Anne Timpany, founder of On Tap Toolbox Academy, explains what you need to consider if your business plans to branch out into contract works.
Your business needs to have a number of important elements in place before a contractor or developer will put you on their procurement lists and start to send you opportunities for contract works.
The types of clients that operate in this industry, such as contractors, developers, government organisations, etc. all have specific requirements that they expect a business to meet. Once you have these features in place, then your potential new client will be able to add your business to their supply chain and you will then be in a position to fill up your pipeline with new tenders for contracts.
Here are our top 10 Toolbox Academy tips for what your business needs to consider.
The client will want to see that your business is legitimate and professional so they request information like website, email address etc.
It is important to ensure you have taken into consideration things like having a proper company email address rather than an alternative such as Gmail as these types of email addresses would raise alarm bells with a potential client as to the professionalism of your business.
Prepare a brief document which includes important details for your potential client about your experience and expertise that will enable them to understand your business’ capacity. This document doesn’t need to be very long, keep it down to three to four pages maximum.
Up to date accreditations are vital. The types of accreditations that they expect to see for plumbing and heating firms would be from organisations such as the APHC, the CIPHE, Gas Safe Register, and WRAS.
Training and qualifications
Contract works sites require all operatives to have Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards; they are not able to get on-site without these. For upper site management, they will need a Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme qualification.
This includes employee liability and public liability. All contracts have a clause whereby your business would have to comply with a certain limit of liability, so please ensure you are covered for this.
Health and safety policy
This includes method statements, risk assessments, and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health assessments. Rather than trying to copy and paste something you found on the Internet, it is best to get the professionals to create these for you as often the client wants to see your consultant’s CV.
Health and safety backing
This is vital and your company must get accredited with organisations such as CHAS before anyone will consider your business for these jobs.
Clients will often source suppliers from prequalification bodies because they have already done the hard work for them. It is therefore useful to have already gained a membership with at least one of these organisations, such as Constructionline, before approaching new potential clients.
It is not uncommon for clients to want to see what your company’s financial history is, and they often ask for at least three years’ turnover figures. Some of them will even ask you for your company accounts. It may seem like they are prying, but they are just trying to understand your company’s financial capabilities and what value project your business will be able to deliver.
Experience and referees
Clients will always ask for usually at least three references from previous clients and a brief description of the project you worked for them on.
Now you have a useful list of all of the elements you should get in place before you start looking for new commercial clients. It might seem daunting but, once you have it all in place, it is easy to maintain with an annual review.