Building The Right Culture To Grow Your Construction Business With VDS

What is your business?

We’re a residential and commercial building company based on the Central Coast NSW, but we do a lot of work in Sydney. We’ve come a long way from doing decks and verandahs as a small team to what’s grown into a bigger team with much bigger jobs like commercial fitouts.

How many did you start out with?

Well, kicking things off, I started by myself for around a year and a half, and then we sort of sat around five people for a good four or five years. Now we’re a team of 18 plus.

Why do you think culture is important for builders or construction workers?

At the end of the day, everyone’s gotta get work, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a builder or if you’re packing shelves at the supermarket or whatever you’re doing, but if you can create an environment where it’s not a burden on people to hang around other people all day, every day, then you create an environment where people actually want to go to work. Because everyone’s gotta do it anyway.

Where have you learnt your business lessons from?

It all takes time. And you don’t always have someone to speak to. It just comes with time and lessons learnt from running things. You’ve got to experience things, you’ve got to know the right way to do things, the right way to manage people, you know, how to deal with situations and ultimately appreciate yourself and your own time and know your worth.

How do you manage knowing the worth of your business and pricing competitively?

There will always be people that can do it cheaper and that’s probably one of the ones that takes the longest to learn.

It’s not the worst thing in the world being the most expensive quote… Why? Because someone that quotes a job cheaper than us, won’t be as good because it’ll be rushed and it has a knock-on effect on their business… They’ve gone in tight to win the job and then they’re creating a stressful environment for their employees to work in for themselves. Then everyone is stressed,even when they’re at home. It impacts on all aspects of life that you create this environment that’s tense and stressful. Nobody wants that.

What indicators do you look at when you are expanding or growing your business?

It’s easy to cut around with a few goers and just do little job after little job. But it just depends on what you want for your business. It’s more of a personal thing, you know. I always want to be moving forward and strive to be better than the last job.

What are some of the best business lessons you’ve learned?

Always look after your employees, you’re nothing without your team. So you just always make sure that they’re paid and taken care of, talk about their life and stuff, have a bit of a personal connection. I definitely think that helps. Another important one is that, going in cheap doesn’t pay, it costs. And just take the time to learn how to properly run your business. We’re nearly ten years in and that’s just what it took us to get to this phase of business. It takes lessons learnt and all that.

Have you ever experienced a sudden expansion and then had to contract your growth or employees?

We never really had to. If an issue has ever come up, I’ve just tried to push more because it’s an indicator you need to do more. If you need more work, go out and get more.

The hardest thing is probably getting too much work, but then you just gotta work a bit harder.

How long are your current days?

On site, it’s between eight to ten hours every day. And then one to two hours a day on admin and some weekend work. I have two admin girls who are both away at the moment so have been covering until they’re back from maternity leave.

Do you have an accountant or bookkeeper?

We do our books in house, but we do have an accountant. I sit down with my accountant to run over the business numbers and check in every couple of months on business progress.

What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?

I really like the challenge, it’s not easy and very time consuming. But it’s such a thrill because you never know what’s around the corner, but you’re in control of how you manage your business and how you react to incoming challenges.

What advice would you give to someone about to start out on their own?

Be independent. Stay in front of your money rather than chasing it. If you start out with nothing, you’ll be in a cycle of “I need the work, I need the money”. Whereas if you start with some sort of capital there, you can keep your prices up, because you’ll be okay if you don’t get the job. Don’t just sell yourself short.

What’s your favourite thing about NextMinute?

The timesheet is really user friendly and simplified. The boys do the timesheets and the girls do the pay runs and even just monitoring costs and profits from each job as they’re developing, is great. It’s really helped with how we operate our business.

What were you using before NextMinute?

We were using Employment Hero, which has got its place, you can keep timesheets and put sick leave and stuff in. But it’s not great for the construction industry specifically, or job management.

NextMinute is just much easier for the boys to use. It’s simpler and much better for a growing construction team.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of trialing NextMinute?

Definitely give it a go. It’s been perfect for our company and is really good for anyone in the construction industry.

“Stay in front of your money rather than chasing it. If you start out with nothing, you’ll be in a cycle of “I need the work, I need the money”.”

How do you balance your personal work life?

Great difficulty, hahaha. I do actually need to work on my balance a bit better.


What’s your favourite tool?

I love my hammer. That’s what I’m enjoying at the moment.

On a Sunday, where will we find you?

Probably just at home. A bit of work in the morning on the computer, and then maybe the lawns or gardens or cleaning cars.

Thing you love most about your job?

The environment for sure. Kinda like working with your mates, you know? Even if we’re in a shit situation, we’re all in the same boat and everyone gets it. It’s also great to have a laugh and make fun of each other.

What’s the thing you hate most about your job?

Probably that it’s just me running it at the moment and no one else can do my job. It’s not like I can get sick. Over the next 12 months, I am going to look at delegating more to free up my time.

Best joke you’ve heard on site?

I can’t remember, just a whole lot of dad jokes really…

Song that gets the boys dancing?

Everyone is different, but Kevin will just dance to bloody anything.

Recent Articles

NextMinute logo

Get the latest insights direct to your inbox

Thank you! You are now subscribed to the NextMinute Blog 🎉
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.