Contractor or Office Manager? You Decide.

Posted by Michael Leonard on Nov 15, 2018 10:29:13 AM

Many contractors enter into the building business because they dream of doing big things. Big renovations. Ambitious building projects. Quality work creating happy customers and a great reputation.

Yet, often the dream of being a contractor can conflict with the everyday details that come with running a business. Guiding the sales process. Putting on the estimator hat. Dealing with paperwork, proposals, and contracts. Managing computer hardware and software. You find yourself reluctantly playing the role of office manager rather than doing what you love – building and fixing things.

A recent study of business managers adds some perspective to the amount of time spent on administrative tasks and away from core business activities such as the actual work of building and renovating:

Manager Admin time
Source: West Monroe Partners

Traditional Strategies

There are a couple of strategies contractors have traditionally utilized to prevent office management and administrative duties from impacting the day-to-day activities of actual building and renovating.

  • Hire Dedicated Office Staff: Adding staff specifically dedicated to managing office and admin tasks can be challenging. Labor expenses are typically reserved for on-site construction workers that are directly impacting job revenues. And in the face of today’s tight job market, contractors are forced to be especially selective about where they add staff to get the biggest bang for the buck.
  • Outsource Office Functions: Hiring an outside management company to handle all of the assorted office and admin tasks can relieve some of the burden, but presents its own problems. Outsourcing can be expensive. Outsourced workers are also not as knowledgeable of the various building processes, construction requirements, and other small details that can make or break profitability.

New Ways to Manage On the Go

Recent advances in mobile technologies allows contractors to manage many of the assorted office and admin functions right from the job site directly on their mobile device. Estimating, sales tracking, proposal management, stock lists, job calendars, and more can be managed in seconds on the fly rather than sitting in the office staring at a computer screen.

The availability of these new technologies and apps allows the contractor to oversee all aspects of each job – from the annoying but necessary office functions to the fulfilling and interesting onsite workmanship and construction details. The contractor no longer must be a distant participant in the actual work of building and renovating. They can be directly involved in every phase of the job and still effectively manage the many different office functions that come with the business.

Ask yourself how much time is spent each week in the office managing administrative functions and away from the job site directing the actual work. If it's more than just a few hours  week it might be time to look into new technologies and apps that let you take the office with you to be more involved in the building process and less mired in the job of office manager.

Finding the Right Resource

While there’s no shortage of different software tools and apps to help contractors reduce the amount of time spent on office and administrative duties, a bit of research is required in order to determine the right resource to solve each contractor’s specific challenges.

Here’s a few different types of solutions to help you get started:

  • On Center Software: OCT offers plan-based take off, estimating, and project management tools that can help contractors manage design to build processes from one centralized portal.
  • Procon: Outsourced architect, engineer, estimator, and construction operations resources that provide seamless project map planning without the internal workload.
  • Busy Busy: Jobsite software integration gives you immediate access and visibility into all of your team and equipment deployments for improved project planning and schedule adherence.
  • iSqFt: Comprehensive bid tracking and management app simplifies the ability to identify, bid, and track new projects to support a reliable sales pipeline.

Topics: exterior remodeling, project management, contractor administration

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