7 Greatest Challenges Facing Construction Subcontractors
Many pain-points of the subcontractor have been around for years, while many are just now surfacing. No matter the age of these issues, they are here and will effect the way subcontractors conduct business. Subcontractors face both internal and external pressures during their job and must react to both. They are responsible for their team and the general contractor as well as any outside pressures such as the environment, the law, and the government.
I’m sure you can name more, but below are seven of the greatest challenges facing construction subcontractors:
1. Worker shortage
The worker shortage continues to be problematic as project demand increases. This has caused great concern for contractors and has lead to them changing their companies regarding pay, training, and technology to attract new talent.
The construction industry is becoming less desirable to the youth that is entering the workforce. Less and fewer millennials are studying a vocational trade, such as construction, as many are being pushed toward traditional higher education.
The construction industry needs to partner with high schools and vocational schools both to recruit potential candidates but also to remind young students that construction is a viable and lucrative career path. Along with this, subcontractors should amplify promoting internships or apprenticeships to get young people involved. These are great ways for a company to test out a prospective employee before hiring him full-time, while also providing the apprentice with hands on experience. Subcontractors will be able to use their relationships with surrounding schools to promote and recruit for these internships.
2. Time constraints
As projects continue to be available and are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, subcontractors are struggling to stay on schedule. Many have taken steps to combat this issue by utilizing project management technology that allows them to save time during the project by streamlining everyday processes. Streamlined communication, real-time data entry, and easy to use field solutions have trimmed the fat on construction projects, allowing subcontractors to do more with less.
3. Government regulation
Regulations are ever changing, which makes it difficult for the subcontractor to constantly stay up-to-date to ensure he is working within the appropriate rules. Subcontractors must continually be keeping up with blogs and publications from the construction industry to ensure they do not miss any news that will affect their business. Not only do the subcontractors have to spend time keeping up with the regulations, but must also devote time in the field to comply with the regulations which in turn incurs extra costs. Mobile technology will allow the subcontractor to cut back on time in other areas, so these new government regulations will not cause them to fall behind schedule.
4. Trouble getting paid
As a subcontractor, your paycheck is only as good as your record keeping. Without detailed and accurate documents, the subcontractor may face trouble collecting the money his time and labor. This is why it is so important to keep accurate records, but also keep those records organized in a single place where they can be easily accessed from the field, updated and sent out at any time.
5. Lack of communication
Communication is the backbone of all efficient operations. Without communication, nobody can work together. Therefore, improving communications can massively streamline operations and improve accuracy. The use of mobile and cloud-based software will allow subcontractors to improve communication between the field and the office to ensure real-time communication between all members invested in a project. This allows project managers and supervisors to keep track of the progress on the jobsite ensuring projects meet milestones and deadlines. Having alternatives without having to up-end resources for projects is the direct result of better communication project communication.
6. Managing Documents & files
There are a massive number of documents and files that the subcontractor is responsible for and it is hard to keep them organized, especially if the subcontractor is using paper-based records and archaic processes. If a subcontractor uses a mobile and cloud-based system for his record keeping, he will be able to easily access all notes, documents, photos, and anything else he might need. Out in the field and the office. Employing easy to use files, more importantly, quickly tracking the most up to date versions save him the trouble of any stoppage or rework, a continual hazard from traditional record keeping.
7. Integrating technology
The construction industry is shifting, and the need for mobile and cloud-based technology is becoming a necessity to stay competitive. However, integrating these technologies can pose a challenge in itself. The technology should not change the operations of your company, but rather act as an aid for streamlining existing practices. The technology should be implemented slowly rather than all at once to resist opposition from veteran employees who may not believe in the use of technology.
The future is bright for the learner
As with any industry, many issues plaguing subcontractors are here to stay because of the nature of the business. However, with increased adoption of technology, the construction subcontractor market is becoming more competitive than ever. The subcontractor must keep up with industry trends to know exactly what issues they will be facing and how they are going to react to these challenges.