Construction comes with many expenses. Some of them are relatively unpredictable. From the initial plans to the final product, your expectations of cost can change. As your crew runs into issues or needs to adjust, you’ll have extra expenses you hadn’t planned on beforehand. When you have to go beyond your budgeted amount, it can hurt your bottom line. However, if there’s no sure way of knowing whether or not you’ll have to stretch your budget, how can you give your crew a better chance at a more significant profit?
Jump to Section:
- Thorough Research
- Renting Equipment
- Operator Training
- Technology-Enhanced Equipment
- Save Money With MacAllister Rentals
The best way is by reducing job costs. There are many different parts of the construction process in which you can potentially save money, and even relatively small savings can add up quickly. This guide will take you through some of the best ways to save money on any construction project.
1. Thorough Research
One of the first steps in any construction project should be to conduct some basic research. Doing so helps you provide an accurate estimate for your client and create a comprehensive budget for individual projects. Conducting thorough research can help you save money in the long run.
When you’re doing research for a new project, look into things like the terrain of the construction site, how many hours the project might take and what kind of equipment your crew will need. If you want to save money, you have to get into more specific research, like price comparisons and possible setbacks to avoid. Some of the specifics you should look into include:
- Tax cuts: Taxes on equipment, materials, permits and other items account for a significant amount of project costs. But, if you do your research, you may find ways to reduce what you pay in taxes. For example, purchasing red diesel instead of regular diesel fuel for construction vehicles that are not operating on public roads means you’ll pay lower taxes. Researching taxes on services and materials, types of contracts and any exceptions and exemptions that might apply will help you avoid making mistakes or missing tax breaks. You also need to know all your state’s rules and regulations to be able to bid accurately. If you incorrectly estimate sales tax, it can have a substantial impact on your profit margin.
- Rental equipment: Renting your construction equipment can save you money in many situations. Renting equipment enables your company to save on maintenance and storage costs and gain access to a wide variety of construction vehicles. Comparing the prices and offerings of multiple rental facilities will help you find the best partner for your needs. But you also should be sure you’re renting from a reliable company. Check on each company’s maintenance and insurance policies, as well as the average lifespan of their equipment.
- Permits: Ensuring you have the correct permits before beginning projects will save you time once you get to work. If you realize you’re missing a necessary permit after starting, you may have to put the operation on hold. Losing time is costly, and waiting for a permit could take days or weeks that you don’t have.
- Potential issues: Once you setup your worksite and get into construction, it can be costly and time-consuming to change your workflow or have to troubleshoot problems. Large logistical issues can cause delays or require backtracking to fix. Make sure you consider what could potentially go wrong while you’re making initial plans.
- Market pricing: Price shopping isn’t just for equipment. If you’re buying materials or investing in new technology, you should be sure that you’re not overpaying. Before making purchases, check the going rates and conduct a comparison of different vendors.
Before you can start work on any construction job, you need to have a solid plan in place. Not only will having a comprehensive plan save you money in several areas, but it’ll also help you make an estimate and give you an accurate idea of what your budget needs to be. You should consider every factor, from equipment to materials to labor, and organize your spending.
2. Renting Equipment
For most construction companies, equipment is easily one of the largest expenses. If unexpected equipment expenses arise, it can be difficult to stay on budget. In many cases, such as if you only need a piece of equipment temporarily, renting may be able to save you money. The many cost-cutting benefits of renting include:
- Short-term commitment: Equipment rentals provide you with a lot of freedom. For one, you only have to commit to keeping the equipment you rent for a short period. You don’t have to worry about wear and tear, replacements or general maintenance. When you’re finished using a piece of equipment, you can choose to return it or continue renting it to use it for another project. Being able to decide how long you want to hold on to a piece of equipment can save your business a lot of money. If the long-term commitment of purchasing seems unnecessary, renting is a viable alternative. You won’t have to worry about value depreciation, storage or any other form of long-term commitment.
- No maintenance or repairs: When you rent a piece of equipment, you don’t have to worry about investing significant amounts of time and money into repairs and maintenance. The rental company will handle the bulk of these responsibilities, and when you receive the equipment, it should be in good condition. You only have to worry about taking care of the equipment during the short period in which you have it. When you’re done using the equipment, you return it, and the rental company handles its upkeep.
- Access to the latest technology: As technology improves, it’s important to take advantage of the benefits that newer models offer. The enhanced capabilities of these new models can boost productivity and help your operators get projects finished faster and more accurately. When new models come out, the best rental companies will make them available to your team. Since you can rent new equipment for every project, you’ll be able to use new technology in your fleets without having to wait. Your crew will be able to boost their productivity, and you’ll save money due to the improved fuel and energy efficiency that new equipment offers.
- Only pay for what you need: The equipment your team needs to get the job done efficiently will change depending on the required construction materials, the worksite conditions and other factors of each project. By renting your equipment, you’ll be able to access the proper equipment for the duration of the construction job or as long as you need the individual pieces. You won’t have to pay for anything you aren’t using. Also, if you have multiple projects to cover or are completing a large project, you may need multiples of certain construction vehicles. Renting enables you to scale your fleet up or down as required, which also gives you the flexibility to cover several areas at once.
Overall, renting can help your company keep its equipment costs low and its efficiency high. As long as you choose to partner with a reliable company, renting can be a smart choice for your business.
3. Operator Training
You may mostly think of investing in your business as making purchases and updating technology. However, you also need to invest in your workers. Your employees are the heart of your business, and without their diligence, you wouldn’t be able to get anything accomplished. While every position is important, some of your most valuable employees are your operators.
Operators have specific sets of skills that require training and education. They handle heavy machinery and large loads of materials around their coworkers, so they need to take safety seriously. To ensure they’re following all the proper safety guidelines while working at peak efficiency, they need to put in hours of class time, reviewing machinery and getting experience in the cabs. Investing in your operators’ education is essential for the wellbeing of your employees and your bottom line.
How does providing training for your operators help you reduce construction costs? It can help save you money by:
- Reducing equipment expenses: With proper training, your team will be able to tell which kinds of equipment will work best for each project and will know how to use them properly. They’ll also be able to determine the minimum amount of equipment needed to finish a job efficiently, so you’ll know how much to rent to minimize costs. With training, they’ll also know how to keep your equipment healthy through maintenance, check-ups and proper use. By reducing the amount of wear and tear on your vehicles, you’ll reduce the likelihood of having to make costly repairs and you’ll save money on fuel.
- Preventing excess labor: You put a lot of trust in your operators to complete jobs safely. It can be challenging and costly to find a team of operators that work well together. If you want to incorporate new technology, it’s more beneficial to focus on training your current employees than to hire new ones. When you have multi-skilled operators, they’ll be able to operate a variety of equipment and adapt to any job within their field.
- Increasing efficiency: When an operator is confident in their job, it shows. Proper and continual training will build your operators’ skill levels and help them work more efficiently. That productivity boost translates to less time spent on projects and better results, meaning lower labor costs and higher profits.
- Adapting to new technology: In the construction industry, technology is always evolving. If you want to surpass your competitors, you have to stay ahead of the curve. Providing continual training for your operators will allow them to stay up to date on the latest equipment. If your operators have the proper training, your team will be able to rent new models and take advantage of their advanced features. Doing so will boost productivity and ensure your team has the best possible equipment. It will also show potential customers that your company can adapt to change.
Your operators are essential to your team’s efficiency. When you provide them with continual training and learning opportunities, they’ll help your company thrive while also saving money. Also, since they are crucial to maintaining a safe workspace, they help lower your liability costs. Training is more than just a way to reduce expenses — it’s an investment in safety, efficiency and overall quality.
4. Technology-Enhanced Equipment
As the construction industry continues to grow and evolve, so, too, does the technology it uses. Technological advancements are arriving at a faster pace than ever before and becoming more integrated into construction work.
Every construction company tries to stay ahead of — or at least keep up with — the curve. Having the latest in construction technology distinguishes you from competitors. It can help your team be more efficient and can save you time and money on projects. Those who don’t adapt to the changes will fall behind and have to fight against their outdated equipment constantly. From new capabilities to operational changes, technology is an investment that will benefit your company in the short and long term.
Some of the latest advancements in construction technology include:
- Telematics: Telematics systems are becoming essential to the construction industry. They communicate machine diagnostics and other information to fleet and jobsite managers. These systems provide valuable data reports, remotely tracking statistics such as location, fuel usage and general machine operation. With consistent monitoring, they can help your managers prevent inactivity as well as theft or misuse of company equipment. The real-time data this technology provides enables you to manage crews and operators from anywhere. In addition to monitoring workflow, you can also receive information about your equipment’s health, including metrics such as tire pressure and temperature. Having telematics systems in place allows you to accurately schedule preventative maintenance and repairs before doing any costly damage.
- Payload weighing: Monitoring the equipment itself is important for reducing job costs and improving productivity, but so are certain outside sources of data. For one, measuring payloads gives you an idea of how much material your operators are moving and how quickly they’re moving it. External scales have historically been the typical mode of measurement on construction sites. But with new technology, some brands have been able to incorporate internal scales. With these integrated systems, operators can see the payload weight displayed inside the cab. Your operators will be able to better track performance based on daily and hourly tonnage, load counts, fuel usage per ton and other key indicators. They’ll also be able to achieve peak productivity by ensuring they hit the exact load weight targets every time.
- Grade control: While the idea of grade control isn’t new, the systems for measuring it are becoming more integrated and powerful than before. Where some machines have external masts or cables to read grades, new technology is all internal, reducing costs and the potential for damage and theft. This technology not only solves the faults of external devices but also provides improved speed and precision.
- Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs): UAVs, also known as drones, are quickly becoming a crucial piece of technology for the construction industry. By 2024, commercial use of drones will surpass consumer use, with construction at the forefront. On jobsites, drones can serve a multitude of purposes, including tracking productivity, managing inventory, verifying project progress, capturing topographical data and assessing areas that might pose safety risks.
Investing in and integrating new technology into your fleets can save you money in the long run. With immediate access to equipment statistics, you can better manage your operators and pay close attention to how your costs are stacking up. Your operators will also have the benefit of being able to work more independently and ensure they keep productivity levels high. To get the most out of new tech, you should train and collaborate with operators and fleet managers.
One of the most overlooked ways to save your company time and money is by ensuring you have clear channels of communication. All of your employees should be sharing their ideas, struggles and progress throughout each project. Every worker will have a different experience and perspective to bring to the table.
The benefits of strong communication include:
- Inside knowledge: On a construction worksite, different workers often focus on different tasks, and each worker has more knowledge about their assigned task than anyone else does. For example, you operators are the individuals with the most authority on construction vehicles and equipment. They spend the most time working with the equipment and know what your team needs to complete a given job. They can provide you with details regarding size, weight and capabilities, depending on the intended uses. Whoever is responsible for renting should always consult the operators before making any decisions.
- Collaboration: Employees also need to stay connected so that every worker is on the same page. As your construction projects continue, there may be changes to the schedule or timeline. Regardless of who those changes directly affect, everyone should know about them. A delay in one area might allow for more time in another, or it may cause a conflict you were unaware of before. If all your workers are connected and communicating effectively, you’ll be able to boost your efficiency. Your managers and operators must also remain connected, as miscommunication between the two could have adverse effects on progress. The more they stay in contact, the less likely they are to make errors, and the higher their productivity will be.
- Confidence: While your employees need to be sure they’re working together effectively, you need to communicate with your customers throughout the construction process. Before starting, check in with them to make sure you’re on the same page with all the fine details and see if you need to make any changes to the plans. Not only will they appreciate the confirmation, but your employees will also be able to complete the project with confidence. As your team works through it, provide the customer with updates and continue to check in with them. If you’re diligent about communication, your team won’t have to second-guess anything, and you’ll build better relationships with your customers.
All of these areas will directly affect your expenses. For one, consistent communication means enhanced efficiency. Higher efficiency translates to less fuel usage, lower labor costs and a smaller margin for error. You’ll also be sure you have all the right materials and equipment to handle any project, without overbuying or needing to exchange any rentals.
Save Money on Construction With MacAllister Rentals
When you’re looking to save money on construction equipment, MacAllister Rentals has you covered. At any of our many locations across Indiana and Michigan, our professional staff will help you choose from our extensive selection of equipment and vehicles. You’ll have access to high-quality, reliable brands like Cat®, Sullair, JLG, Wacker Neuson and more. With our top-tier customer service, you’ll always have the help you need to get the job done — in-store and on-site.