“Consultation with contractors is one of the most enjoyable parts of my work. In 48 years I’ve been through hundreds of situations that contractors face and have a lot of advice and problem-solving tips to give them. I like meeting with new contractors and helping them get a solid foundation in their business. I also am grateful for any ideas and experiences other contractors can share with me. One of the main things I can do is offer solutions for setting up and maintaining a successful construction company.”
“In your lifetime of business you are always looking for people to partner with that will elevate you and compliment your abilities. Martin Espinosa is such a person. I met Martin over 25 years ago. His vast knowledge of all phases of construction made him a valuable resource. I was amazed at his quick ability to calculate a job as we simply talked. Through time we became friends and worked on many projects together. He has always been someone that I trust and call and expect to get the best result. If you need information, Martin knows it or can point you in the direction to find it.
Thanks, Martin, for all the good years of service.”
SETTING UP YOUR COMPANY
– Be properly licensed and do only the work you are licensed for.
– Obtain liability and worker’s comp insurance.
– Know the building laws and research them if necessary. Do not build without permits.
– Get a business lawyer or consultant. Discuss whether or not to set a corporation or LLC, partnership or any other choices. Let them help you make a construction contract, proposals, and change order form for your clients. Consult with them about any legal problems right away.
– Choose an accountant to advise you on tax matters and a bookkeeping or payroll service to keep your records and do payroll. You can either have employees or independent contractors working for you. I know that these steps can be expensive but any mistakes in these areas may cost you more.
“Taking care of your relationships
is one of, if not the most important part
of running a successful business.”
Your most important relationship will be with your clients. Explain everything very carefully to them. Update them at least daily. For example, let them know if work will take longer than expected. Be very patient with clients. The building process is often very stressful for them.
Thank employees and professionals for their good work. Teach, rather than criticize when mistakes are made. This doesn’t mean you can’t be strong, just not judgmental. This keeps your relationships positive and work running smoothly. It is especially important to have a good relationship with building department personnel and inspectors. It makes the process of getting permits, having plans approved and passing inspections more pleasant and successful.
More Suggestions for Contractors
- Coordinate with architect so you can be sure you understand and are able to work with the plans.
- Estimate very carefully. You may want to underbid others to get the job but you can lose money in the long run if you don’t estimate high enough to cover costs.
- Go over the contract very carefully. First with your lawyer/advisor and then with your client.
- When the client asks for extra work make sure you do a change order! Explain carefully that the extra work will cost extra money and time. It is like a mini-extra contract. Clients often do not understand that their requests will cost extra time and money. Sometimes it doesn’t involve either of these but a change in materials or specs and there can be damage to the relationship if everything is not absolutely clear. Always have an item on the contract that says all change orders must be in writing and approved by both parties. This can be done via email.
- Make sure you hire reliable and knowledgeable supervisors and workers. If you are not there to watch over the work at least once (or preferably more) times a day mistakes, theft and time wasted can happen. Have them call you right away if there is a question or problem.
- Consult with other contractors or professionals if you have building questions. Clean the job site daily. Respect clients’ space if they are living there.
- Protect your tools. If you can’t afford insurance for them then you can use large locked toolboxes, your client’s garage, a container, etc.
- Good luck and much success!