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5 Tips to Prevent Overwhelm and Recover from Burnout

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When you are a business owner, it can be overwhelming at times. If you are not careful, that overwhelm can turn into burnout.

Burnout doesn’t just happen if you are struggling, it can also happen when you are successful.  Especially if you don’t have the right support.

When you are a contractor, it can feel like your business is draining your energy.  You provide quotes, sell yourself and your services to new customers, deal with vendors and unexpected problems and by the end of the day you are exhausted and don’t have anything left for your family.

To avoid burnout, we have some tips for you that we think will help:

  1. Get the right support – you can’t do it all yourself. There is only one of you and many places to be. You need to look for the right support and hire people that are experts in the areas that you are not. This enables you to focus your time and energy on the things that only you can do. Be ready to delegate to them also.  You can’t hire them and then still do it all yourself.  Have confidence in your team and let them take some of the weight off your shoulders.
  2. Get Organized – If you don’t have control of your business administration activities, files, and other data, it can be a major source of anxiety. Take time to get organized and then take time to train someone to take over these areas for you. This new person will be organized and a self-starter. He or she can take on what you need them to and keep things running smoothly whether you are in the office or not.
  3. Set Priorities – It can seem like there is an overwhelming amount of things that have to get done each day. We often give ourselves more than we can handle and tasks that don’t have to be done that day. Look at your list and choose the top 3 items that have to take priority and be done that day. Then organize the rest in order of priority if there is still time left over.  If you don’t get it all done you can then easily switch that second list over to the next day and start the process all over again.
  4. Make sure you have down time – You can’t pack your schedule and not leave yourself any time to think. Schedule in breaks for eating and block off family time or time for activities you enjoy. Then hold those times the same as you would any other appointment and don’t block something else over it. Remember that you are your number one asset, and you need to take care of yourself too.
  5. No is a complete sentence – No one likes to say No but it needs to be done sometimes. If you are at capacity and there is a new job, you need to let the person know that you would have to schedule it out a bit as you don’t have capacity to start on it right away. If you are asked to volunteer or do something that you don’t really want to, you can say no in a nice way. Thank the person for thinking of you but let them know that you are at capacity and just can’t put in the time that would be required.  Most people will understand this and there will be no hard feelings.

Protecting your time and energy, taking care of your health and wellbeing, and focusing on your priorities so you don’t overload yourself are all ways that you can begin the process of recovering from burnout or avoiding it all together.

If we can help you with any of your insurance needs, please reach out to us here at Contractors Insurance Agency.

3 Tips for Contractor Safety this Summer

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wePutting safety policies in place and making sure everyone that works with you is aware of them is key to your growth, keeping your employees happy and making sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the workday.

If you haven’t put these safety policies into place yet, now is the time to do that. These policies will ensure you streamline your company’s safety goals, system for evaluation, and training and on-boarding.

Workplace injuries and illnesses have steadily declined in the US over the past decade, but there were still 2.8 million incidents reported in 2019.  That breaks down to being almost 3 cases per 100 workers with about .9 days out of work per case.

The responsibility for safety is always on the employers and contractors to maintain safety on the worksite and eliminate as many hazards as possible.

When you have your safety policy in place, your employees will be compliant when they are on the job.  There are no excuses that they didn’t know.

Here are our 3 tips for you to help you get these policies in place:  

  1. Create policies – Before contractors set foot on a worksite, they will be aware of safety policies and sign off on them.
  2. Create standard safety requirements and training – Whether you have seasonal, part time or full-time employees, they are all on the same page and have received identical training.

Training will include detailed instructions of any task required, what to do in case of an emergency, and hazard protocols. Require completion of the training before work begins to ensure your employees learn what they need to.

  1. Monitor and Evaluate Regularly – It is important to perform a fair evaluation of anyone that works for you. Make sure you are performing on the job walkthrough inspections and annual performance reviews for your employees.

Workplace safety needs to be your top priority as a contractor.  You also want to make sure your insurance coverage is up to par.  Contact us at Contractors Insurance Agency for a policy review. This will ensure you get the correct coverage for unexpected issues that occur on a job site, even when you have safety policies in place.

Tax Tips for Contractors

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The extended day of May 17th to file taxes is just around the corner.  Hopefully you have had a chance to get your taxes done, but if you are still working on them, here are some tips that may help now and in the future.

Owning a contracting business means there are a lot of factors that come into play. You likely have a team of employees and you may have different types of income streams that need to be reported.

Records matter

Your accounting methods are very important.  Keeping great records is key to making sure that tax time is easy.  Be sure you are recording everything regularly so that you don’t have to waste time looking things up later or miss something important that could cost you a deduction.

Be aware of AMT

Taxes are complicated and that is why we have accountant. They are the experts in what is going on and any new changes we should be aware of.

That being said, you still want to make sure you are fairly knowledgeable on some aspects of taxes, such as the Alternative Minimum Tax. AMT places a floor on the percentage of taxes that must be paid by filers.  It recalculates income tax by adding certain tax preference items into gross income.

Talk to your accountant to make sure you are doing the calculations correctly.  A common mistake most contractors have with AMT is calculating  AMT income using the percentage of completion method. This can cause small companies to be out of compliance because they calculated their original income using the cash basis method and calculated their AMT the same way.

Understand loan compliance for the new PPP loan

This past year, many businesses applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program loans. If the loan was used to maintain payroll it could be altered to a grant. We advise you to ask your accountant if your loan was a loan forgiveness and if it is taxable income or not, based on your State’s rules.

Understand Sales Tax

Sales tax varies from state to state. If you do business in multiple states make sure you are aware of the sales tax laws in each state.

Tax time can be a stressful for everyone but taking the time to organize throughout the year will make it easier in the long run.

If Contractors Insurance Agency can help you in any way with your insurance needs just reach out and let us know!

PSA: Administrative Professionals Day is April 21, 2021

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We know you are busy so we wanted to make sure that you knew Administrative Professionals Day is on April 21st.  You will want to thank anyone that performs duties in this role for you. They are the ones that help you get through your day and stay on track.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals defines the career path as individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordinate information in order to support an office environment. They are dedicated to furthering their growth in their chosen profession. Administration includes a wide variety of duties including office management, answering the phone, clerical work, speaking with clients, data entry, and record maintenance.

Here are 5 job titles that fall under the category of Administrative Professional:

Administrative Assistant – An administrative assistant essentially keeps an office running. General job duties include bookkeeping, planning and scheduling, and documentation. Administrative assistants are often the ones that plan events in your office and take care of all the coordination that goes along with it.

Human Resources Administrator – Manages the people in a company and helps their business gain competitive advantage. They help maximize employee performance and keep up primary policies. They specialize in finding, recruiting, training, and developing employees as well as maintaining benefits

Secretary –Duties include supporting management and executives, through the utilization of project management, communication, and organizational skills. The secretary has similar functions to the administrative assistant. They also help to manage budgets, bookkeep, answer phone calls, and prepare expense reports.

Office Manager –The success of a business depends heavily on the efficiency of its office. Responsibilities include monitoring and reviewing systems, supervising or managing a team of administrators, distributing roles, training and recruiting, and dispensing assignments and projects.

Receptionist – Often the very first point of contact for clients and customers. They answer phones, greet customers, and answer common questions about the business.

Here at Contractor’s Insurance Agency, we don’t know what we would do without our administrative team members! We know you feel the same way about yours!

Don’t forget to thank them on this special day and if we can help you in any way with your insurance coverage please reach out.  Our team will be happy to direct you to the appropriate person you need to speak to!

 

11 Tips for Growing a Successful Contractor Business

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Building a business is so rewarding.  You have the privilege of working in an area you love, and you have the accomplishment of growing something you are proud of. You provide a service that is widely needed by many people.

Here are 11 tips to build or grow a successful contracting business:

  1. Best business practices are important. Implement systems to handle bookkeeping, scheduling, invoicing, training, and project management.

Teach your employees what they need to know (step by step) to use these systems efficiently. Having systems in place allows you to maintain your current level of success and scale in the right way when you are ready to expand.

  1. Assess your business. Things that you want to take into account are whether or not your business is stable financially, if you are getting repeat sales and referrals, how your ratings and reviews are showing up and what your employee turnover rate is.

To accurately assess these, you want to review your books, pay attention to reviews people are posting online, talk with employees and customers. If you need to make improvements, be sure to do that before attempting to grow your business further.

  1. Customer Support is key to growth. Your prospective customers want to talk to a person during normal business hours. You can hire someone to handle phone calls or you can send calls to your cell phone or promise to return calls on your voicemail within a certain time frame.

Also, be sure to set up automated email and social media messages during off-hours. A simple message informing customers that their message was received, and they’ll receive a response within 24 hours should be enough to keep them satisfied.

Be sure to follow up, return calls, and handle any issues in a timely manner.  Don’t make your customers have to do the follow up.

  1. Join an association. Industry associations, such as the Associated General Contractors, aren’t just great for networking. They can also help you develop essential business skills and recommend products you should use for different jobs as well as other resources you may need.

A quick Google search in your particular area will let you know local and national associations you may want to check out or join.

  1. Always be marketing. Marketing isn’t just to land a few new customers. It is how you get the high paying jobs and how you keep customers happy.

Marketing isn’t just sending out a postcard in the mail.  It means having an online presence, interacting with your audience through email, social media and blog posts and sharing your expertise in valuable ways.

Make sure your address, phone number and hours are available online and easily searchable. Network in your community both online and offline by attending chamber of commerce meetings or answering questions in a local forum.

  1. Be flexible. When you go above and beyond for a customer, you will most likely have earned a customer for life, as well as many referrals to their friends and family.
  2. Have a mentor. A mentor is someone that has already reached the goal you are striving for and can guide you. They will help you to not make the same mistakes they did and can teach you how to manage all the different aspects you need to such as managing money and customers and introducing you to vendors or investors.
  3. Hire people that know more than you. By hiring people who are smarter and more talented than you are, you can rest assured that they can handle assignments without your supervision. This frees up your time to do the things that only you can, in order to grow your business.
  4. Watch your finances. Don’t become a statistic because you couldn’t cover your overhead expenses. When sending out bids, be sure you factor in all the costs involved with the project and give the customer a ballpark estimate. Make sure you are invoicing regularly and staying on top of what is coming into your business and what is going back out.
  5. Outsource. There are only 24 hours in a day so you can’t do it all yourself. What can you delegate to someone else, so you free up more of your time? Consider delegating admin and accounting tasks first. That way you will ensure they are getting done and you don’t have to spend hours of your time doing them yourself.
  6. Staying small is OK. Don’t feel like you have to expand if you don’t want to. If things are working well as they are and you are happy with the workload and the income you are making, stay small. This will help you to continue to have a positive cash flow and low expenses.  It is also much less stressful since the workload is easier to manage.

If you would like to review your insurance policies to make sure they are covering what your business needs, the Contractors Insurance Agency would love to help.  Just give us a call and let’s make sure you are covered for anything that may come up.

 

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