Man with pen using one-on-one business coaching

How to Manage Variations

As the old saying goes, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes”. In the building industry that should read, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes AND VARIATIONS”.

There is seldom a project completed without some change to the original plan or scope and this can lead to work being done that is not well documented or billed to the client on a timely basis. Variations are therefor a major potential cause of profit leak from a business, and also disputes with a client. It is essential that you, your client and your build team clearly understand what variations are and you have a reliable system to capture and process them through the job management and billing areas of your business.

Leaky bucket

Are profits leaking out of your business bucket?

It’s profit reporting season. Do you have your latest financial accounts back from your accountant yet? Does the Net Profit seem lower than you expected? Maybe the profit is leaking out somewhere.

Your business can be viewed as a kind of bucket.  In the top you pour revenue, which comes from your marketing, sales and production efforts, then deduct the direct and indirect costs of producing that revenue.  Unfortunately everyone’s bucket leaks and so the amount left over (as net profit) is often a lot less than it could be and what is required to balance the effort and risk that you assume as the business owner.  It leaks out through holes such as: too many overheads, insufficient margin, working with the wrong clients, burning hours on fixed price contracts and a number of other ways.

proceed with caution sign

Building Inflation Monster Rising

Building materials are up in price around 34% compared to a year ago and more increases are on the way. We are suffering a perfect storm of high demand, due to the boom in building, and tighter supply lines due to Covid, shipping bottlenecks and now the effects of a war in Europe.

While most, if not all of this is beyond your control, how you react and deal with it is something you can take action of. Two key actions should be at the top of your list….

Insurance 101 for Tradies

At Builtin we deal with thousands of tradies up and down the country, so we know insurance isn’t anybody’s favourite topic! While it’s not something you want to think about, it is something you need to have, and need to have properly arranged.  Having to replace an expensive asset that’s been stolen or damaged, or getting tied up in an expensive liability issue can hammer a small business, not only financially, but they can take an emotional toll on the contractor and their family too.

For larger firms their exposure to risk is greater, as is their capacity to manage it. For company managers and directors, getting the right professional advice and having good risk management practices in place, including insurance cover, is a critical (and legal) duty.

Most of our customers want what we call the “Goldilocks Package”: not too little, but not too much. That’s what we help our customers with every day.

In this article we share some basic risk management questions, as well as the headlines of the key policies contractors need to consider. What you need will vary according to your specific operations and business set up, but this should serve as a good overview to get you started.

Builder giving thumbs up

COVID-19 Update: The independent tradie guide on surviving economic and business uncertainty

It’s been a week since New Zealand went into Level Four lockdown in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. As the owner of an independent tradie business, you might have spent the last week trying to sort out a new routine, or maybe you were able to catch up on some rest and family time after a busy summer working in your business.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, New Zealand and the world is experiencing an uncertain and disruptive business climate; now is not the time to hibernate and neglect your business, your staff and your clients. The truth is what you do in the next four weeks could make all the difference – will you be raring to go or scrambling up from the bottom?

I know the real and sad impact of business failure and I don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why I’ve put together a list of tips to help you manage the short-term business issues you are facing, and help you and your team get prepared and ready to go at full speed ahead once the restrictions are lifted.

stressed business owner

How to Handle a Recession

Recent world events surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that economically we are quite likely to be heading into a recession. Technically that is when 2 consecutive quarters show negative growth. We are not there yet, but the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic mean that significant parts of our economy will be in free-fall over the next few months, particularly the service sector. No one knows how long it will last. We can only hope we manage to beat the pandemic within a relatively short space of time, like China has, and we can all get back to business as usual.

In the meantime it is prudent to plan for a period of lower business activity….

Sustainability From a Profit Standpoint

To quote Kermit the Frog, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” That may be so, and it made for a cute song, but it’s much tougher when you are red. By that I mean in the financial red. 

With sustainability being a bit of a buzz word at the moment, I thought I would talk about another type of sustainability you should be interested in. That is your FINANCIAL sustainability. You owe it to your customers, staff and family to be around in the long term. Consistent profitability is vital to help you achieve long term survival.

increase profits

How to Increase Profits in Your Business

One of my core values in what I do is to help my clients improve the profits that their business generates. This starts with some basic education into the various levers that you can pull on in your business to increase revenue and reduce waste in your business. This video starts to look at those levers and how they can be worked together to improve gross profits, and thus improve your life as a business owner.