A construction site is a fast-paced environment. Conditions can shift as fast as the weather, and your employees need the authority and ability to adapt to those changes.
Unanticipated problems can throw a monkey wrench into an otherwise well-oiled machine, causing delays and overspending. Construction company owners can get in front of these everyday issues by allowing their foreman — the decision makers on the front lines of every job site — the purchasing power to fix the problem quickly using a preauthorized vendor and paying a preapproved amount of money from the set allowance.
Outwitting an Emergency
Emergencies happen: one day critical machinery suddenly stops working while your workers are leveling a house. Maybe they’re digging out an in-ground pool they hit limestone and another machine is required to break through it.
The Foreman has to call headquarters and relay the information to several different people, then wait for the approval process to be completed. Then there’s more waiting as someone else has to acquire replacement or specialized equipment. It's an inefficient process, especially when the client is tapping his or her watch and muttering about delays.
Managing Client Expectations
Some clients know exactly what they want the moment they see it in a catalogue. Others change their minds as soon as they see the material in-person or when they realize that brushed-nickel fixtures will clash with the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.
When this happens, your team must react immediately so that the project does not incur further delays and costs. Waiting for the chain of command to process the spend request ties the hands of the foreman to keep the job moving, and ultimately the lack of purchasing power becomes an impediment to the success of the entire job.
Keeping Track of Material Costs
You pride yourself on your organization skills, but sometimes things get lost — like the receipt for the marble tile you had to special-order from a quarry in Spain. Suddenly the client balks at your itemized expenses.
If you use a prepaid card coupled with a expense management platform to buy materials, you create an automatic paper trail at the point of purchase. Clients are satisfied to see that the bill wasn’t padded, and the company is protected against any disputes.
Avoiding Delays and Extra Costs
There’s a lot of room for a domino effect of delays and unanticipated costs. One wrong delivery may require an extension the lease on the necessary equipment. If the Foreman does not have access to funds to replace the materials they need, the company may be forced to pay more for a rush delivery. The same late delivery might push back the project completion date, adding extra labor costs. Eventually, this will make for a very unhappy client.
In order to respond to problems quickly, the business owner must relinquish some of the purchasing power to their employee. By limiting daily spend and seeing purchases in real time, employers maintain control while enabling their employees to spend money required of their job.