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David Cartwright

Construction - 6 min read

10 Common Contractor Mistakes: How You Can Avoid Them

David Cartwright

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Nov 19, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Every project that you carry out will involve a certain level of risk. From safety issues to cost and estimation challenges, being prepared for such risks can help smoothen even the most complicated projects.

Unfortunately, many contractors make common mistakes when it comes to implementing their daily workflows. Some ignore essential safety measures, while others rely on manual processes to prepare budgets and designs. Being aware of these mistakes is a critical first step towards avoiding them in the future.


1. Not taking safety seriously

Safety is essential in any workplace. The construction industry is disproportionately affected by accidents and injuries, and contractors who ignore safety are more likely to incur high costs and disruptions to projects. Even a single slip/fall accident could result in serious injury or death of an employee. This is why contractors should always prioritise safety on site.

Safety starts by having the right tools (wearables, interconnected devices, heart rate monitors, etc.) in place and training employees on how to use them.


2. Poor accounting practices

Keeping track of your finances in real time is the best way of avoiding high costs and improving your bottom line. However, many contractors lag behind in proper accounting practices. Whether you’re still using spreadsheets or taking too long to report expenditures, such mistakes may inhibit your ability to meet your financial goals.

Consider using accounting software to automate manual processes and eliminate human error. Hiring an accountant or accounting firm is also an excellent way of keeping your books in good order.


3. Not recruiting top talent

The construction industry is one of the top employers in Australia. However, many talented workers are moving to other sectors, such as finance and technology. As innovative tools (such as AI, automation, and data analytics) become more common in construction, you’ll need qualified workers to help you implement this technology. Hiring the wrong people will increase costs and lower productivity. Unskilled and untrained workers also directly affect safety on site.


4. Inaccurate budgeting

Budgeting is an essential part of construction work. Your company needs to be able to estimate project costs in detail by considering material, labour, supplier, and customer variables. In this way, you can provide more accurate quotes to customers and avoid underestimating your expenses. Estimating software can help you consider specific details such as the cost per square foot of material or the cost per hour of labour.


5. Poor subcontractor management

Your subcontractors are a reflection of your company’s overall job quality. Many contractors try to save costs by hiring the cheapest subcontractors available, which ultimately decreases the quality of work. This is why you should carefully screen subcontractors by checking their reviews, previous projects, and level of customer service.


6. Not using construction software

If you’re still relying on manual techniques for budgeting, estimating, and preparing building plans, you’re making a big mistake. Legacy systems limit productivity, increase costs, and lower the quality of work. Contractors should embrace the digital transformation by shifting to construction management software. With numerous tools at your disposal, you can access 3D models, automated budgeting, real-time communication, among other assets. This all in one solution helps you win more work and thus improve your bottom line.


7. Bidding without a strategy

Many construction projects are won via competitive bids. Therefore, you’ll need to develop a strategy for presenting competitive prices to customers. But this doesn’t mean that you should simply offer the lowest price available. Unrealistically low bids will only result in further costs down the line when you find out that you can’t sustain the quote that you provided.

Instead, focus on areas where you can cut costs without compromising on quality. You may have access to discounted prices for a specific material, or you may specialise in a building process better than others can. Use competitive advantage to attract clients and projects.


8. Not taking care of equipment

Whether you rent or own construction machines, predictive maintenance will help you reduce costs over time. A common mistake contractors make is to neglect their equipment while still expecting it to work.

Avoid unnecessary downtime by developing maintenance schedules for your bulldozers, cranes, excavators, etc. An even better approach is to use sensors that transmit signals in real time. This will allow you to find out when specific machines require maintenance.


9. Lack of quality management

Many contractors don’t have checks and balances for ensuring the quality of their workflows. Without proper controls in place, you can’t achieve consistency and customer satisfaction with every completed project. Make sure you develop a framework for quality management from top to bottom.


10. Not paying attention to customer concerns

Finally, contractors are notorious for ignoring specific demands that their customers have. If you don’t pay attention to client concerns, you may end up with unsatisfactory projects or even worse, disgruntled clients. Even if you’re confident about your construction experience, take time to listen to what your clients are saying.

The first step is being aware of these common mistakes, and the second step is choosing a solution. Embrace the digital solution to some of these problems by transitioning from manual to digital estimating. Cubit is a natural estimating solution designed to save time, minimise error and increase accuracy. Start a free trial today to simplify even the most complicated projects. 


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