A GUIDE TO MAKE MORE IN THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
Updated: Jul 27
Understand how to make more money in the construction industry as an employer or employee.
When talking about the business sector, these are the only two elements that are universal in this world.
Therefore, this Guide is focused on expressing a clear idea of how these two aspects are codependent, but most importantly it is focused on helping you out, as both an employer or an employee. The notions that you will read about are RESPONSIBILITY & TRUST.
So, here, you will find all the information you need to increase your revenues, information that I have learned on the hard way from being both an employee and later on an employer.
This is why I want to share with you my experience and teach you how to evolve and climb on the company’s ladder or organise your subordinates.
Another thing that I want to add before moving on to the actual discussion is that this Guide’s purpose is to help all of its readers. This means that you can use the knowledge read here to discuss better contracts with your clients but also to negotiate with your employer a better pay rate. More so, it will help you organise better your employees that will only translate in more earnings for both parties.
At this point, you might think that it is not even worth wasting your time with this kind of information.
Before you go ahead, I want you to understand that everything I’ve put on paper comes from my experience as an employee that grew gradually until it became the employer.
This is why it is my true belief that all the notions of this Guide are easy to comprehend and more importantly, I am sure that if I could do it so could you.
So lets get into it:
RESPONSIBILITY & TRUST
How it works
I decided to structure this next part in a very easy to read manner, so everybody will read it and really understand the meaning of my words. To help me explain everything, I decided to take an example from the building niche.
So, here it goes:
Are you with me so far? Great!
Now, imagine that this building company is involved in a big development project.
If the owner of the building that hired the company to build it discovers a mistake made by John, the labourer, he will not blame John for the mistake simply because he doesn’t have the chance to interact with him. He will, however, blame the highest rank he deals with and everyone down the chain all the way to the labourer responsible for the mistake.
Of course, the “blame” may get more deluded as it goes up the chain of command.
If you were the building’s owner and you would deal directly with the Project Manager, you won’t blame him as if he was literally the one that made the mistake of putting the bricks in the wrong place. Sure, he is to blame because he didn’t choose the best people to work with or didn’t train them properly. Because of that, you need to discuss the situation in the correct manner.
You can ask questions such as “Did you train this labourer?” or even in a very extreme situation “Why did you hire this labourer?” If you have the opportunity to get in contact with the company director, you can even start inquiries such as
“What systems have you put in place for this not to happen again?”
Remember that in order to solve the problem and get somebody on a higher rank accountable for a labourer mistake, you have to formulate the question in a correct manner.
A quick lesson about Ownership:
As a parenthesis, keep in mind that we, as humans, tend to hate responsibility and try to blame our mistakes on different people.
So, even if the owner of the building meets John and tries to hold him accountable (and consider that it was truly his mistake), John may try to deflect by blaming someone else. We should all avoid doing that, and always take responsibility and ownership for our jobs and mistakes.
Integrity is very important - that brings us to the notion of trust:
How it works
Well, to simply put it, we've learned that you are paid extra for the responsibility you assume.
But what happens when a lower rank makes more money than a higher rank?
Let's say: a carpenter making more money than a builder, for example.
Let’s take the following scenario. The builder’s job is a matter of spreading the instructions and plans among the carpenters. When they receive these instructions, the carpenters have to execute a very complex structure while coordinating many labourers.
This means that the builder only has to deliver the plan, while the carpenter has to execute it while looking after the workers.
Because of this, it makes sense to make more money than the builder since the overall amount of responsibility is larger.
However, even though the amount of responsibility is noticeable higher for the carpenter is not the only reason for a better payment.
Let’s imagine the carpenter has 10-15 years more experience than the builder. Why do you think that should weigh more when it comes to earning a better salary?
Experience usually means more trustworthiness, which therefore means more chances of delivering what is expected in a perfect manner.
What you need to understand is that in almost every project there is an allowance for errors. Good managers know that it is humanly normal to make small mistakes and it is expected that problems will happen.
I want you to imagine a possible scenario and consider that your company is hiring a new carpenter to renovate some decks and you are the one deciding who to take on. Two applicants show up. The first one is Jake who has 1-year experience in decking and charges $X/h, while the second one, Charlie, has 5 years experience and charges $2X/h.
A person with more experience usually has more skill and makes less mistakes. Therefore, it's natural to trust experienced workers more than newbies.
So, going back to the previous example, I will go and consider both carpenters to have enough knowledge and skill for the job requirement. So the hiring will be made solely based on trust.
This means that selecting Charlie, even if it costs double, just based on the fact that you can trust his work, may actually be a fair call, since you don't want to worry about the quality of the work.
However, you can never be 100% sure.
As I said before, all humans make mistakes and even the most experienced person can have a bad day. Because of this, my recommendation for you is never to reject a resume before actually meeting the person behind that CV.
See how “you feel” about all candidates, which in other words means to use your guts in order to answer the question: "Can I trust this person?”
What if Jake turns out to be a very confident worker who knows how to present himself and his skills? What if he inspires just as much trust as Charlie, even though the experience is not the same. You can do a great deal by hiring Jake, especially if you trust him after the face to face meeting.
What I have learned along the way is that when you hire or do business with someone, trust is more important than affinity.
As a worker or an employer, you should not enter business relationships with people who you don't trust. Remember that liking and trusting are not the same thing, especially in the business sector.
So, even if it is hard to comprehend, there many cases in which you need to work with people you don’t like, but you trust them to be good at what they do.
So, the reason I am telling you all this is because the Guide’s purpose is to educate you and teach you not only what to do to gain more trust but also what is totally inappropriate and you should never act in this manner.
Do not damage your trustworthiness:
Here's a short a shortlist of actions that will most likely distort your trustworthiness.
● Steal from the office supplies;
● Use the company car for your personal trips;
● Gossip your co-workers;
● Promise to handle an issue and break your word;
● Don’t show up at work without giving notice;
● Spend more time taking breaks than actually working.
Now that you understand the notions of responsibility and trust, it is time to talk about how you should approach your employer or your employees based on your position within the company. In other words, it is time to learn how to properly negotiate so you can gain the best advantage when discussing the increase of salary.
But remember that this is not a one-way street. If you’re an employer, you can always negotiate new goals regarding responsibility or trust for your own workers.
This usually sends them on a path to grow along with the company which usually turns out to be very profitable for all people involved.
As the examples used above, the negotiation can actually be pretty simple outside. Regardless of the purpose, it usually tends to follow a very strict structure such as “What if I achieve that goal? Would you give me compensation for it?”
Let’s take in a very easy to comprehend example. Imagine that you work on a construction site and wish to earn more money. It is clear that you won’t see any extra penny without some more implication from your side. So, what if you propose your employer to give you more responsibilities once you get your truck driver’s licence.
What you just read is a very clear negotiation situation in which you offer your extra skills and take more responsibilities (driving and looking after the truck, in this example) in order to receive a raise. If we were to consider the employer’s position, it is safe to say that he/she will not want to risk wasting money, but if this a negotiation, your employer should at least agree on a test period.
So, at the end of the day, both parties have something to benefit from.
But let’s go a little bit further with the explanation of this particular case.
Assuming that you’re the employee, and you are the one who starts the negotiation process about a new skill that is needed in order to fit properly into the new role. By doing so, you help the company by getting more valuable work done, but more importantly, you are helping yourself grow and develop a better carrier.
As a general rule, find ways to generate more wealth for the company and negotiate a reward for when achieving it.
The company will most likely be supportive of your initiative, since you are a trusted employee within its existing structure. Usually, employers prefer to act this way rather than lose money on on-boarding people from outside the company that are not familiar with the company’s processes and operations.
This effort can be started by any of the two parties. A smart employer will understand what is the direction in which each employee can grow and even help them find their path and achieve their goals. In the example above, the company needed a truck driver.
To open the realm of possibilities, as the following questions:
As an employee.
● What does the company need that you can do if paid extra?
● What can you learn to do that your boss would happily pay extra for?
● If you imagine being higher in this company ranks, what would you be happily doing?
● What skill level can you achieve if you’d be paid more for it?
As an employer.
● What activity would you pay to be taken off your hands?
● Which of your responsibilities can be delegated to someone else?
● If your employees wanted to grow, what would you ask them to do?
● If you imagine having a bigger company, what would your crew be doing?
● What can your employees do to make more money for the company?
● Use your answers as the base for formulating a pay rise pitch.
A COUPLE OF THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
Know your outcome:
It's not always about the money. Remember that each person is different, so maybe extra money is not what will make you happy. Instead, having extra time off day to spend with your family is what you need. Think about all these aspects before starting the negotiation.
Leaving should be an option:
Always remember that if you don’t have any leverage in a negotiation, you simply are not negotiating. You are asking or begging and that is the last thing you want to do.
Keep in mind that your presence will always be a leverage point*. When entering a negotiation you should be ready to leave. You may have to find employment in another place where your skills are better appreciated, or review your attitudes regarding work.
*If your presence is not apreciated, then you have bigger issues than receiving a raise. If the employer doesn’t care if you stay or leave the company can only mean that he was just too busy and didn’t find the right time to replace you. In this case, unfortunately, this Guide is not the best one for you.
I hope that this Guide has provided some new and interesting ideas that have scraped your interest on the subject and opened your eyes to understand what are the actual qualities that you need to acquire in order to start earning more.
I hope that you have learnt that in order to earn more money and excel in a company of choice, you need only two things: Responsibility and Trust.
I said it before, but I wish to say it again. Every notion of this Guide was written in such a way to help people regardless of their position inside a company. This being said, it doesn’t matter if you are the employer or the employee. In either case there are things that if done by the Guide can help you earn a bigger reward.
I hope this Guide has given you insights and inspired you in the pursuit of your goals and I sincerely wish you the best luck and great success.
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