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Project Managers — Get Control of Your Costs

There is only one way to effectively control your project costs and that’s to routinely compare what you’re spending versus what you’ve budgeted for each item of work in progress. This comparison is the only way for a project manager to identify and correct underperforming areas before they can snowball and become project-delaying, costly issues. […]

Too Much Backlog & Overextended Resources – What Should You Do?

Every contractor’s goal is to have enough backlog to fully utilize all resources without overextending manpower, cash or time. There’s no question that this can be a tricky balancing act. Taking a Closer Look When you look closer to why construction businesses fail, an excessive backlog is one of the most common reasons. The lack […]

Big is Not Always Better

An improving economy is often a precursor to a rise in contractor default. Why is this the case? For starters, in the excitement of building a bigger backlog contractors are often unprepared to support an increased workload with the existing resources. Uncontrolled growth often jeopardizes the efficiency of existing systems and can disrupt once successful […]

Bid to Win!

The Ingredients for Success — Every contractor knows that intelligent and accurate bidding is a critical ingredient to success, however, many contractors focus more on running jobs to make a profit rather than bidding smart to avoid a loss. The only way to consistently produce accurate bids that meet your company objectives is to put in […]

Lessons Learned from the Nigerian Bank

A few days ago, I received another email from a “close and personal friend” who is a high-ranking manager at a bank in Nigeria. My “close” friend must really trust me more than anyone else because he asked that I hold, in trust, $10 million US dollars for his cousin, a now deposed village leader. […]

Know Thy Equipment

Too often, contractors with significant equipment inventory use industry standard rental rates for anticipated equipment usage instead of actual costs when preparing a bid—a practice that could cause you to lose a job in today’s tight bidding environment. Using industry standard rental rates simply does not take advantage of the potentially lower cost of owned […]

A Fist Full of IOUs

More construction businesses fail from the lack of cash due to poor cash management than from “bad” jobs—it’s a fact. One of the main causes of poor cash management is the ineffective collection of receivables. Your ability to survive—and even grow—in this industry demands that you get paid in a timely manner. Timely means getting […]

Congratulations! You’re Broke.

Mismanagement of Cash Flow — At Direct Surety, we have had the opportunity to work with many successful construction organizations. We’ve also worked with a few not so successful companies that should have been. The main cause of these business flops has almost always been their rocket-like success and then the sudden discovery they’ve run out […]

Where’s Waldo

Lack of Inventory Control — Over the past 30 years in construction, there have been countless times when I’d meet a job foreman wandering around the shop or yard muttering, “I know we have it out here somewhere.” He’d look and look for that misplaced tool, a section of steel plate or even a backhoe. “Where […]