Being in the construction business can be rough even in the good years. There is so much that can go wrong on a job. But now, in this time when there is so little work and so many contractors, it is especially tough on contractors. Banks are pulling their financing on projects. Banks are not approving loans to potential customers that might want your services. Desperate subcontractors are willing to do work at prices below their hard cost which can’t have a happy ending in the long run.
So, with all of this liability, risk, potential downfalls that can be part of the construction business, I wondered what was the number one reason contractor’s fail. A few years ago, I ran into an old surety claims guy that was going to retire that year. In his 35 years in the business he had worked with broke contractors all across the country. He said that contractors can be surprised, and they can have the rug pulled out from under them, but the number one reason they fail is the owner of the business is not paying attention. He is distracted. In 35 years, the claims guy had seen all kinds of different things that might distract a contractor from traveling, women, alcohol, drugs, gambling, church, and fireworks. It doesn’t matter what the distraction is, too many contractors allow their eyes to wander away from the business. It may not be fun to pay attention to the business right now, but the business needs your full attention right now more than ever.
One thing I’ve learned is that the distracted person is not likely going to realize in time that he is distracted. He needs someone to point it out to him very clearly. Someone needs to grab him by both ears, gaze into his eyes, and tell him to snap out of it. You probably have a friend in the business who is distracted. Do him and his family a favor. Tell him.