The Secrets to Construction Business Success

(Thomas C. Schleifer, PhD., Mounir El Asmar, PhD., Routledge, 12/21)

“The construction industry has changed dramatically over the years and continues to become more sophisticated, employing new technologies and innovative processes at an astonishing rate. Construction has also moved closer to becoming a commodity, which is a primary reason for profit margins being low compared with historic norms. Lower margins increase risks, allowing less room for error. Profit enhancement in the future will depend primarily on productivity improvements and efficiency, as well as integration in design and construction to streamline the delivery process and reduce inherent waste.”

“The success of a construction business starts with avoiding failure. Understanding the reasons why construction businesses fail is the best way to prevent unnecessary loss.” Thus begins the preface of a new book that will be out in early December. 

Like these messages, the book is about how to be successful, how to avoid the pitfalls that look like opportunities, and how the construction business works. It can be used as a companion to the Weekly Construction Message and blog series and a compendium of all the topics that will be covered throughout the years. 

For a Deeper Dive

During 2021, these messages have been focusing on identifying the Best-in-Class business management practices that make construction companies successful. The book does not cover subjects where abundant literature already exists like management techniques and construction field operations but focuses on business success for profit and serves as a reference work when the reader desires to take a deeper dive into one of our message topics. 

In addition to road-mapping how to profit and prosper in the construction business, we also share the essence, secrets, and philosophy behind the success principles of leading and refining a construction enterprise with topics like:

  1. Flexible overhead
  2. Construction corporate self-analysis
  3. Indicators of financial distress
  4. Mitigating hidden risks
  5. The science of project selection
  6. Subcontractor management
  7. How to manage customer relations
  8. Getting paid on time
  9. Prospering in cyclical markets
  10. Construction industry consolidation
  11. Construction company stages of growth
  12. Succession planning
  13. New market entry in construction
  14. Liquidity management

Links to several proprietary interactive programs and spreadsheets developed over many years of research are included in this book and offered at no additional cost such as Interactive Self-Analysis Programs:

  1. The Project Selection Program
  2. Construction Company Corporate Self-Analysis Program
  3. Construction Financial Self-Analysis Program
  4. R-Score Calculator/Analysis

Useful Templates Include:

  1. Sample Business Plan
  2. Succession Plan Sample
  3. Subcontractor Management Policy
  4. Change Order Management Policy
  5. Self-Directed Professional Development Plan
  6. Self-Administered Skills Inventory

The Background Behind This:

When the research group that makes up the Simplar Foundation launched this blog a few years back it was with the intention of creating free and easy access to the latest thinking and research on construction business success for the entire construction industry. At the same time, I began to compile my lifetime of construction business management research into a book for use by serious construction professionals as a companion to the Weekly Construction Messages and Simplar blog series. 

The construction industry is fascinating, and I have had a lifelong love affair with it. In many ways I feel like Vince Scully, the legendary announcer of Dodger baseball, who was blessed to sit in the cat bird seat for 67 years and watch winners and losers take up baseball’s sporting challenge. After 60 years as a contractor, consultant, and researcher, you can’t help but learn a lot about how things work and there is little left to do but share what you’ve learned with those taking up the challenge after you. 

This Weekly Construction Message, blog series, and now a companion text is for all of us who love the construction business, and it is my way of saying thank you to all the men and women in our industry who have populated and enriched my life.                                

If interested, you can preorder on Amazon. Now, let’s continue to increase profitability.

Next week: Dealing with unstable markets.

For more information business success, read more at:

For a broader view on the construction market cycles, read more here:

To receive the free weekly Construction Messages, ask questions, or make comments contact me at  

Please circulate this widely. It will benefit your constituents. This research is continuous and includes new information weekly as it becomes available. Thank you.