10 Signs You Should Turn Down a Potential Construction Job

Is the job just not right for you? Read on.

Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. Remember these two things and you’ll have a head start when it comes to picking the winners in construction jobs and passing on the ones likely to give you grief. Sometimes you’ll also need to go out and look for good construction jobs, rather than limiting yourself to assessing what is handed to you. In the longer term however, it’s worth the effort. Here are 10 signs to help you avoid being sucked into construction job that really isn’t for you.

1. Risk you cannot control

Every construction job has some risk. If you can manage it, reduce it or eliminate it, the job may be worth doing. But if the risk is out of your control, then beware. For instance, if a building schedule depends on unbroken fine weather, then think twice before accepting the job just before the monsoon season starts.

2. Outrageous negotiating tactics

Good negotiations leave both the customer and contractor satisfied. Sometimes customers forget this. They apply subtle pressure with ‘gimme’ tactics to wring favors out of you that seem innocent, but end up costing you all your construction job profit. If so, consider bowing out before the project begins.  

3. Reluctance to nail down specifications

Promises, promises. They are rarely a good idea for either you or your customer. A construction job should have clear, written specifications of what is to be done and when.

That should then allow you to draw up precise plans and budgets that the customer agrees to, in writing and with suitable guarantees of payment.

4. Unacceptable or dangerous work conditions

Construction work is already hazardous. There’s no point in making it worse, either for yourself or your employees.

Work environments that fall below acceptable safety levels must be refused. There are always other construction jobs that are safer or more pleasant for you to handle.

5. Unprofitable projects

There is seldom any good reason for taking on a construction project that does not give you reasonable profit. Additionally, many customers will choose the first contractor that offers quality at a reasonable price. It may be better to be more responsive than cheaper. Construction estimating software can help you make good pricing proposals faster too.

6. Unethical situations

Sometimes a client may, perhaps unintentionally, ask you to do something illegal or illicit. However, there is also the case where it becomes obvious that a particular construction job is not in the customer’s best interests, or does not offer a customer real value. You’ll do better by saying “Look, this isn’t right for you”, and suggesting suitable changes to put value back into the job for the customer

7. Impossible objectives

If the job absolutely has to be done by the end of the month, but your construction project management app tells you ‘no way,’ then let the customer know. The customer will also be more likely to consider you for work in the future on the basis of a reasoned and reasonable refusal of a job you cannot do today.

8. Another contractor refused the job

Although there may be good reasons for this, try to find out why. It’s possible that the other contractor was simply too busy to take on more work. Or there may be other factors to consider, like the ones in this article.

9. Biting off more than you can chew

A construction project can be well-specified, correctly funded and requested by a sincere and reasonable customer. It may also represent too big a leap upwards for your enterprise as it is today, putting a strain on your finances or your employees. Don’t get greedy. Gradually increase building project sizes and grow your business without any disproportionate risk.

10. Partners you can’t get on with

Sometimes it’s a personal thing. In that case, it may be more productive to look for other construction jobs.

Sometimes however it’s a matter of putting the right project collaboration tools in place to easily share planning and scheduling.