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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

Running Your Construction Business is like Playing a Game of Cards




You Must Be Familiar with the Rules

Just like there are different rules for different card games, there are different rules for different types of construction contractors. For example, even though you use the same kind of cards, you don’t play a game of Rummy the same way you play a game of Spades or Bridge. Even though you’re in the construction industry, the rules vary depending on whether you’re a general contractor, a plumbing contractor, an electrical contractor, or some more niche version within the industry. Being familiar with the rules is imperative.


Know Which Game You’re Playing

Don’t be fooled by the back of the cards – it is what’s on the face of the cards that counts. For example, no number cards except for nines and tens are represented when playing Pinochle. A pinochle deck consists of 48 cards, with two cards of each rank and suit from ace through ten, king, queen, jack, and nine.


So, if you show up at a Pinochle tournament with a regulation set of playing cards, not only can you not win, you can’t even play the game.


The same holds for the construction industry. And it is powerful. When it is about more than specializing in a trade (like when it requires a specific deck of cards,) the contractor who finds a niche, whether as a GC or as a sub, has a distinct advantage.


One example is MakoRabco, a general contracting company specializing in self-storage units.


Another example is Detwiler Roofing, a subcontractor specializing in steep-slope roofs.


When you and your potential clients know exactly what you do and what you’re good at doing, it makes playing the game easier.


Play the Hand You Were Dealt

One pundit has said, “The key to success is to play the hand you were dealt like it is the one you wanted.” It is a matter of making the most of what you have. In a card game, that means taking advantage of the cards and the plays at your disposal.


Overcoming adversity in the construction world also depends on taking advantage of all at your disposal. One bottom-line consequence is that it allows you to develop confidence in your problem-solving capabilities. When dealing with the challenges that pop up in construction, you can avoid making additional mistakes by practicing patience during the problem-solving process. And as in card games, the secret is focus and concentration.


An additional item to consider is that by playing the cards you’re dealt in a game or the construction business, you avoid the mind game brought on by envy. Compare and despair.


Strategize to Overcome Chance

Let’s face it: if you’re playing a game of cards, chance is indeed part of the game. Sometimes the “luck of the draw” is for you, and sometimes it is not. When it’s not, your ability to strategize comes to the forefront.


Good card players use these strategies:

  • Play fairly and be respectful. (A poor winner is as bad as a poor loser.)

  • Take advantage of intuition and chance.

  • Use short-term memory skills, such as remembering what has been played and thinking about the next move.

  • Practice quick decision-making skills amid constant action.

  • Cultivate logic and comprehension skills, like understanding the rules and the text of the cards and how they interact.

  • Understand that overbidding and underbidding can both be detrimental.

  • Recognize that compatible teammates are preferable.


Good construction business owners practice the same or similar strategies as good card players. Some of them are:

  • Be a man or woman of integrity.

  • Use insight and practice discernment.

  • Use short-term memory skills to know what happened yesterday and plan the next steps.

  • Practice quick decision-making skills during constant action.

  • Cultivate logic and comprehension skills, like understanding the subject matter, industry standards, and methods to overcome obstacles.

  • Understand that overbidding and underbidding can both be detrimental.

  • Recognize that compatible teammates are preferable.


“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” — Charles R. Swindoll


Take Calculated Risks

By mastering game strategies, card players become better equipped to make informed decisions, adapt to different situations, and ultimately enhance their chances of winning. As the game progresses, they are prepared to adjust their strategy. They keep an eye on the evolving game dynamics and are willing to change their game plan when necessary, including taking calculated risks.


Writing for ConstructConnect, Kendall Jones says, “Risks aren’t always a negative. Being able to effectively identify and manage risks can lead to increased profits, establishing good relationships with clients that result in more projects, and being able to expand your business into new markets and sectors.” Jones’s article, Construction Risk Management: Identifying and Managing Project Risks, is concise and informative. Like good card game players, good construction business owners practice taking calculated risks.


Have Fun

I AIM TO WIN whenever I take my place at the game table. And sometimes that doesn’t happen. But that isn’t a problem. That isn’t a problem because I also have another goal in mind when I take my seat – Have Fun!


Here are ten things I’ve learned by being a card game player:

  1. Following the rules is imperative.

  2. Different players have varying skill levels.

  3. Diverse games require distinct strategies.

  4. Angry or fretful players are disruptive and troublesome.

  5. Sometimes, practicing patience is required.

  6. Other times, decisions must be made quickly.

  7. Risky moves can pay off.

  8. Being attentive is expedient.

  9. Practicing camaraderie increases enjoyment.

  10. Having a good sense of humor is immensely valuable.


Running a construction company is serious business! But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Take a lesson from serious card players (like me) and include a bit of merriment, laughter, and festivity along the way.


Remember This

Whether you’ve been dealt a bad hand or you hold all the cards, you’re still in the game. When you’re faced with holding the cards close to the vest or laying all the cards on the table, you’re still in the game. When you play your cards right, or you play your trump card, or you have an ace in the hole, you’re on top of the game. Oh yeah, as Dad used to tell my brother and me with his lyrical Texas drawl, “ya gotta play accorden’ ta Hoyle.”




Ambitious Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:


  • Clients and customers

  • Employees and subcontractors

  • Vendors and service providers

  • Governmental entities


Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:


  • Remain informed

  • Avoid hassles

  • Reduce risks

  • Be future-ready


Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. 866-629-7735

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