The Best Ways to Improve Your Construction Skills

Construction skills are key to completing onsite projects. Examples of these skills include machine operation, masonry, carpentry, and project management.

Proficiency in math, the ability to use common tools, and adherence to safety rules are important to construction employers. Demonstrating your construction skills can help you land the job that is right for you.

Follow these guidelines to improve your construction skills.

Stay Physically Fit

Maintaining your physical fitness increases your construction work performance. This also minimizes your risk of injuries. You can reach these objectives by eating healthy foods, exercising daily, and performing tasks that require dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Embrace Technology

Staying current on construction technology promotes professional development. One example is reality capture, where you gather real-time information about project sites through drones, laser scanners, or other technology. Construction professionals use the information gathered to make decisions and determine their course of action.

You can regularly read professional websites and publications to learn about the latest developments in construction technology. You also can spend time using mobile apps, drones, and other emerging technology relevant to your work.

Learn New Construction Techniques

Methods to perform construction tasks like pipe fitting and drywall finishing continue to improve. Newer skills include working with modular construction practices, construction robotics, and offsite manufacturing strategies. These modern methods of construction minimize labor costs and improve construction quality, as well as reducing the time to complete projects.

Updating your construction techniques increases your on-the-job efficiency. You can develop your methods by reading industry publications, watching professional videos, or working with experienced construction professionals.

Participate in Classes

By remaining current on building materials, tools and equipment, and processes, you add value to construction projects. Consider engaging in continuing education through online classes, community colleges, or trade schools. You may want to take a heavy equipment operation class through a construction equipment manufacturer.

Engage in Safety Courses

Prioritizing safety is important for construction work. You may regularly read regulatory websites or publications, take safety classes, or earn safety certifications. OSHA offers free, and low-cost courses focused on important safety protocols.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Strong interpersonal skills are increasingly important as automation becomes more common. Your ability to interact professionally with others enhances your work performance.

For instance, displaying effective verbal, nonverbal, and written communication minimizes accidents, injuries, errors, and delays in completing projects. Also, through critical thinking, you can quickly adapt to project changes. Additionally, conflict management minimizes disruptions that could delay project completion.

You can develop your soft skills by reading about best practices in industry publications. Then, you can implement what you learned while on the job.

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Root Causes of Construction Company Failures

Running a successful construction business can be challenging. The high number of industry risks often causes companies to fail.

Multiple issues cause most construction company failures. Understanding the most common issues helps you avoid them.

Pay attention to these five root causes of construction company failures to increase your odds of success.

Insufficient Capital

Running a construction company requires a significant amount of capital. Tools, heavy equipment, vehicles, and other fixed assets require substantial amounts of capital.

Insufficient capital poses a substantial risk for a construction company. For instance, overleveraging, tying up funds in ongoing projects, and overinvesting in underutilized fixed assets may cause the company to access reserve capital. If the company leadership depletes the reserve capital, the business will be unable to manage unexpected events or get through lean times.

Improper Cash Flow

The amount of cash coming into and going out of the construction company must be effectively managed. This includes efficiently managing project budgets, billing for projects, and collecting invoices.

Responsibly managing cash flow allows the company to pay its expenses and debts, reinvest in the business, and maintain emergency reserves. Having more money going out than coming in can result in company failure.

Inadequate Workforce

A construction company is as good as its workers. This includes everyone from the executive leadership team down.

Having the right workers in place means they are engaged and productive. These workers perform efficiently, finishing the work both on time and within budget.

Offering competitive income and benefits, providing on-the-job training, and promoting from within create a culture that attracts and retains quality workers. Failure to fulfill these needs encourages workers to find employment elsewhere. The lack of a qualified workforce leads to company failure.

Subpar Project Performance

The projects a construction company takes on must be profitable. Determining which projects are the right fit for the business is important.

For instance, completing due diligence when estimating and job costing helps the company take on profitable work. Also, planning the work to complete the project on time and within budget increase the likelihood of making money. Additionally, having the right leadership, workers, and equipment help a project be profitable.

Failure to effectively manage projects may result in thin margins or substantial losses. Repetitive losses can result in the company’s failure.

Rapid Business Growth

A construction company’s expansion requires the proper knowledge, resources, and workforce. This growth may include taking on additional or larger projects, entering new geographic areas, or constructing new types of buildings.

Making incremental changes tends to be the most effective for company expansion. Conversely, a lack of research and planning can result in complications and company failure.

Need Help Adding to Your Team?

Trade Management has the skilled trade professionals needed to complete your construction projects. Learn more today.

How to Perform Well in Various Job Interview Formats

How to Perform Well in Various Job Interview Formats

Job interviews can be stressful. Your performance impacts whether you advance in the hiring process.

Preparing for a job interview increases your odds of success. Practicing your answers helps you feel confident while delivering the information the interviewer is looking for.

Understanding the job interview format is essential. Practicing answers to questions in the same format the interviewer will use increases your comfort level.

Drawing on this experience helps you perform well during your interview. This increases the likelihood of advancing in the hiring process.

Implement these tips to perform well in different job interview formats.

Behavioral Interview

A behavioral interview includes questions about how you handled a workplace situation. Your answers indicate how you might handle similar situations in the future. These responses also demonstrate how you handle pressure at work and the value you can add to the company.

Tips to prepare for a behavioral interview:

  • Study the job description.
  • List the top skills and qualifications.
  • Outline an example that shows your ability in each area.
  • Use the STAR method to describe the situation, task, action, and result for each story.
  • Practice your answers out loud.
  • Keep your responses under 2 minutes.

Case Interview

The questions for a case interview provide insight into the clients and projects the company handles. Your answers show your problem-solving skills, analytical ability, and strategic and logical thinking. Your responses also help assess your common sense, creativity, and comfort with ambiguity.

Tips to prepare for a case interview:

  • Take notes throughout the case exercise
  • Understand the issue and question
  • Uncover the underlying assumptions
  • Ask questions
  • Summarize the issues and findings
  • Share the framework for your hypothesis
  • Provide your recommendations
  • Highlight the next steps and anticipated results and impacts
  • Show clear thinking, practical judgment, and professionalism
  • Convey your logic and thought process

Group Interview

A group interview shows your leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. It also demonstrates how you perform under pressure.

Tips to prepare for a group interview:

  • Interact with the other candidates to build rapport before the interview
  • Project confidence and a positive attitude
  • Maintain open body language
  • Actively listen to everyone
  • Provide clear, concise answers
  • Promote collaboration when possible

Dinner Interview

A dinner interview assesses your communication and social skills, manners, and demeanor. This is especially important for a client- or customer-facing position.

Tips to prepare for a dinner interview:

  • Research the company’s values, current events, recent accomplishments, and targeted employee ethics.
  • Use your research to determine how you can contribute to the company’s success.
  • Clarify how your knowledge, skills, experience, and accomplishments make you the best-qualified candidate for the role.
  • Show that you are a team player.
  • Order food that is moderately priced, easy to eat with utensils, will not get caught in your teeth and does not cause bad breath.
  • Let the interviewer lead the conversation.

Want Additional Interview Preparation?

Trade Management can help you prepare for a job interview with an employer. Register with us today.

How Data Will Be Important to the Future of Construction



Because construction projects often require fast decision-making, access to real-time data and insight is important. It is especially beneficial for construction companies to know whether a project is on schedule and making money.

Having effective data strategies for the construction industry provides better visibility and control over the projects. This type of transparency increases project efficiency and productivity. It also results in fewer delays and change orders and less rework.

Discover how the use of data may impact the future of the construction industry.

Improved Decision-Making

Using data helps the completion of construction projects align with the project’s goals and objectives. It also helps the team plan for their needs and next steps. This increases the likelihood of the project being completed on time and within budget.

Construction companies must consider how they collect important data and how complete the data is. They also should include whether they make effective decisions based on the data and whether the data is timely and accurate. The companies can use this information to determine whether their data strategy is adequate or needs to be updated.

Continuous Data Collection

Data capture should be automatically accomplished while working on construction projects. The technology must communicate the data to the team in real-time to improve operations.

Providing access to data is especially critical for offsite production. This is because up to half of the work is finished in the factory.

For instance, teams with access to real-time factory and job site data can help maintain the manufacturing schedule. Also, having stakeholders work from a single, accurate source of data promotes engagement throughout the lifecycle of the project.

As a result, teams who are starting a new project can look at previous, similar projects to determine what worked and what could have been improved. This promotes continuous improvement throughout the organization.

For instance, the teams can more accurately estimate the timing and cost of a project to place more reasonable bids. They also can uncover patterns in issues and proactively find ways to resolve or avoid them.

Ongoing Improvement

Using data to establish processes lets a construction company continuously elevate its performance. For instance, teams with access to current inventory during prefabrication can determine which materials to order and how to schedule production according to the job site needs. This lets the stakeholders know the schedule for manufacturing and delivery.

Real-time access to project schedules, submittal approvals, and delivery lead times provides control over deliveries to the job site. As a result, the teams can more effectively manage the submittal approval process and subcontractor deliverables to adhere to the project schedule.

The increasing use of data results in lower labor costs, reduced waste, and better-optimized workflows. As a result, companies improve their operations, profits, and reputation.

Need Help Adding to Your Team?

Trade Management has the skilled trade professionals needed to complete your construction projects. Get in touch with us today.

Negotiating Construction Rates as a Job Seeker

If you are like most employees, you do not like negotiation. This can make it hard to negotiate your construction rate when securing a job.

However, it is up to you to negotiate the construction rate that fits your construction performance and personal needs. Otherwise, you likely will not increase your income or be happy with your job.

Implement these tips to negotiate the construction rates you desire.

Set a Foundation for Your Rate

Determine exactly why you should be paid the construction rate you desire. Have detailed reasons to support your request. For instance, you show up to work on time, put in your best effort, and stay as long as needed.

Offer a Range of Rates

Decide on a construction rate slightly above and one rate well above the rate you would like to earn. Then, offer the two higher numbers as a range for your construction rate. This gives you more leverage to potentially earn a higher rate than anticipated.

If you start negotiating with only one construction rate, it may be below the minimum rate the employer was willing to pay you. For instance, you might request 20% more than you usually earn, but the employer may be willing to pay you 30% more than you usually earn. This is why offering a range is more beneficial.

Point Out Your Value

Clarify what the employer gains by hiring you. For instance, you create quality work, finish projects on time, and regularly are recognized for your contributions.

Then, show what the employer may lose by not having you work for them. For instance, hiring another worker means they might be late or not show up. Also, they could cut corners while doing the work. Plus, the quality of the finished product may be poor. Any rework that needs to be done will take additional time and money.

Show How the Employer Benefits

Emphasize the value you provide for employers. The increased construction rate you desire is due to your skill level and years of experience. You are dedicated to completing quality work according to the timeline and within the budget.

Prepare for Objections

The employer likely will have reasons to pay you a lower construction rate than you desire. You need prepared responses to show why you deserve the rate you requested.

For instance, the employer may say the budget does not allow them to pay you the requested rate. You can assure them the quality of your work will be worth the extra amount. You might be able to finish your work early, which would save additional money in the budget.

Work with a Recruiter

A recruiter from Trade Management can negotiate construction rates on your behalf. Register to get started today.

3 Ways to Gain Repeat Contract Customers

Retaining your contract customers is easier and less expensive than finding new ones. This is especially true in the competitive construction industry.

Your company needs to stand out among all the rest in order to secure repeat customers. This helps you retain business better than price alone can.

Implement these three methods to secure repeat contract customers for your construction business.

1. Provide Quality Work

Show that your workers finish projects according to the specifications. Your past project performance, flexibility with project changes, compliance record, and site tidiness impact whether your company is hired for future work.

You can increase the quality of your workers’ projects by digitizing your paperwork, documentation, safety forms, and change orders. Making the information accessible at any time and from any location promotes quality results. Effectively sharing messages about the work increases organization and communication while reducing delays and rework.

Digitization of your project information also benefits your future projects. You can use the data to determine what did and did not work, the issues that arose, and how you resolved them. This helps your team improve their performance when working on a similar project in the future.

2. Finish Projects on Time and Within Budget

Demonstrate that you plan for circumstances that may cause delays in finishing projects. This may involve the use of technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms, to predict project outcomes.

Providing accurate, complete information about your past work helps provide a clearer estimate of the time and budget required to complete a new project. This takes into account potential hold-ups due to site complications, material delays, worker illnesses, or project changes. The more you finish quality projects within the estimated timeframe and the budget, the more likely you are to secure repeat business.

3. Prioritize Communication and Transparency

Keep your customers informed about the progress on their projects. This includes being available to answer questions and reach the established targets according to the timeline.

Because your customers likely spend a significant amount of money on the work they give you, they want honest information to maintain peace of mind. This includes being alerted if something unexpected happens and changes need to be made.

The more customers like and respect you, the more likely they will be to hire your company for future projects. This impacts your company’s reputation and bottom line.

Need Help Finding Skilled Labor?

Trade Management can match you with the skilled laborers needed to complete projects. Contact us today to get started.

How to Start a Career in Construction

start a career in construction

start a career in construction

If you’re a recent high school graduate, congratulations! Your hard work and dedication paid off.

If you are interested in starting your career, consider getting into the construction industry. The low barrier to entry, variety of job openings, and competitive pay rates make construction one of the best fields to enter.

Follow these guidelines to begin your career in construction today.

Create Your Resume

Your resume highlights your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you want. Because you don’t have formal construction experience, focus on your transferrable skills from other jobs or volunteer work that can benefit an employer. These may include reliability, communication, time management, problem-solving, and work ethic.

Use Your Network

Talk with the members of your network who have connections in the construction industry. Be sure to share your career goals so your connections know what you’re looking for. They may mention a job opening, introduce you to an employee, or refer you to a hiring manager.

Secure a Temporary Job

Work with a local staffing firm that specializes in construction to land a temporary job. This lets you work under the supervision of an experienced professional. You can gain the skills and experience required for either an apprenticeship or full-time employment. You also can decide which field of construction you want to focus on.

Consider an Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship helps provide the skills and experience needed to land a full-time construction job. It involves 2 to 4 years of classroom learning and hands-on training for your field. Because you typically get paid during your apprenticeship, you can learn while earning income.

Select a Field

Use your temporary job or apprenticeship to decide which construction field you want to pursue. Then, focus on finding a job in the specialty that interests you. This helps you gain the most relevant skills and experience for your career path. For instance, if you enjoy welding or working with metal, you may want to become a sheet metal engineer. Or, if you prefer planning, budgeting, and overseeing projects, you might want to become a project manager.

Land Your First Construction Job

Trade Management can place you with employers looking for entry-level construction workers. Register with us today.


Workplace Safety Month: Keeping Your Construction Team Safe

Did you know that June is National Safety Month? Safety is so important for your construction employees that an entire month is dedicated to increasing awareness of the issue.

Working construction in Summer increases the need for additional safety measures. More sunshine, heat, and humidity means you need to take additional precautions to protect your employees.

Implement the following tips to increase safety for your construction employees during hot weather.

Guard Against Heat Exhaustion 

Heat exhaustion is caused by the body becoming overheated to the point where it cannot cool itself down. This can turn into heat stroke if left untreated.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include the following: 

  • Intense sweating 
  • A rapid or weak pulse  
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Cool skin with goosebumps despite the heat 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Nausea  
  • Headaches  
  • Fatigue, dizziness, or fainting

Protect Against Heat Stroke  

Heat stroke can occur when the body is exposed to excessively high temperatures for an extended time. The body’s natural temperature regulating mechanisms fail, causing a fever and the potential to lose consciousness.

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following: 

  • A core temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher 
  • Change in sweating patterns 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Headache  
  • Red skin 
  • Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, or delirium  
  • Nausea or vomiting 

If left untreated, heat stroke can lead to muscle, kidney, heart, or brain damage or death.

Monitor Your Employees’ Work Schedule

Try to avoid having your employees work during the hottest hours of the day. For instance, have your employees begin work earlier in the morning, before the sun has had time to increase the temperature. This can reduce the time spent working outside during the midday heat. Also, if parts of the job require indoor work, consider having your employees work inside during the hottest hours and outside when the temperature is less extreme.

Provide Regular Breaks

Ensure your employees take frequent breaks. Continuous engagement in demanding work increases the odds of your employees becoming injured or ill. This is why they need additional breaks as the day gets hotter.

Remind your employees to sit down in the shade during breaks. If there are no trees or other natural sources of shade, you may need to put up tents, awnings, or other items to create shade.

Provide Water 

Remind your employees to drink lots of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated in the heat is vital for your employees’ health.

You may want to make available large coolers packed with ice and water. Also, ensure your employees are drinking water at least once every 15 minutes throughout the day. This applies even when employees don’t feel thirsty. Regular hydration promotes proper sweating to regulate the body’s core temperature.

Want to Add to Your Construction Team?

Trade Management has the construction workers you need to complete projects. Contact us to learn more today. 

Mental Health Safety Tips

May is Mental Health Month Awareness Month. Mental health is important for everyone. This is especially true for construction workers. The long hours, strenuous labor, potential for injuries, and seasonal layoffs are significant sources of stress.

Construction workers struggling with mental health concerns are more susceptible to on-the-job accidents than workers without these issues. As a construction worker, you need to pay attention to your mental health and take steps to improve it when needed.

Implement these tips to maintain your mental health while working in construction.

Talk with Your Manager About Job Stressors 

Think about which parts of your job cause the most stress. Find potential resolutions to these issues. Talk with your manager about your problems and potential solutions.

For instance, you may feel unsure about what your role is for a project. If so, you can ask your manager what your role is, what their expectations are, and who you should take onsite directions from.

You can use this discussion to create a basis for ongoing communication with your manager. Regular discussion of your concerns helps get your needs met. This can decrease your stress and increase your mental health.

Normalize Discussion of Mental Health Concerns 

Encourage your manager to regularly engage your team in open discussions about mental health concerns. This may involve your manager and you sharing your experiences with mental health concerns and how you handled them. Perhaps you implemented daily meditation, began eating healthier foods, or started weekly counseling sessions.

Ask your manager to host seminars with diverse guest speakers talking about mental health. They can serve as role models for your team members to relate to and potentially get help with their struggles.

Encourage your manager to hand out information on local and national resources to help with mental health. This may include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The national helpline provides referral routing services for individuals and families with mental health concerns and substance use disorders. Construction workers who do not want to talk about their mental health concerns may feel more comfortable getting help outside the workplace.

Looking for a Construction Job? 

Trade Management can match you with the construction jobs that fit your skills and interests. Register with us today.

How to Optimize Your Construction Workflow

A construction workflow is the coordination of tasks among people in an organization. This includes the passing of data and information to guide the appropriate action.

A construction workflow typically follows a hierarchy of approvals and privileges based on job description. Optimization of the workflow is designed to maximize the company’s profits. Examples include the processes for accounts payable, payroll processing, submittals, RFIs, and closeouts.

Most companies look for ways to improve these processes. There typically are methods to improve efficiency and work quality. The use of fewer resources to maintain customer satisfaction leads to greater profit.

Because improvements in your construction workflows take time, you want to get started on the process today. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can start to see results.

The following information can help you optimize your construction workflows.

Common Workflow Issues

The majority of construction workflow problems fall into one of three areas: 

  • Communication: Data and information must be efficiently transmitted and communicated in the field or back office. 
  • Data management: Data needs to be stored and accessed in a centralized location to provide the correct information needed to complete tasks.  
  • Visibility: Transparency in each workflow and the progression of events is needed to keep track of where an employee or team is in a process.

Methods to Improve Workflows 

You can use collaboration, automation, standardization, and elimination (CASE) to correct construction workflow issues. 

  • Collaboration: Employees need to work together to uncover and resolve siloes, inefficiencies, and redundancies in the workflows. Employees can complete more work in less time. 
  • Automation: A reduction in data entry, approval pathing, and general clerical tasks would increase the efficiency and accuracy of workflows. Responsibilities that take two employees may be completed by one employee.  
  • Standardization: The collection and storage of data in one platform increases employee access and ease of use. This reduces compartmentalization and the potential for error.  
  • Elimination: Get rid of redundancies, inefficiencies, compartmentalization, siloes, and human error as much as possible. These actions increase efficiency and accuracy throughout your organization.

Want Help with Hiring?  

Trade Management can provide you with the construction workers you need when you need them. Get in touch with us today.