Document Document Document
Documents run business
Documents run business and, in the construction contracting business, the very idea of documentation is embedded in the name. You see it, don’t you? Contract.
Of course, the need for documentation expands beyond the world of contracts. Here at The Profit Constructors, we find it quite telling that some of the earliest known documents are those that reported who owed what (and how much) to whom.
Detangling the word “document”
The word “document” occupies two zones in the English language. In other words, “document” can be used as either a noun or a verb. For instance, we Americans have a document (noun) known as the Constitution of the United States of America. That piece of paper was used to document (verb) the establishment of a new government.
As a noun -- a piece of written, printed, or electronic matter that provides information or evidence or that serves as an official record.
In verb form -- record (something) in written, photographic, or other form.
Documents foundation to communication
From proposals to contracts and everything in between, your documents are communicating something to all parties involved. Since excellent communication is imperative for maintaining a well-run construction contracting business, it stands to reason that excellent documentation is the foundation.
To make it more understandable, I’ve listed just a few of the ways documents can serve you:
Documents framework to order
There isn’t any part of your construction business that isn’t affected in one way or another by documents and documentation. For instance:
· Legal issues
· Marketing endeavors
· Customer service solutions
· Bid and proposal submissions
· Funding potential
· Permit and license matters
· OSHA-Related issues
· Taxes and tax credit concerns
· Construction contracts
Then, other documents establish viability as well as feasibility, like:
· Accounting records – including source documents
· Employee knowledge (business procedures)
· Personnel records
· Insurance policies
· Bank accounts
· Credit cards or loans
· Mortgages or rental agreements
· Pension plans and retirement benefit information
· Titles or deeds
· Investment portfolios
Documents as a resource
Well maintained and accurate documents act as a resource for planning and new strategies. Being able to look at your reports and see what you’ve done well and where you need improvement makes document creation and storage well worth the effort beyond the legal and financial obligations.
Documents are everywhere
I wasn’t all that surprised when I clicked on the link to the AIA website to find they offer nearly 200 industry-standard construction contracts and forms. As I said earlier, documents run business.
And, if you’ve been paying attention, you realize that most documents used to keep your business running are legally or financially required. For example, handshakes notwithstanding, construction contracts must be documented. Maintaining personnel files isn’t left to your choice; you must do it. If you expect to get a loan or some form of funding, your financial documents must be accurate and up to date.
Yet, there are a few documents you create which are not legally mandated. The most recognizable of those is your marketing efforts, including social media, blogs, and other forms of advertising.
Social media and blogs as documents
One area many overlook as documentation is social media posts and blogs. It is best to remember that what you post is a form of documentation. Use it well.
And don’t forget that negative reviews can be used to your advantage if you respond well. Your response is another form of documenting your good sense and attention to fair play.
Well that was unexpected
Finally, I want to offer this bit of information concerning documentation through advertising. The other day I ran across this story, a submission to Reader’s Digest.
“A customer walked into my clothing shop and asked to see the pants that were advertised in the paper that day. ‘We don’t have an ad in the paper today,’ I told her. She insisted I was wrong, so I got a copy of the paper, and we went through it, eventually landing on an ad for pants from another local store. Exasperated, the customer glared at me and said, ‘In my newspaper, the ad was for this store!’” —Edward Oppenheimer
It seems that some people won’t believe your documentation (or lack thereof) even when you show it to them in black and white. 😏
We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction subcontractor through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers.
The Profit Constructors Provide Contract Document Management and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.
So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735