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Fortifying Your Construction Firm for an Economic Downturn

The last few years have been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. From a global pandemic to global inflation, there’s no debate that companies all over the world have had to change and adapt to survive the multitude of recent global events, impacting all sectors. 

As many of us saw in the last great recession in the late 2000s/early 2010s, the construction industry is not immune to the consequences of an economic downturn. Unfortunately, construction is one of the most affected industries hit during recessions, largely due to the decreases in public and private spending on infrastructure and new builds and projects. Between 2007 and 2011, over two million Americans lost their construction jobs between 2007 and 2011 and the total valuation of all construction projects plummeted by billions of dollars.

With financial experts warning that the US and the rest of the globe are heading for recession to come after the inflation we’ve all been witnessing, leaders in every sector should be staying proactive to fortify their companies for the impending downturns. While construction may not be recession-proof as an industry, there are ways you can start fortifying your business to weather the upcoming storm. 

Stay ahead of the curve and ensure your company’s survival with the following tips:

Stay informed of your expenses and be weary of overspending

When financial researchers study the Great Recession of the early 2010s, they found that a small percentage of private and public companies not only survived but in fact thrived during these times. This was due to many factors, such as being an inherently recession-proof industry like healthcare or necessary goods manufacturing. However, researchers also found that preparation was a large indicator of the companies’ survival and success during hard times. Like any tribulation that you may foresee in your company’s future, recessions can have warning signs too, giving you time to prepare for when things really begin to escalate. You can stay proactive and take advantage of the current warning signs by:

  • Taking inventory of your spending and debt. Are there any assets that you can afford to pay off so you can let go of unnecessary debt? To go to the next step, examine your monthly spending habits and see if there are any areas where you can tighten up or cut down on overall costs.
  • Prioritizing projects that can use available labor and equipment. Now is probably not the time for pie-in-the-sky ambition bids that will require an influx of new hires and equipment. As you take inventory of your spending, use this time to assess where you stand in staffing, equipment, and tech, then focus on upcoming bids where you can leverage what you already have.

Invest in automation and optimization

While you cut down on extraneous spending and reorganize your opportunities, this can also be a critical time to update your technology to automate and optimize workloads. This might sound counterintuitive to cut down expenses, but in a climate where unskilled and skilled wages are rising and new affordable, practical solutions are as accessible as ever, it’s just as important to invest in processes and tech that could save you time and money in the future. 

Solutions can be as simple as investing in construction cameras and a shared collaboration platform, helping to cut down on travel and labor for monitoring and file management. TrueLook offers a range of cameras tailored to fit all project needs, as well as a secure, shared platform for easy file storage and management. We help your team keep tabs on jobsites, share and mark up live video, photo, and documents, and integrate other favorite apps like Procore and Autodesk. By using TrueLook with apps like Procore, your team can streamline work by doing everything in one secure, embedded app: viewing and sharing photos and video, customizing time-lapses, marking up documents, and more. Investing in automation and optimization will help in both the short and long term by leading to decreased labor spend, shorter time spent traveling to jobsites, and an increased automation of critical processes. 

Protecting jobsites is a critical component in securing your investments – especially considering the more than 1 billion dollars lost to construction theft every year. Our newest optional feature offers jobsite surveillance, which combines our Intelligent Motion Alerts with human verification from our team of Five Diamond-certified monitoring professionals to keep your site secure. In the long run, small investments in construction cameras and jobsite protection are simple solutions that can save your firm from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, not to mention the headache of having to deal with lost or stolen assets.

Maintain trust in your core team

As we mentioned earlier, the Great Recession dealt a debilitating blow to workers and employers alike in all industries. Unemployment is often the biggest keyword in any economic downturn, and oftentimes layoffs can seem like an inevitability. However, researchers found that the companies that thrived during the Great Recession largely focused more on operational improvements over layoffs, and for good reason. While it may seem practical to cut your employee base (less employees = less wages to pay) it may actually be counterintuitive to keeping your business afloat and successful. 

Remember that a recession does not mean a complete dissolution of projects, and that the downturn will eventually end. Having to replenish and retrain employees can cost your company way more than what you would have saved with layoffs, especially if you’ve taken initiative to focus on projects that can use your current team. 

Stay proactive to keep active 

The thought of another recession can be scary, especially considering everything that we’ve been through in the last few years. While we can’t control the tide, we can take practical steps to fortify our organizations and keep our heads above water. 

At TrueLook, we understand the importance of being proactive, as well as offer the latest technology solutions to ensure our clients stay informed on their jobsites, and have clear visibility and access to their data. Schedule a free demo today or download our free buyer’s guide to see how we can help keep your jobsites and company secure.