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Profit Time for Metal Contractors


After years of just trying to survive, the positive signs in the economy indicate it's time to move to profitability.

Back in the mid-1980s, I spent a number of years doing historic restoration in Fredericksburg, Va. On one of our projects, we needed to add a standing-seam metal roof to a porch we built that would match the existing roof. As smart, confident young carpenters, we figured we could do it ourselves. We bought the tools, bought the metal and bought nothing but trouble. That little roof took us a couple of weeks to get right. It was a very cool project, and we lost our shirts.

In the interim years, the products used in the construction industry have become easier to install and more reliable. I can't think of any part of construction where that is truer than in metal construction. From wall panels to building systems to roofing systems, there is very little in this industry that hasn't changed in the last 25 years, and every one of those improvements has made it easier for you-our readers-to complete projects on time and on budget. What's not to like about this scenario?

"Once you do have a fish on the hook, he looks up at you and negotiates the amount of hook he's willing to swallow."

Choosing the right supplier partner is still an essential part of any construction company's success. At Metal Construction News we see that as our role in helping the industry. We want to connect you with the right products and people to make your business thrive and grow.

Let's face it; these last years have been tough in construction. The downfall of the housing industry has dragged down the whole economy, with a special plummet over here in commercial construction. The result is that everyone has been fighting to survive. We've gone through two or three years when every task we tackle is a struggle. What we used to take for granted changed and now requires a different approach. Just consider how you approach marketing. Before the downfall, marketing was a simple numbers game of getting a fixed number of messages or impressions in front of a group of prospects and being able to expect a mostly predictable return on that effort. Today? Just finding prospects is hard, and every buyer requires a customized message. Not to mention that once you do have a fish on the hook, he looks up at you and negotiates the amount of hook he's willing to swallow.

Still, we see signs of optimism. From what I hear, many of you are seeing the same signs. 2011 is definitely going to be a better year than 2010. That means one simple thing. If you've survived to this point, it's time to shift gears and start thinking about profitability.

Now, let me circle back, because I've wandered off a ways. Profitability for metal construction companies requires good construction processes, great sales people, a steady flow of work, and supplier partners who support and help you grow your business. My experience from the '80s? Not profitable. Thanks to the kind of supplier partners we have here at Metal Construction News, you don't have to repeat that experience.


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