Growing from a Residential Concrete Contractor to an Industrial and Commercial Concrete Contractor comes with growing pains!
There are a Lot of Factors
Some of these will be pretty obvious, others are ones you might not have thought of before. We wanted to take a little bit of your time to pull back the curtain and show you some details of the concrete contractor industry. Some things you
One of the technical things that separates residential contractors from commercial or industrial contractors is a paperwork thing. It’s insurance limits. There’s a reason that local contractor you like so much can take on your patio but can’t take on the parking lot at your business. Even if you really like your residential contractor, that same contractor just might not have the insurance or liability limits to take on a project of that scale.
This isn’t exciting stuff, but industrial and commercial jobs are some orders of magnitude more expensive than residential jobs. As such, the company taking them on incurs substantially more risk.
Most companies from the mom and pops to the small concrete contractor businesses know their limits. They know what jobs they can take versus what jobs they can’t handle in terms of their limits of risk. It’s tough to hear that one of your favorite crews who did a good job on your driveway or patio can’t take on the concrete parking lot or add a new loading dock for your business. But they have good reasons for turning away those kinds of jobs.
A Commercial Contractor is Hard to Find
Because of those significant barriers to entry, commercial concrete or industrial concrete contractors are hard to find. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Very few contractors can make the jump from residential to commercial contractor work and can do it the right way. With all the requirements that different government regulations demand and with the concern for safety and compliance that you naturally have for your business, a four person operation isn’t going to be enough to keep it all together.
We’ve had our growing pains too.
Not every contractor can make the jump to commercial and industrial concrete work not only because of the insurance but also because the size of your organization has to grow. You’ve got to start hiring more. You go from being the HR department to now having a separate HR Department. The standards become higher because the expectations for success are just that much more exact.
With bigger projects there is a bigger emphasis on proper project management. Back in the days when it was just a few guys and a trailer, project management wasn’t a big consideration. You show up on the day, take stock of the work that needs to be done, and you do the job.
Real simple and there are plenty of jobs that can still get done that way.
But when you’re staring at a massive loading area, or high traffic parking lot, or anywhere a business is going to lose access for any amount of time, proper project management, risk management and stakeholder communication is absolutely essential.
Who is running to get the permits for all this work? Who has the insurance policy? What is your contractor doing to mitigate risks? What are their backup plans for the cases where the weather doesn’t cooperate or a piece of equipment breaks down and needs repair? Do they have a staff who can look at contingencies and map out the process so that you’re confident the work is going to be completed with minimal disruptions to your business?
Experienced Project Managers are people who understand this process intuitively. Their entire job is managing risks, making plans, communicating to stakeholders and hitting goals. Concrete Contractors who are ready for the big time have a staff of at least a few of these professionals on hand.
And wouldn’t you know it? So do we.
Technology and Experience
You have to be able to offer services that the other guys can’t. No slight on them, but if you’re getting cheap bids on a machine foundation from a company who doesn’t typically do them, I’ve got some bad news: you’re probably going to be replacing that machine foundation in a few years’ time.
One of the things you should consider if you’re looking at concrete for your industrial or commercial project is what kinds of technology does the contractor have experience using?
For example, does the company mostly work with rebar reinforced concrete or do they also have experience with fiber reinforced concrete? If you want fiber reinforced concrete for your project, you’re going to want a contractor who has experience using it in their concrete mix (fiber reinforced concrete, while providing many benefits to the end product, also comes with a unique set of challenges for the concrete contractor) rather than a contractor who just heard of it.
You Have to Stand Behind Your Work
What’s the guarantee the contractor offers on workmanship? That gives you a good indication of how confident they are in their process.
We give the same guarantee to our commercial customers as we have given to our residential customers for years. We are confident in our ability to work at scale and to deliver quality to every customer regardless of what the project is.
Industrial Grade is about the Whole Business, not just the Concrete
Being ready for the most demanding commercial projects is about more than just what kind of concrete mix you use. It’s about how the company is structured, how they communicate, how they stand behind their work and how they manage the risks of major construction projects.
Goodmanson Construction is one of the concrete, asphalt and excavation contractors who is ready for industrial and commercial projects!