15 ways you could save time running your building firm

How well do you spend your working day? You know, in a lifetime you spend literally years sleeping, eating and queuing, months and months checking junk emails, sitting at traffic lights, brushing your teeth… So what about making the rest of your precious time really count.

Construction companies are typically fully on. And if you’re the boss you could easily be involved in estimation, delivering quotes, design, planning permission, approvals, health and safety, trips to the merchants… But if you feel like you’re consistently wasting time then take a look at what productive people do well and what undoubtedly contributes to the success of ambitious building firms!


Break-down-of-costs | | Building Software for Builders“Time flies but the good news is you’re the pilot”  as someone cleverly put it. If you could save even 30 minutes a day, think of the goals you could achieve with a bit more time? Maybe…

  • Coming up with new marketing ideas
  • Updating your website
  • Improving your IT set-up with new software
  • Health & Safety training
  • Renewing equipment
  • Recruiting new staff and appraising current ones
  • Searching out new suppliers and merchants
  • Talking to sales reps
  • Visiting trade shows
  • Going to demos
  • Watching the odd webinar
  • Looking for new land
  • Reviewing your quantity surveyor, bank, accountant…
  1. Mark Twain said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Do the least appetizing job first. You know the one you keep shuffling to the bottom of the pile. Get it done FIRST THING. And then you can go onto the good stuff.
  1. ‘Urgent’. Nightmare word. How much time do you spend putting out fires? Do those ‘urgent’ requests actually matter that much? Enough to keep putting off important jobs? Consider ignoring, yes ignoring, those ‘urgent’ cries for help. Or find a quick way of delegating them. In fact delegating is to be recommended full stop.
  1. ‘No’ on the other hand is a very effective word. Can you afford to give your time away that freely? Say no now and again. It’s not such a bad thing. It will actually improve your mood and make you more productive. Constantly saying yes can be more destructive.
  1. Turn your attention to one task. Multi-tasking is rarely a good thing in business. Focus on one thing and complete it. You’ll do it quicker and better.
  1. Group similar tasks and do them one after the other.

    You know how long it takes to get into the groove, so once you’re in it, stick with it and get it all done. You might find yourself killing two birds with one stone in the process.

  1. ‘The two-minute rule’. Obvious but clever. Handle two-minute tasks straight away. If you know it will take that short a time then do it immediately. Bang. In. Out. Done. It’s a waste of time and energy to add it to a list or have it in the back of your mind.
  1. Equally, don’t look at something and abandon it a few minutes later. As soon as something has your attention make a decision. And if it’s not a two-minute job, think about what’s required, decide on the next step or quickly delegate it. There’s that delegation word again…
  1. Ask more questions.

    Guessing is a great big fat waste of time. Trial and error won’t get you there faster. Employees, subbies, sales reps and customers will like you for it and you’ll save time. Win-win. And on the same theme – write it down. There’s nothing big, clever or quicker about trying to remember stuff.

  1. Pick up the phone

    -don’t email – there are some tasks that could be sorted in a fraction of the time with one or two phone calls.

  1. Stop jumping in and out of the van. Plan better and visit the merchants less. Get a list of all the materials for all your jobs onto paper and think logically about what you need where and when. And if that’s just not going to happen – get software that will do it for you.
  1. Stop doing things manually.

    There could be a number of tasks that you are currently doing by hand, with a calculator, on a note pad… that could become automated/completed by software. Spend a few hours now on your software – or find an entirely new programme such as estimation software, CAD design software or health and safety software – and save days and weeks in the long term. Honest. We should know! You can even synchronise data across programmes so you only input it once – well you can with HBXL Building Software!

  1. Shut the door and go into hiding. 

    This will help with point 11. Even if it’s just for an hour. Say no calls, no knocks on the door, no email checking. Head down, undistracted and get the job done.

  1. Just do it! Let’s face it, decision-making really doesn’t have to be a long drawn process. Don’t overthink it. Share it with someone else. Say it out loud. Can the business afford it? Is it a worthwhile investment? Would the business benefit? Yes? Go for it.
  1. Plan ahead.    

    Take a few minutes at the end of the day to prepare for the next one. It confirms what you’ve done that day and makes sure you have a productive tomorrow. And that includes clearing your desk. How much time do you waste looking for things?

  1. And finally – whilst all of the pointers here have been office/admin orientated, there are probably another 15 again for the construction side as well. Just for starters – choose your labourers and trades people well – it will save you time all ways round.

And if you only pick up on one point here, it’s a start. Busy isn’t always a good thing, it could be masking a few short-comings. It’s all about time management, whether you’re a house-builder, doing loft conversions, renovations or extensions.

And if we can offer any advice on using the right software tools to increase your productivity, such as HBXL’s EstimatorXpress 2018 for speedy estimating, take-offs and quoting, then give us a call on 0117 916 7898 or email sales@hbxl.co.uk – we’ve got the time if you have!