The construction industry presents many opportunities to thrive, but only for those who are willing to put in the effort it takes to become successful. Construction project managers – those who control the process from start to finish – must attain certain skills as well as utilize the appropriate resources to accomplish great things in the business. Being licensed and bonded isn’t enough to ensure positive outcomes on the job. The following simple steps to become a successful construction project manager are easy to include in any size job, no matter how long you have been in the business.
1) Create Streamlined Processes
As with any business operation, having the right systems and processes in place is a key to success in construction project management. Fortunately, there are several resources which can be used to manage jobs, contractors, vendors, and proposals effectively, including technology platforms and software. Construction management processes may involve establishing accurate reporting systems with the help of software, or controlling costs and budget constraints through an integrated platform. As a project manager, you have countless options for these types of resources and tools at your fingertips.
2) Divide up the Workload
One of the smartest things you can do as a construction project manager is get comfortable with delegating work tasks. You wear many hats in your business, but that doesn’t mean you are an expert in every aspect of running a project. Many construction project managers divide up the workload based on what they cannot or do not want to do, such as accounting for the business, managing payments to vendors or subcontractors, or running reports for the job owner. Delegation does not mean giving up control but instead empowers you to do the things you excel at the most. Successful construction project managers recognize this reality.
3) Focus on Safety First
Most construction project managers can master the skills necessary to be successful in a short period of time while utilizing the right tools to get the job done correctly. However, if safety isn’t a top priority on each project, success is fleeting in construction. Be sure to stay up to date with safety regulations and guidelines before starting any new project, and educate your team on best practices for remaining safe on the job. Taking simple steps, such as having fully functioning safety gear and maintaining a secure site perimeter, can make a world of difference in a successful job and one that ends in disaster.
4) Get to Know Your Bottom Line
Not many construction project managers got in the business because they thoroughly enjoy crunching the numbers, but managing costs and potential profits is a significant part of the job. You’re safe to delegate some of the mundane tasks of business accounting to a professional. However, it is essential to know your bottom line numbers for each project. Without these details, it is difficult to recognize where expenses can be cut or where more profit can be drawn out. For instance, all construction contractors are required to have a surety bond in place, but the cost can vary greatly depending on the financial track record of the business and you, the owner. Be sure to understand how these costs are calculated, and the simple steps you can take to reduce them over time.
5) Work with People You Trust
Construction involves many moving parts, as well as several different people at any given time. While some subcontractors or suppliers may have an outstanding history of completing jobs on time and in budget, it doesn’t mean much if you do not have full faith and confidence in their work ethic. Be selective in the people who choose to work with for each project. Although this may be a time-consuming part of the process, it is essential to get the right mix of skill and trustworthiness from the people you employ.
6) Master the Art of Negotiation
The last tip in creating a successful construction project management business involves the art of negotiation. Not only is this crucial to your interactions with vendors and suppliers, but it also plays a role in your relationship with the job owner and your subcontractors. They know how to negotiate, and you should, too. This doesn’t mean pinch every penny and haggle down prices at every opportunity. Instead, negotiation as a construction project manager involves carefully cutting costs where it makes the most sense, for the benefit of you as the owner as well as the other parties involved.
Being a success in construction project management requires many different components working together on each job, from negotiation and work delegation, to trust and confidence in the individuals and companies with which you partner. Focus on these simple steps in order to make your next construction site the most efficient and profitable it can be.
Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.