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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

No Joke – It’s a Construction Project

What is a construction project made of?

What makes a successful construction project a successful construction project? What is the difference between done-on-time-under-budget and no-one-is-happy-with-this-mess?

First is the setup. It is rather like being prepared to tell a great joke. You must know the entire thing, backward and forward because it gets downright embarrassing if you “forget the funny part.”

Next is timing. Again, like the telling of an excellent joke, the timing must be right. The job can’t be rushed; go too fast, and important things are missed. Nor can it be too slow; delays concerning decision making lead to both minor and major problems.

Finally: the punch line. (Note: Not the punch list.) Keeping with our good joke example, if the setup has been good and the timing is spot on, then the punch line is where an organized construction contractor shines.

At final completion, when all pertinent warranties and documents, or simply the keys are handed over, it is the organized construction contractor who shows what a great construction project is made of. Setup, timing, and the punch line.

A good strategy, some rehearsal, the telling, and the punch line go into telling a good joke AND producing a successful construction project.


If you’ve got a good knowledge of construction processes, gotten the license, navigated the permit process, and bid on projects, you’ve mastered the first principle of being an organized construction contractor: strategy.

Strategy is one of the critical tools in the organized contractor’s toolbox. It takes practice and planning to get it right. And the strategies you use to set your construction company apart are worth the effort. Examples of what strategy covers include:

· Who to hire (and when to hire)

· Which jobs to bid on (and which to pass)

· When to outsource (and when to keep a task in-house)

· What type of marketing to use

· How to make the best use of your business-building time


Although a completed project may make it look as if the construction contractor just followed the instructions that came in the box, you and I know that isn’t at all what happened. Supply delays, weather, malfunctioning tools, change orders, and about a gazillion other interruptions or issues all bring about their own set of problems.

It is in the rehearsing that many of the possible problems are laid to rest.

Experienced crews are valuable. Every job you and your team have taken on prior to the one that is coming up has been a rehearsal. Just like theatrical stage crews are given “notes” at the end of rehearsals as well as performances (to improve their craft) organized construction contractors use the same technique to improve the performance of their crew.

From tailgate talks to daily atta-boys, from pre-job walks to completion celebrations, organized contractors know how to use rehearsal (experience) to their advantage.


There can’t be a punch line if the joke isn’t told. It doesn’t matter if the joke is long and drawn out (a shaggy dog story) or short and straightforward (Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.) telling the joke is the point. And constructing is the means of telling.

All the strategizing and rehearsing mean nothing if the job doesn’t get built. Here are the bottom-line basics for getting the job done.

· Bring the skill

· Show up on time

· Communicate, communicate, communicate

· Clean up the mess – even if it isn’t yours

· Own your mistakes

· Make safety real – not OSHA induced

· Care about the overall project goals

Don’t Give Away the Ending

Don’t give away the ending before the ending. But do give it. In other words, include the punch line.

A word of caution: don’t confuse this step with “under-promise and over-deliver.” Instead, do your best to show you’re a person of integrity who plans to deliver what you promise. This article from Top Secret explains well The Problem with Under-promise/Over-deliver.

This list of job completion objectives is a good start for delivering the punch line your owners, general contractors, or customers want to hear.

· Do everything in your power to meet (better yet, beat) deadlines

· Remain at or below budget whenever possible

· Be sure your crew completes pre-punch list punch lists

· Remind your employees regularly that the decent thing to do is also the smart thing

· Cultivate the mindset in yourself and your employees to care about the overall success of your customers and their projects

Second Take Punch Line

At the completion of your jobs, you still have the opportunity to set yourself apart from the pack. And, it’s this one simple thing many forget: send a handwritten thank you note to those involved for doing business with you.

The Profit Constructors provide Construction Accounting and Operational Accountability for small to medium Construction Contractors.

Our services allow you to organize your operations so you can

· Remain informed

· Avoid hassles

· Reduce risks

· Be future-ready

So you can Run With the Big Dogs!

Ready for action? Get in touch today to schedule a discovery call – this one’s on the house. New possibilities await. 866-629-7735

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