What Equipment Do You Budget For?

One Mistake Can Destroy Your Business

Do you budget for your equipment? Maybe you don’t sit down and write out a budget (but we recommend you do), but I’ll bet you plan for some of these expenses:

  • The truck you need to purchase (or replace), finance, maintain, buy licenses and plates for
  • Maybe you own your shop or office, so you budget for outdoor maintenance – mow the lawn, plow the snow, or keep under a car port
  • How about scaffolding replacements or upgrades?

You don’t buy a truck and expect it to work year after year without gas, oil changes, maintenance, tires, so you budget for the upkeep and replacement. You keep up with insurance, license plates, and other fees because you count on this equipment. It will need to be replaced after a few years, and you’re not surprised when you start thinking about how many miles are on it, what it’s costing to keep running, and what you might get on a trade-in.

Most businesses have these expenses built into their budgets, or at least built into their estimating process – got to have the trucks and trailers running, insured, and safe. When you put a bid together, you have your burdened cost of labor, but you also have allowances for using (or renting) equipment, including the cost of cartage to move big items and consumables such as diamond blades, gas/oil, for example.

Twenty-five (25) years ago, only the field equipment and an allowance for overhead were part of the company budgets, not computers. Now they’re a critical, non-negotiable part of doing business and they need security, maintenance, updates, and replacement when the time comes.

But I rarely see construction companies budget for their computers. Equipment ages and needs to be replaced. Just like old models of cars, there are old ‘models’ of Operating Systems and critical software that need to be upgraded or replaced. Newer software doesn’t always run on old equipment. Switches run 24/7 and may need to be replaced. Firewalls need regular maintenance and updates, just like vehicles. Firewalls also age and need to be replaced with a new ‘model’ that can address newer intrusion attempts and have new features to thwart the bad guys.

Then there’s backups, people – I see such resistance to this. Yes, it’s like an insurance policy. And like insurance on a vehicle, your home, and your life, you cannot afford to risk not having it. Data is a primary driver of any construction business these days, and you must have backups to restore in case of a disaster, yes, or just employee error that accidentally unleashes ransomware.

It’s surprising how much push back, or delays, we get when we point out that these critical systems need attention, replacement, or upgrades. Then when these recommendations are delayed or declined, the next call we get when things aren’t working or go down is that we should have known this was going to happen and now they have to put out all this money while they’re down, to boot.

This is what we do; this is what we know. You count on our expertise, and we ask that you let us help you.

Plan ahead – build the cost of IT and computers into your overall company budget and be realistic. You need computers to run a construction company these days. Hardware, software, maintenance, upgrades, replacements, as well as user support. Plan for your computer budget needs and expect to cut the checks, just like you do for your trucks, trailers, and buildings. We’re on the same team! – CMW