Tag Archives: tips

Where to Leave a Comment and Win Some Boots

Here’s a simple way to maybe win a pair of work boots by Wolverine valued at $333. Go to this site and leave a comment that answers the question: “Where Do You Wear Your Workboots.” Entries close on January 20 with a winner announced on January 23. If you win, you’ll get a boot called the Wolverine Northman and they have some interesting features like genuine Horween Leather.

While many people might read that phrase in the product’s description and simply skip over it, I was curious just what Horween Leather is. Come to find out it refers to the products of the only remaining tannery in Chicago and it is run by a member of the fourth generation of Horweens who have been in the tanning business there since 1905. The company claims to make high grade and exacting leather that is used in an array of products from sporting goods and bags to, you guessed it, shoes and boots. Other features of the Northman include Gore-Tex waterproof lining, Vibram outsoles and Thinsulate insulation.

Construction Export Opportunities Not Just for the Big Guys

Just because your line of construction might be slow in the U.S. it doesn’t mean that’s the case across the globe. In fact, many countries are not only busily building things but they are also importing construction products and services from companies in the U.S. These companies are not only the large, multinational construction firms, but include small businesses as well. Here’s a case in point.

SteelMaster Buildings, a company in Virginia Beach, Va., that designs and builds prefabricated steel buildings for a variety of industries, exports those buildings and its expertise at erecting them across the globe. The company recently won an export video promotion contest co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and VISA. SteelMaster received a $12,000 award, including cash and travel costs to participate in the awards ceremony, and a Department of Commerce Gold Key matching service. Learn more about SteelMaster’s exporting story by watching the video below. Then, check out all the helpful tools at the SBA, right here, that could jumpstart your very own exporting effort.

Habits of Wildly Unsuccessful Construction Managers

There is all kinds of advice on how to manage the right way, but every now and then by looking at the topic from another angle we can get a new perspective of the process.

So here my short list of things to do if you want to be continually and wildly unsuccessful at managing any construction project.

  • When things don’t fit, ignore the plans. This will ensure that what is supposed to be getting built will not get built and will earn you exceptional notice along with a place in the Dumb Idiot Hall of Fame.
  • Act like you know absolutely everything about everything and make sure co-workers and subordinates know that you know, you know. By doing this those incorrect decisions you make about how to do things will be magnified because nobody will question them and will execute them exactly as instructed in all their glorious incorrected-ness. This probably explains how things like windows end up being where doors ought to be.
  • Resist the temptation to tell your boss in a timely manner what’s really going on. That way when the owner is on the final walk-through and 45 telephone jacks haven’t been installed yet you can look shocked and say something memorable like, "Geez, those were supposed to have telephone jacks installed! I don’t think they were on the plans."
  • Ask the building inspector where in the hell he learned how to build.

Maybe you have some tips that you’d like to share. Comments are always welcome.

Fuel Saving Strategies

History so far has shown that if there is anything you an depend upon it is that costs of things will always go up. Lately it seems fuel is leading the charge and of course that affects almost everything since fuel is so deeply imbedded in the economics of supply and demand.

Normally prices of fuel inch up over a period of time and so everyone has a chance to adjust and gradually get used to the necessary changes, not the least of which is the increase in costs of goods and in doing business. The rapid increases are causing many in construction to re-think how they do business.

According to various news reports here are some of the ways contractors are adjusting for the higher costs of both gasoline and diesel.

  • Eating the additional costs on jobs already under contract and passing them on in all new contracts;
  • For contractors with service fleets many are adding fuel surcharges shown on the invoices while others are increasing their service and/or hourly rates;
  • Requiring carpooling for superintendents and lead carpenters traveling to job sites;
  • Paying closer attention to regular vehicle and equipment maintenance;
  • Eliminating idling;
  • Replacing gasoline vehicles with diesel vehicles;
  • Converting diesel vehicles to vegetable oil vehicles;
  • Marketing closer to the home office;
  • Eliminating free estimates that are further away than a specific distance from the home office;
  • Combining material runs from a number of job sites.

What’s missing here? Examining why people are driving and if the trips are even necessary, where they are driving to and if the destinations are really part of the job and identifying other ways to accomplish things that don’t require driving.