Category: Consultants

What the Hell is Going On?

I was at a seminar on Tuesday about Business Administration. At the seminar the speaker discussed how it is that employees that are unwilling to perform a job function will never do it well, or even do it at all. This, of course wreaks havoc in your company.

Why? Because now things that are believed to be getting done are not. Upsets occur between departments, employees and the client who was not serviced correctly, if at all.

The whole organization is thrown out of balance. Employees become uncertain of what is happening, who is not doing their job, “am I going to get blamed” and all manner of anxiety occurs.

What follows is that the one guy (or girl) who is not performing their duties as agreed to, now makes it the problem for the company itself and everyone working at it to solve. So, for some seemingly unlocatable cause, everyone becomes frantic and spends all their time talking about and trying to fix the problem and now does not do their own job duties as they should, or even are able to.

The government is great at this. One guy doesn’t do his job, something simple like deliver the paperwork for his department budget to get approval. The budget doesn’t get approved because he never delivered the paperwork but swears under oath that he did. Let’s not do some quick and easy detective work and call the guy out in the lie, let’s form a 20-member committee to find out why the budget didn’t get approved. A year, and ½ a million taxpayer’s dollars later, the committee determines the budget was never submitted. So now the committee starts to investigate the guy… and the insanity never ends.

In your company you have to be a very skilled observer and keep a good eye on the communication that occurs inside and outside the organization. What I mean by communication is the flow of ANYTHING that can be moved between two points. Be it a memo, email, text, letter, person or object between the company employees themselves AND your clients.

If these are not moving inside the company in a purposeful timely fashion which accomplishes an end goal, then your employees really aren’t working to keep the company going and growing. They just have a job they show up and get paid for, without being willing to perform their duties to enhance the company’s survival, ultimately bettering their life as well.

If there is no communication between your staff and clients or potential customers outside the company there will be no clients or potential customers, hence no income. It’s that simple.

OK, rest assured, I’ll bet most of your employees care what goes on, contribute greatly to keep the company going and growing and have pride in the people and companies they work with.

BUT, there will be those that are unwilling to do the duties assigned and muck up the whole works. As the leader of a section, department, division or the entire company it is up to you to locate such employees and take corrective actions BEFORE they throw your organization into a self-imploding chaos.

Until next time, flourish and prosper in your endeavors.

Know that I am here to assist you should you need it.


Is Your Problem Money?

If you think the soul reason for all your problems in your company are due to money, or lack thereof, you are simply not looking at the big picture.

There are several different areas of an organization (a company) that determine how much money it makes as well as a couple of areas that manage it. Earned income and the correct management of it will give you prosperity and wealth.

So, how do you go about getting clients? Do you wait for the phone to ring? Do you do advertising, promoting marketing or PR (public relations)? And yes, these are all different actions, not all the same thing, as most people believe. Which one of these does your company do? None? That in itself is the reason there is never enough money.

Does your company deliver the products and services you offer exactly and timely? If you consistently deliver what you promise you will never have a problem getting more clients or getting paid from them. If you don’t you’ll simply loose the ones you have, and you will definitely not see any new ones. Good news travels fast but bad news spreads even faster.

When your company receives income what do you do with it? Pay the bills, put some aside for a rainy day, buy a new piece of equipment? Truth is, if you are not doing all of those things with your income, you are not managing your money properly.

Do you charge enough? Have you looked at your competition? What do they charge for the same service your company delivers? There is a definite formula to work out so you charge the right amount to enable your company to keep going and growing.

Do you maintain your facilities and equipment? If not, your working too hard at trying to save money by making it a nightmare to be able to get anything done. The truck breaks down, flat tires on the trailer, the pump won’t start on the jobsite and that damn generator blew up. Not maintaining your “stuff” costs about 3 times as much in emergency repairs, 5 times as much as lost production time and turns good employees into disgruntled ones. And that cost is immeasurable due to the chaos it creates, driving the company morale into the toilet.

What can you do to improve the amount of money the company makes? Have a look around based on what you’ve read here. Take one thing and clean it up and put a workable system in place to handle that area.

Then do the next one.

And the next one.

And so on.

You’ll begin to see and understand ALL of the actions it takes to make and have enough money. You’ll see how the structure of the organizations has to flow, one action to the next.

Need help getting started?


Do you play The Waiting Game?

If you are a game show nut and Steve Harvey is one of your favorite game show hosts, even if he was the host of The Waiting Game, you probably wouldn’t watch it, and definitely wouldn’t play it.

How boring and stupid would that be? Let’s say there are two teams. Each one just sits there and waits. Nobody DOES anything. Each team asks each other a lot of questions which always have the answer “we don’t know” or “we’re working on it” or “let me check with someone and I’ll get back with you”. There is no action, no purpose, no goal.

You’d avoid that game like the plague.

So why put up with it in your business?

Oh, you don’t think you do. Well… here is a Waiting Game scenario: You submit a proposal for a 3-week project and the client tells you the job is yours and the start date. Weeks go by. You ask questions. The client asks questions. Nothing goes anywhere and after a month of this you still don’t have a signed contract.

You have not been booking work for that job’s time period. You were keeping that 3 weeks open for that client because he kept saying you have the job.

So now it is 2 weeks before you’re supposed to start. “Oh, yes yes”, your client says, “you’ve got the job”. “But I don’t have it in writing, no contract”, you tell him. He tells you, “oh it is going through the system”. You have been waiting a month of it going through the system.

You still have to make all the preps, order material, make stuff, put a field crew together, rent equipment, do a site survey and any other operations required to successfully start and finish your scope of work. Because, NO MATTER WHAT – YOU NEVER DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS UNTIL YOU HAVE A SIGNED CONTRACT OR PURCHASE ORDER. It will otherwise be a waste of your time, your company’s time, resources and money. Without some form of agreement, you will have no recourse when it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

The phone rings and it is another one of your clients that needs you for a 6-week job. You go to the meeting to find out that they want more than they told you and you have to start in 1 week.

But now you have to tell the new client that you “think” you are booked at the time they need you. You explain the situation and the new client says, “we’ll just get you a contract before the other company does”.

You have been playing The Waiting Game. So, what do you do? Stay loyal to the first client and continue waiting and maybe never get that job anyway? Or take the one that just came up and too bad for the first one?

The answer is easy. Call the first company and tell them you need the signed contract by end of business that day. If you don’t get it, take the second job. If you get more lip service take the second job.

If you don’t take the second job and the first one never comes, then you now have nothing for the company to do for 3 weeks because you have played The Waiting Game too long. Don’t watch that show. Control your clients like you control your company… for the good of all.

How Do You Price Your Company’s Products & Services?

There is almost always a misunderstanding among contractors and clients alike when it comes to the cost of things. Anyone wants something of a certain value and more often than not, wants it as cheaply as possible. It’s the old having a “Cadillac on a Volkswagen budget” thing, if you are as old as me and remember that phrase. People want the nicest of things but shop by the cheapest costs and often settle for lesser quality just to have a facsimile of the thing.

Pricing represents value for sure. But, price and value can take on very different colors. Let’s take cabinet makers as an example. Bob, just Bob, makes custom cabinets by hand out of the best solid wood available and his craftsmanship is beautiful. He operates out of his 2 car garage and has very low overhead. A cabinet from Bob costs $300.00.

Joe has a company of 10 employees that makes custom cabinets out of a decent grade wood, has automated equipment in a large facility that can pump out many cabinets at a decent quality. There is a machine operating here that needs a definite amount of energy every month in the form of money to keep that machine (the company) in operation. A cabinet from Joe costs $250.00.

And then there are big box stores (orange or blue in color) that stock cabinets that look nice but are made out of particle board with silk screen finishes that require assembly. There is questionable quality but it IS a new cabinet, even if not custom, it will do. A cabinet here costs $100.00.

This concept can be applied to any product or service. It can also be used to back up your prices being fair and competitive in your market. As you can see you must compare what you do and provide against what the price is, convincing or showing the client the value, as well as why you are better than the lower cost bid.

People want proof of what you do and what you have done. Have samples, brochures with lots of pictures and client testimonials. Showcase your work and let that promote for you. Have a killer website which shows your work, your capabilities, your facility and your craftsmen along with their qualifications as well as their accomplishments credentials, certifications, education, etc.

It is important that your previous and existing clients back up the story you tell. If you do that then people will be happy to pay your price because others already have, all the while vouching for you.

In my book, The Nuts and Bolts of Erecting a Contracting Empire, Chapter 4 tells you how to properly price your products and services and how you correctly use the money to keep your company going and growing.

So, if you are having a struggle with pricing the value of your products and services, you may want to have a look at our online course just for Chapter Four.

Get the full story.

How Do You Handle Your Company Finance?

Money. If you have too little or no money you are frowned upon by society as well as your peers. If you have plenty of money the tax man taketh. So what’s the answer to this riddle?

There are many schools of thought on the subject of money, finance and economics. Most of them so complex they are literally not even understandable. There are however, very simple methods of handling money, so you can have some.

Chapter Four in the book The Nuts and Bolts of Erecting a Contracting Empire is titled The Basics of Company Finance. It includes all the basic principles and practices to manage money and finance not only for your construction / contracting company, but for ANY business, personal or household budget.

The very simple actions that need to be taken to insure your bills are paid on time, how to have a cash stash to get you through periods involving income shortages, and, developing a financial strategy for your future.

It may not be so easy to change the ways you thought money and finances should be handled at first. BUT, I promise you, if you execute these very basic actions, you will succeed and eventually have money.

The stress will go away and you will be able to have some more time as well.

It has been said that money is the root of all evil. And my Mom used to say, “everyone needs roots.” Truthfully, the only evil concerning money is not having any.

Many people operate with the idea that they have a salary and the salary is not enough to sustain their life the way they want. I have worked with everyday people and owners of companies who believe this and every time I reviewed their finances, have been able to show them how to get out of the soup, turn their finances for the positive and plan for the future. Every time.

You see, the actual cause is not money, it is what is done with it once you have it. It doesn’t matter if you have little money or tons of money. It matters what you do with it.

So, if you are having a struggle with money, you may want to have a look at our online course just for Chapter Four.

The Most Common Problem…

We often get asked by our clients, “What are the most common problems that contractors face?” As you could imagine, the answers are almost invariably the same, only different in the sense of how one sees them in their own organization.


In the world of construction we have many other companies and levels of service to deal with in our operations for delivering our products and services to the client. Because each one of these operate on some other rules than you do, or even that each of the others does, it becomes a challenge to make sense of.


For instance – you get a contract from a GC (general contractor) which immediately puts you in the position of sub-contractor, placing you, legally, under the control and company policies of the GC. This includes payment terms, safety programs, screening of your company or its employees, schedules, insurance requirements and anti-drug policies.


Let’s say you sign your first $100,000 contract. You have 30 days to perform your scope of work. You start out well, get all your planning done, materials ordered, personnel assigned and equipment in place. The contract says that the payment terms are based on the amount of work you complete in a 30-day period, which in this case will be your entire scope, and the GC will pay 90% of that 15 days after, and the remaining 10% 45 days after that. So, this means that you finance the entire project, without collecting one red cent, for at least 45 days.


If you usually perform this size contract this is probably OK, and you can float the expense for that time period. BUT, the fine print on that contract has this little clause that says, “the GC will only pay, provided they receive payment from their client and will not pay anybody until that occurs”. This is called a paid when paid clause and is more and more becoming a part of the contract landscape.


Here is what this means: If the GC or another sub screws up and doesn’t perform correctly or at all as part of the GC’s contract with the client, you don’t get paid even though you delivered your scope of work on time and correct. Get a couple of these going on and you can be run right out of business.


Which brings us to the #1 problem – Cash Flow. How do you operate your company when you have someone else controlling your income?


Well, all is not lost on this. Make sure you read your contract well before you sign it. If you don’t agree with a term or clause take a nice big red marker and cross it out. DO NOT make any verbal promises or agreements as this will just end up in a he-said-she-said pissing match.


The most successful method I used to handle this is when I was put into a sub position, I would submit OUR company’s contract based on sane and ethical business practices that prevented us from falling prey to the other guy. If the GC, or direct client for that matter, wouldn’t agree, then they have their own unsolved problems and have no intention of paying you for your services anyway.


In closing, I give you this: if you cannot come to terms on a contract that will be a win-win agreement, do not sign it and walk away from the job. This will be a whole lot easier and less expensive in the long run. Avoid being forced into some sort of legal battle which will drag out for years and be way more costly than just saying, “no thank you”.

How Do You Hire Employees?

Human Resources can be a very volatile area of any company, large or small. The smaller the company the more volatile. Let me explain.


In a smaller company an owner or executive hires a person to do some part of their post so it is crucial to get the right person who is skilled in, and can handle that duty and obligation. This is all due to the simple fact that you can do any of it, but, since you do such good work, the demand keeps going up and you no longer can do all of it.


If you are a craftsman that is running your new business all by yourself all the other functions of the company require your attention and prevent you from providing the services to your clients. You may need a treasury manager or sales person to do those functions so your company can grow while still allowing you to be that craftsman and handle the demand for your work. You simply need someone to take duties off your plate. You are literally establishing an organization.


Therefore it is EXTREMELY important to get the right person for the task at hand. If you don’t get the right person then you’ll end up still doing most of the post, or worse, have to do it over correctly. You have to be sure that the person would do as you would do, the way that ends up in your desired results, with the same amount of diligence and care that you would take in getting that desired result.


In a smaller company, as you grow, you are actually establishing the organization with the people you hire. In a larger company the organization is already established for the most part and that is why and how it became a larger company.


In a larger organization a person is usually hired to share a portion of the work load or be assigned a new position which is part of an expansion effort. This could be an additional person to handle an increase in demand for services, such as a bookkeeper. The amount of effort required to keep the books has exceeded what one person is capable of doing.


As the owner of a smaller company wanting to grow and become a large company, it is paramount to get the right people who care about what goes on just like you do.


To help with this we have Nuts and Bolts Academy. It is, to our knowledge, the only course of its kind online, that helps you establish and controllably expand any company in the construction and service industry world.


Get the full story on how and why. CLICK HERE


Consulting or Contracting ?

I wanted to take the time to answer a question that I get very often – “ Why is the name of your company Nuts and Bolts Contracting and not Nuts and Bolts Consulting?

And by the way, that is a VERY good question. So I am going to share with you why it is that way, why we decided on Contracting instead of Consulting.

First let’s look at what the dictionary says about the two words.

Consulting means: To be employed or involved in giving professional advice to the public or to those practicing a profession whether an individual or company.

Contracting means: To enter into a contract to do work, for an individual or company, for the purpose of assessing and understanding the client’s needs and performing the work to an agreed upon and expected end result.

We are not in the business of just fact-finding and giving advice.

We are in the business of helping you discover the areas where you are experiencing stops or barriers with your company that prevent you from achieving your business goals, and then working with you to eliminate those stops and barriers as well as implement the correct systems to enable you to realize those goals for your business.

So you see, we do not just consult, we contract to deliver an exact end result that you need and want for the purpose of helping you organize and manage your enterprise with the end goals that you desire.

Whether in the areas of:

  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Human Resources
  • Project Management
  • New Business & Marketing
  • Organizational Development

Or if you are interested in:

Taking Your Business to the Next Level of Freedom

We can help with that.

We can also train your entire staff, be it managers or executives, to share and contribute to the successful management and operations of your company. You won’t be the only back that the future of the company rests on. This returns to you, time and money. Your company will operate flawlessly and it won’t matter if you are involved in the daily operations or not.