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Don't let project delays cost your business - 4 helpful strategies

As a home improvement provider, sticking to a timeline is essential to delivering satisfactory work and ensuring a steady stream of revenue for your business. But sometimes circumstances outside of your control can stall a project. 

From labor and material shortages to shipping issues, vendor delays to homeowners’ concerns, a number of factors can put a job on hold. While frustrating, you can use some helpful strategies to both prevent setbacks in the first place and get back on track when inevitable delays occur. These tips can help keep your business moving amid schedule slowdowns.

Purchase promptly

To avoid scheduling changes caused by material shortages  or supply chain issues, it can pay to think ahead. Allow more lead time for projects and order materials as soon as possible. Be transparent with customers about timelines, and let them know upfront about potential delays.

Stay close with your go-to suppliers and maintain strong communication. Good partners may be able to tip you off to shortages and delays ahead of time so you can make adjustments. At the same time, consider expanding your network of vendors. If you have a variety of working relationships beyond your typical contacts, you’ll have a backup if your usual supplier is delayed or can’t meet your needs.

Expand your talent pool

The labor shortage has hit the construction industry hard. According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, the industry needs more than half a million new workers on top of the normal hiring pace in 2023 to meet demands. 

If a lack of workers is affecting your business, it’s time to get creative about your recruitment strategy. One option is to work with a labor recruitment agency. Outsourcing hiring can free you up to focus on other aspects of your business and keep projects on schedule. An agency can also help you find job candidates you might not be able to identify on your own.

Don’t be afraid to explore untapped talent sources. You might expand the geographic area of your search, or hire less experienced laborers and train them on the job. Recruiting and mentoring early-career talent can help to mitigate a labor shortage and boost your business at the same time.

Women are also underrepresented in construction, making up just 10.9% of the industry. Close the gender gap and mitigate the labor shortage by actively recruiting female workers. The Women Breaking Barriers guide  commissioned by the Building Talent Foundation provides strategies for recruiting, training and retaining women in the residential construction trades.

Be transparent with customers

Sometimes homeowners are the reason a project slows down. Unexpected costs or changing preferences about the work can put the brakes on a renovation. To avoid this scenario, be clear with your customers about the scope of the project from the outset. Make sure they understand what is realistic to change once work has begun, and how doing so can affect the timeline — and the cost. Homeowners may stall the start of a project if they’re concerned about cost. Providing alternative payment options through a company like Ally Lending can help to address those concerns and keep the project moving forward. Our simple, quick pre-qualification process will let them know what amount they’ve been approved for without a hard hit to their credit. Managing expectations throughout the process is key to keeping projects running smoothly and on schedule.

Stay flexible

To keep a project moving, you often have to be ready to pivot. Be prepared with alternative plans to keep your business agile because some delays are simply unavoidable. For instance, bad weather can halt a project. Account for weather delays when creating your timeline so a rainy day doesn’t throw off your whole schedule.

Contingency plans for supplies are also helpful. If a customer’s preferred material is not available, be ready to offer them suitable replacements (preferably at the same or lower cost). If a homeowner experiences job loss or is otherwise unable to afford the project once work has begun, work with them to scale it down in scope and price.

Don't let delays derail your business

Despite your best efforts, sometimes projects are stalled. But with the right mix of preventative strategies and corrective interventions, you can manage these setbacks so they don’t impede the success of your business.

Learn how Ally Lending consumer financing can keep projects moving forward. 

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For nearly all contractors, a stalled supply chain is creating big challenges. From lumber to steel to copper, many of the most-used supplies are significantly delayed or completely unavailable. 

Change is inevitable in all things, and when it comes to home construction projects, it’s simply part of the process. Whether it’s a homeowner’s request, a contractor suggestion, or an unforeseen hurdle following a home inspection, change orders are an essential piece of the home project process.

As the saying goes, it’s usually a good idea to expect the unexpected (or something of that nature). Nowhere can that ring truer than in the world of home improvement projects.