organization and Monroe's approach to giving back to his local community.
In this episode, I interview Monroe Barnes, President of MBJ Consultants in Cincinnati, OH, which provides construction management and facilities management services to clients in the midwest and California.
Here are some of the questions I asked, and Monroe's responses:
How important is the culture of an organization, and does it affect the impact the bottom line?
We drive a culture of taking care of each other, on the job and outside the job. If you get in trouble outside of work, it is going to affect your ability to do a good job at work.
What are some things you do to reinforce culture?
When you think of a successful construction company, what are the measuring sticks you use?
Success goes a lot further than just creatinga project on time. I think it's the lives in your organization that you affect, and the community.
What are the challenges to people trying to make the jump out of poverty?
What are some of the common mistakes you see construction business owners make?
I spent too much time on just the plans and specs of the projects while the business thought process was suffering, and dragging down our business.
What are some practical things you do to focus on the business and not just the projects.
Using data to help you mitigate your risks is very important.
Listen to the rest of the interview to hear Monroe's advice on how to develop joint venture partnerships with large contractors and a variety of other topics.
How you can get in touch with Monroe