Successful Business Checklist

Which category does your business fall into based on these checklists?

Most construction business owners have the same goal. They all want to grow, earn high profit margins, retain great customers, be organized and in control, have a responsible management team, own income-producing investments and, after all that, have the time to enjoy the benefits of their hard work. Unfortunately, most know the results they want but they won’t make the tough decisions necessary to achieve their goals.


Are you willing to analyze why your business is in the place it is and what it needs to move to the next level? Many contractors conduct the same actions year after year with the same systems, the same customers and the same leadership strategies. And then they can’t figure out what to do to get out of their respective ruts.

The companies that achieve great results and go from being average companies to best-in-class contractors are prepared to make the changes necessary to improve their margins, find better customers, implement machine-like systems and hire strong managers. You must commit to running your business differently. You must also spend money on experienced, key people and managers, delegate and start a proactive sales and new-customer target program.

Take a look at the traits of companies at each level of their growth, listed below. Review which traits your company has implemented in each of the key areas of 
success required to run your business.

New Construction Business Traits

Vision – Owner wants a successful company

Goals – Keep busy and do a good job

Financial goals – Make as much money as possible

Business plan – No written business plan, targets or goals

Owner’s role – Makes most decisions

Scorecards – No regular, formal results-tracking systems

People management – Owner makes all staffing decisions

Structure – No clear chain of command

Written systems – No written systems

Estimates – Owner unsure of actual job costs

Job-cost tracking – No regular job-cost tracking

Financials – Owner does not know the numbers

Accounting – Owner manages and approves all bills

Management team – None; owner makes all decisions

Project management – Owner manages most projects

Field supervision – Supervisor reports to owner

Field crews – Owner schedules and directs crews

Sales – Wait for referrals or 
customers to call

Win contracts – Sell low prices to win most work

Regular meetings – Owner too busy for meetings

Technology – Little to no technology

Wealth and investments – None

Growing Construction Business Traits

Vision – Owner wants to earn more return on investment

Goals – Get business to work better

Financial goals – Work harder to make more money

Business plan – Starting to track targets and goals

Owner’s role – Delegating to 
responsible people

Scorecards – Developing company and project scorecards

People management – Written 
job descriptions

Structure – Drafting organizational chart and discussing job functions

Written systems – Installing 
operational systems

Estimates – Starting job-cost history

Job-cost tracking – Tracking monthly and completed jobs

Financials – Reviewing monthly 
income statement

Accounting – Hiring full-charge 

Management team – Hiring project manager and/or estimator

Project management – Project 
manager oversees jobs

Field supervision – Hiring 
job supervisors

Field crews – Supervisor makes most field decisions

Sales – Getting on bid lists and using bid plan services

Win contracts – Bidding more jobs to more customers

Regular meetings – Holding weekly staff meeting

Technology – Implemented low-priced accounting system

Wealth and investments – In 
beginning planning phase

Best-In-Class Construction Business Traits

Vision – Written five-year vision, 
mission and core values

Goals – Written company targets and goals, tracked monthly

Financial goals – Making high profit margins and steady growth

Business plan – Updated, comprehensive, strategic business plan

Owner’s role – Focusing on priorities, growth and investments

Scorecards – Tracking scorecards for all projects, crews and people

People management – 100-percent accountable for expected results

Structure – Documented 
organizational chart with functions

Written systems – Updated standard systems and playbook

Estimates – Accurate project job-cost history library

Job-cost tracking – Updated and tracked weekly

Financials – Accurate, updated 
financials and tracking

Accounting – Assists company in achieving targets and goals

Management team – Management team runs company

Project management – 100-percent accountable for project results

Field supervision – 100-percent 
accountable for field results

Field crews – 100-percent 
accountable for production, project schedule and quality

Sales – Written sales action plan and customer targets

Win contracts – Focus on high-profit contracts and customers

Regular meetings – Scheduled field, project and management meetings

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Technology – Fully integrated accounting, estimating and PM software

Wealth and investments – Ongoing wealth-building investment plan

Where does your company stand on the journey to becoming a best-in-class construction business?

Top-performing construction companies, whether they are large or small, generally have all the requirements in place to make the highest margins and stay at the top. The low-performing 
companies make excuses for why they don’t do what they need to do to move to the next level. What do you need to do to start the process?

Source: Construction Business Owner

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