March 17, 2020

Contractors and COVID-19: Strategies for Managing Your Business Risks

Kojo founder Maria Davidson presents at SMACNA 2023

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is deeply impacting communities, families, and individuals across the country. The CDC and local authorities have issued guidelines around best practices to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19. In this note, we want to share some best practices electrical contractors can take to protect their businesses from the financial and operational risks posed by this pandemic.

As an electrical contractor, you’re used to uncertainty -  project delays, overdue payments, and unexpected work interruptions are a part of life. But COVID 19 and the market uncertainties it’s creating are different.

A potential recession might cause a cash crunch. A slowdown in construction spending might be on the horizon, quarantine might prevent workers from getting work done, and there are reports of materials supply chain disruptions and cost increases.   

We deeply care about our community and the many hardworking people that work tirelessly to make sure classrooms, homes, hospitals, and offices are lit up. The work you do is essential to the fabric of our society. To make it through this time, it’s vital that you cut inefficiencies and control expenses in areas you can control.

Your two biggest cost centers are labor and materials. Here are some of our recommendations for how you can work through labor and ordering challenges:

Labor hours:

  • Make foreman time count - field time is the biggest expense you have. It’s now more important than ever to make sure the time foremen spend in the field isn’t wasted. Dig in on the manual and repetitive tasks your foremen do and what tools can help you reduce these.
  • Institute daily health check-ins via email or SMS - regular check-ins will help you know if anyone in the field develops COVID-19 symptoms earlier rather than later to help protect others.
  • Plan in advance in anticipation of callouts - now is the time to have a contingency plan. You might be in the middle of jobs with contract obligations - make sure you’re able to meet them in case of potential labor disruptions.

Materials ordering:

  • Track your costs - knowing how spend breaks down across different jobs and distributors [and revisiting those pricing agreements] will help you know where you can find cost savings. 
  • Get essential orders in earlier to de-risk supply chain breakages - getting foremen to place orders earlier and avoid rushed next-day deliveries will help minimize the risks of delays and the risks of workers being on-site without the materials they need. If you have a warehouse, keep that stocked with commodities parts and other essentials you might need.
  • Proactively reach out to vendors regarding stock levels or any delivery changes -  distributors are facing supply chain disruptions, so making sure you’re staying on top of stock levels and changes on their end will help you manage backorders. Keeping track of how vendors are performing will also allow you to make better decisions about who to place orders with.  

At Kojo, our mission is to empower electrical contractors with world-class technology that saves time for their field and office teams. Our goal is to help you increase profits on every project. In a time of uncertainty, I hope you will find our platform a reliable resource for helping you achieve cost reductions and navigating the risks of COVID-19.

If you have any questions or would like to request a free assessment of how you could save costs across your field and purchasing teams, don’t hesitate to reach out to 

We’re all in this together,

Maria Rioumine

Co-Founder and CEO of Kojo

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