Sometimes it’s best to say no to a construction project

Here’s why fully understanding the scope of work for a project and learning to say no can actually benefit your construction business

Chelsea Cole / Buildertrend

In an industry where anything can turn on a dime, it’s tempting to take on every construction project that comes your way. However, taking the time to understand the scope of work for each job and respectfully declining some work can actually protect your time and your bottom line.

Committing to every job isn’t always in your best interest, especially when they require too many resources, or the financial return isn’t great enough to be worth it. Carefully choosing projects allows you to be in control. Here are some instances when you should say no to projects.

When there’s a lack of resources to get the job done

Whether it’s labor capacity, materials or know-how, you want to be sure you have the necessary resources to complete a construction project before agreeing to it. Short supply in any of these areas should signal it’s in your best interest to pass.

Overpromising can undercut your company’s success. Taking a project you lack resources for leaves you challenged to follow through. Inevitable delays on the job will lead to unhappy clients, trigger bad reviews and result in fewer referrals.

Unless you can justify adding more resources, turning down some projects will allow you to dedicate valuable time and effort to the projects you already have. They say “less is more” and in the case of construction jobs, it’s oftentimes the truth.

When the financial balance doesn’t make sense

Before deciding whether or not to take on another construction project, consider any financial drawbacks or risks involved. Adding a new job may seem like a win upfront, but it could end in unwanted costs or less-than-ideal return.

Take the time to review and compare expenses against the revenue you’re bringing in. Make sure there is a balance between the two and know for sure if the gains will outweigh any losses. Know your company’s equity and keep any underbilling low to ensure you maintain a healthy cash flow.

By taking these steps in understanding your financials, you’ll be able to confidently determine when it’s best to say no to a new job. Learn how project management software can help strengthen your financial management.

When clients have unreasonable expectations or terms

Your gut instinct may be one of your best tools in deciding if a client and their project are the right fit for your business. Sometimes it’s OK to adjust to meet your client’s needs, but you want to make sure you don’t step too far outside your boundaries.

There are going to be times when potential clients have unattainable expectations for a construction project. Their dreams are just too big to fit into reality, or the scope of work for what they want is not in the realm of possibilities for your team.

Let clients know your capabilities and set clear expectations before you agree to take on their project. If potential clients come back with unreasonable or illegal requests such as rushing timelines or skipping permits, take that as a red flag and move on. It’s not worth putting yourself, your team and your business at risk. Check out these questions to ask before taking on a new project.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with saying “no,” especially under circumstances like these.

Related: 5 Ways to Tell Clients You Don’t Have Time for Their Job

Let Buildertrend help you manage your construction projects

Choosing the right projects and prioritizing efficiency and profit margins can help your business grow responsibly.

Using Buildertrend to manage your construction projects will help your business complete jobs on time and on budget while ensuring more work comes your way. To learn more about our construction software, project management tools and how they can keep your jobs running smoothly, schedule a demo today.


About the Author

Chelsea Cole
Chelsea Cole

Chelsea Cole is a content marketing specialist at Buildertrend

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