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Industry Game-Changers

Typically, disruption in the workplace is counterintuitive to productivity. But in terms of creating innovative ways to manage people, processes and technology, the concept of “disruption” isn’t such a bad thing for the construction industry. Change is stirring whether contractors are ready for it or not, and firms that have adopted new ways of managing scheduling and workflows are seeing stellar results—earning the accolades of repeat projects for key clients, as well as happy project partners.

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Best PracticesMore Like This

“The key is in not spending time, but investing in it,” said Stephen R. Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Contractors that spend too much time relying on spreadsheets to run their businesses instead of investing in time to find better solutions would do well to heed this advice. Contractors that overuse spreadsheets are constantly spending valuable time and energy entering data into accounting programs, and then again into spreadsheets. It’s inefficient, unreliable and, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry. Continue »

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On Sept. 11, 2013, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) will sponsor “Optimizing Your Construction Business for Profitable Growth.” This best-practices webinar from Maxwell Systems will explain the value of and methods to achieve standardized processes to gain visibility, improve quality and increase profits. Attendees will learn about leveraging technology for business growth,  the impact of committing to change, the importance of sharing seamlessly across an organization, documenting easily and accurately and more. Continue »

Economic OutlookMore Like This

Despite the loss of 6,000 jobs, the nation’s construction industry unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent in July on a non-seasonally adjusted rate, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s Aug. 2 employment report. That is down from 9.8 percent in June and 12.3 percent the same time last year. Overall, the construction labor force expanded from 8.08 million in July 2012 to 8.43 million in July 2013. Continue »

OutlookMore Like This

The Second Quarter 2013 Construction Outlook from FMI tells a mostly positive story, but with some near-term disappointment. The strength of individual markets is shifting, reducing annual construction-put-in-place predictions to $913 billion, a 7 percent growth from 2012. This is down nearly $6 billion from the $918,897 million, 8 percent growth estimated in the First Quarter Outlook. However, FMI does expect growth to return to 8 percent in 2014 with annual CPIP reaching $989 billion.

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The cost of employment taxes and benefits alone is enough to entice construction companies into hiring independent contractors instead of employees. Contractors are required to pay up to 7.65 percent of each employee’s gross wages in Social Security and Medicare taxes and at least another 6 percent of the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages in federal and state unemployment taxes, according to the Social Security Administration. Additionally, contractors spend an average of 29.7 percent of an employee’s total compensation (i.e., wages/salary plus benefits) on benefits such as medical, dental, life and disability insurance, paid time off and retirement plan contributions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continue »

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In today’s world, more information is created every day, new information dwarfs older information, competition comes from anywhere around the globe and employees’ expertise is more important than a company’s physical assets.

What separates the best companies from the rest of the pack is how they create, store and leverage their employees’ knowledge. But before that can happen, construction firms must determine how to find the right high-end talent that will set the organization apart from the competition, how to motivate employees and how to use the talent effectively down the line. Continue »

AccountingMore Like This

Executives at CPA firms specializing in construction and leading providers of construction accounting software share their insights on strategies to improve cash flow, speed collections and reduce the risk of bad debt; the challenges contractors face in the improving economy; technological advancements with the greatest impact on contractors and their CPAs; and evaluating cloud-based accounting software.   Continue »

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Now is not the time to be cheap with business acquisition. Now is the time to build superior business development capabilities.

Acquiring profitable work has never been more challenging. Competition is fierce and margins are painfully low. In spite of this, more than a few contracting firms are profitable and several are experiencing an increasingly healthy bottom line. Continue »

Employee MotivationMore Like This

Earlier this year, Google was ranked the No. 1 best place to work in Fortune magazine’s list of America’s top 100 employers. It’s no wonder it topped the list—employees get perks such as free food, game rooms, haircuts and onsite laundry facilities. But even companies that cannot afford such freebies can become a top place to work by instilling the following principles. Continue »