The Role of a Construction Company Owner
Being the owner of a construction company is a lot like playing quarterback; you need the right skills, a lot of experience to call successful plays, the ability to handle stressful situations, the drive to take risks, and great vision. No matter how big the game is, or in other words, how large the construction company and the work you do is, the role of an owner is as difficult as it is important.
While owners are typically a large organization role title, we are also including founders and entrepreneurs in this definition.
With their business skills and industry-specific expertise, a construction company owner is tasked with planning and overseeing the growth and operation of their business. By setting short-term and long-term goals, defining their corporate vision, and determining their company's objectives, owners can create and execute a winning strategy.
That said, in order to execute a winning strategy and achieve their company's goals, the owners of both larger construction companies and smaller contracting companies are met with some common everyday duties that need to be both completed and balanced with one another. These everyday duties and responsibilities, which will be discussed in detail below, are crucial for the smooth and successful operation of any construction company.
To keep these duties and responsibilities organized for both the purpose of this blog as well as your own research, the primary tasks of a construction or contractor company owner and the tasks that they must perform can be categorized in the following sections:
Acquiring new and constant work is perhaps the most crucial duty of the construction company owner. Every other responsibility that will be mentioned below really doesn't matter if there's no work or revenue coming in. That said, depending on the size of the company and the scale of the work, an owner may not be primarily tasked with the acquisition of new business as they will hire people for this role. However, the owner of a construction company will always have more than a significant influence in this section of their operation.
All that said, here are the three main everyday duties that owners are responsible for in acquiring business are:
Overseeing Marketing/Advertising: No matter how large or small a construction company is, marketing a business and brand is something that must be done every single day. Here, the role of the owner is to either directly take charge of the marketing of the company or to direct the individual or team that is tasked with it. Whether you choose to use traditional or digital media to market, something as simple as giving direction for the idea and goal behind an advertising campaign is crucial for owners to do to help you drive more business.
Overseeing Bidding Activities: Bidding for contracts is one of, if not the main source of new work for most construction companies. Here, the role of the owner is either to directly bid on projects using their own expertise or to assist an estimator when needed.
Directly Meeting Potential Clients: Directly meeting potential clients is a duty that is not only important for construction company owners to do but it's also something that they are often solely responsible for. It may be cliche, but taking potential clients out for business lunches is a great way to build relationships with them in the possibility that business will be done in the future. Whether it's to simply introduce themselves or to actually talk about a potential contract, directly meeting with clients over coffee or lunch is a great way to acquire new work.
Although construction company owners are not project managers, they still need to manage their projects. It's important for owners to stay on top of their projects so that they can proactively address any and all issues that may arise on the job site. Furthermore, even if a large construction company has a project manager to take care of it all, the owner of that construction company should still oversee what's going on to have a better understanding of the operation as the primary stakeholder.
All that said, here are the main everyday duties that owners are responsible for in managing projects:
Funding & Budgeting Projects: Obviously, in order for work to get done, money must go into the project. Here, the owner of the construction company is responsible for funding the project and assisting in the budgeting of the project. The funds can be taken directly out of the company's account, or, more often than not, the funds can be acquired from a bank in the form of a loan.
Creating Timelines: Another quite obvious duty for the owner to complete is creating timelines for the work. Timelines should be set for the entirety of the project as well as smaller timeline goals during the project. The owner must work closely with their own workers as well as their client in order to create timelines.
Obtaining Permits: Regardless of the type of work being done, and the contractor-client relationship, permits need to be obtained when doing construction work. That said, it is the responsibility of the construction company owner to obtain the required permits for the work being planned.
Identification and Acquisition of Resources: Although this task might be assigned to a foreman and project manager depending on the size of the construction company, an owner's oversight is important when identifying and acquiring the required resources for the job. Owners must also be aware of the workforce, materials, and equipment required on the job site, especially since they are funding it all. With a wide selection of equipment types, sizes and prices, find the equipment you need in minutes on the DOZR Marketplace.
Supervise, Direct, and Inspect: Although construction company owners might not always have the time to be at the job site, it's a good idea for them to swing by periodically and observe. The purpose of this isn't just to make sure that their employees are working but also to check on job site progression, to evaluate health and safety standards, to determine whether legal regulations are being followed, and to make sure the work is following the standards of the contract agreement. As the owner is the one funding the project, that often makes them the most liable. Doing your due diligence is key in these scenarios.
Liase Communications: Commonly, the owner of a construction company is the only link between any and all clients of a project and the workforce on the job site. That said, it's crucial for owners to be liaisons of communications between all stakeholders of the project as well as the workers executing it.
Often the least sought-after part of being a construction company owner is the financial management side of doing business. Understandably, owners would like to work in other, more exciting areas of their company as the financial component is often the most stressful and tedious. However, managing company finances is a crucial responsibility for construction company owners. Without executing proper financial management an otherwise successful company could see unwanted and undeserved failure.
That said, the overall financial operations of a construction company can be managed by its owner by performing these duties:
Overseeing the Annual Budget: With perhaps the assistance of a financial advisor, it is the responsibility of the construction company owner to oversee the annual budget of their company and plan for the year's projects accordingly. If you keep detailed track of each project budget highlighted above then hopefully this is easier to manage throughout the year.
Overseeing "The Books": In any facet of business management, accounting is crucial. Whether it's the sole responsibility of the owner, or if there's an employee whose duty is to keep a record, a company's expenses, revenues, profits, and any other accounting necessities should see seen and understood by the owner. For example, an owner should be aware of their company's finances in case there's a financial discrepancy and their books need to be audited.
Directing Payments: The owner of a construction company has the duty to direct payments to both their employees and their suppliers. They are responsible for setting a schedule to pay employees, as well as paying off their credit accounts to any and all material and equipment suppliers. This also might include chasing down the people and clients who owe you money on completed projects.
At the end of the day, the owner of a construction company is simply the owner of a business. And like all business owners, they are responsible for overseeing several administrative duties in order to help run the company.
That said, here are the basic administrative oversight duties that owners are responsible for:
Overseeing Occupational Health & Safety: This responsibility includes creating effective risk management strategies, hazard communication programs, and preventive safety measures. The contracting of industry health and safety experts or consults is also commonly required for owners to properly complete tasks in this administrative area.
Hiring Qualified Staff: Depending on the size of their company, an owner may not be directly involved with hiring new staff. That said, at one point or another, a construction company owner will have to hire individuals for their team so it's important to lay a groundwork of trust from the first hire to the last.
Creating Company Policies: Similarily to overseeing occupational health and safety standards, owners must also either create or oversee their company's operating policies. This includes aspects like equal opportunity policies, vacation and sick-leave policies, code of conduct policies, and more.
Promoting Company Culture: This is, or at least was, an often overlooked aspect of running a business. That said, the owner of a construction company is responsible for creating and promoting a solid company culture to all employees. With an overall comfortable company culture as the foundation of a company, a construction company owner is setting up their company and employees for long-term success.
Ultimately, managing and executing all of these above-mentioned responsibilities is important for any company leader, owner, or founder to do. That said, apart from balancing priorities, making tough but educated decisions, and having a valuable hand in all aspects of business, being the owner of a construction company is all about being a leader. For an owner to be a good leader, having a vision is necessary, but the capacity to translate that vision into reality is what will make that owner a great leader and prolong the lifespan of the business.