Become a thriving company before infrastructure projects come to the City

nyc construction, mbe contractor, wbe contractor, strategic planning, annual planning, funding opportunities,
This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Bipartisan Infrastructure Act

As promised in the last blog post, today we’ll dive into how to prepare for the funding/projects coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

Where will you find these contracting opportunities when they are available at the City and Local levels? Through PASSPort’s Portal, as we mentioned a few weeks back.

What do you need to gain access to the projects in the portal?

 

Get your vendor number and set up how you’ll get paid through the Payee Information Portal (PIP), and create a PASSPort account, which allows access to most city agency bids.

Want to know how to do it? Click here to walk through the process!

How can I ensure I stand out in a sea of bids? 

 

An MBEs or WBEs certification can help set you apart from all other contractors bidding on the projects. Some agencies (like MTA, SCA, and now DDC, have Mentoring programs specifically for MBE & WBE Contractors, which we’ll touch on in a few weeks). It’s important to note that having this certification does NOT guarantee contracting acquisition.

Find out more about the certification here!

This was a quick overview of the first steps in City procurement. Now let’s tackle the actions you’ll need to take at the company level.

nyc construction, mbe contractor, wbe contractor, annual planning, strategic plannning

 

A close and thorough evaluation of your business systems should take place annually, even quarterly in some instances, to ensure you have the capacity and the workforce to complete the work that you’re setting out to win.

What does a clear-eyed evaluation look like? We strongly believe in getting help from experts. Gathering valuable high-quality expert opinions plays out during our Foundational Program.

When new MBE and WBE contractors start as members of the Network, they meet with pragmatic, like-minded professionals who have experience in Construction within their own industry. These Pros offer guidance, advice, and counsel.

While we provide structure for our members (and vetted Pro experts), you don’t need a formal process, but we would follow the same sequence. Look for ethical, practical, and well-informed advisors who aren’t afraid of giving hard feedback. Make sure you cover the following areas:

  1. Legal: They should be ready to review your documentation related to your business structure, the contracts you use (if you are a GC), or the contracts you are receiving (if you are a sub). They should be having conversations with you around long-term plans and legal risk exposure.
  2. Accounting: This Professional should be comfortable checking three years of tax returns, advising on bookkeeping, payroll (hopefully someone that can provide payroll reports too), and begin to assist with financial planning for the growth and expansion of the business. They should be able to advise you on the financial risk for future plans based on your current numbers.
  3. Insurance: This Pro is often the most overlooked. Their job is NOT to provide you with the cheapest insurance. They should be advising around risk. You’ll need action over coverage at a minimum, but exclusions are often where most policies fall apart. Make sure you’re covered for the actual work you perform and have no holes in your policy that leave you open to litigation. Examine your loss history, your last 5 jobs completed (specifically around risk and safety protocol), and review your work in progress (again, around risk assessment). Construction is inherently risky, you need someone that can help protect you by providing a policy that’s worth the money you are spending on it.
  4. Human Resources: This Professional will help to create a hiring strategy, as well as your employee handbook, job descriptions for all positions, and give you an idea of what resources you’ll need to create the crew to complete the work, as well as office staff. The information received here will tie back to the work your Accounting Pro should be discussing with you.
  5. Strategic Planning: Creating a solid strategic plan will pull together all of the parts and pieces of the above advisors. Find someone with practical business knowledge (not theoretical knowledge) to help to create a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be, utilizing what you have now.

How would this process help grow my business? By allocating resources and energy to developing your firm’s internal systems, this requires attention beyond looking at their day-to-day operations. By stepping back, seeing how they function, what works and what doesn’t, helps to zero in on where you can make changes.

How do we know this works?  First and foremost, I was a WBE contractor. I’ve run my own business and I’ve worked in construction for over 20 years. But instead of taking my word for it, here’s what Karl Griffith, President at Zena Electric Inc., one of our contractor members at CMC Network had to say:

“What I find unique about CMC Network is the Foundation Program. We had our company reviewed by an attorney, accountant, insurance broker, and a HR professional. They all advised us of best practices and systems we should put in place in order to be successful when we enter into the Big Leagues. These professionals also help tailor the training we need to help us scale to the next level. Thus far I am completely satisfied with the services CMC Network has provided me.”

What could these advisors do for your business? How could their advice assist your business to grow? 

Their advice and guidance can help you avoid obstacles and mistakes that can stand in the way of developing your capacity and reaching your goals.

Are you ready? Schedule a meeting with us to discuss membership.

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