How to Reduce Construction Overhead Costs?

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If you’re a business owner, you know the importance of cutting costs wherever possible. If you can find ways to reduce wasteful spending, you’ll have more capital to use in growing your business. Overhead expenses have a habit of sneaking up on construction businesses, so now is the time to examine and prepare for ways to reduce them.

Construction projects are expensive, but the costs don’t have to be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll discuss 8 tips that help you reduce your construction overhead costs, from analyzing your budget and negotiating with subcontractors to leveraging technology and reusing materials.  

With these tips in mind, you will get a complete idea of how to reduce construction overhead costs.

8 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Reduce Construction Overhead Costs

1. Assess the cost of labor and material

The cost of overhead can make up a significant portion of expenses, ranging from 12% to 50% of total labor expenses, or 8% to 30% of the cost of materials, labor, and equipment combined.

When it comes to reducing construction overhead costs, one of the most important things you can do is to get a clear understanding of the cost of labor and materials. Knowing how much these things cost will help you determine where you can make cuts without sacrificing quality or safety.

To get an accurate assessment of the cost of labor and materials, you’ll need to get quotes from different vendors. Be sure to get quotes for both new and used materials, as well as for labor costs. Once you have all of this information, you can start to look for ways to reduce costs.

  • One way to reduce the cost of labor is to negotiate with vendors. If you’re able to get discounts on the cost of materials or labor, you’ll be able to save money on your overall project. 
  • Another way to reduce costs is to look for ways to streamline the construction process. This might involve using prefabricated components, investing in new technologies that can help speed up the construction process, and properly estimating construction costs. By accurately estimating the costs of materials, labor, and other expenses, you can better plan and budget for the project, minimizing any unexpected expenses.

2. Establish a budget

If you’re looking to reduce construction business overhead costs, one of the best places to start is by establishing a budget and understanding how to calculate overhead cost. This will give you a clear understanding of where your money is going and where you can cut back.

To establish a budget, start by listing all of your income and overhead expenses for the project. Make sure to include everything from the cost of materials, indirect costs, and direct costs to labor costs. Once you have all of your numbers, you can start to look for areas where you can cut back.

One way to save money is to use recycled or salvaged materials whenever possible. These materials can often be found for a fraction of the cost of new materials. By following such tips, you can establish a budget that will help you reduce construction overhead costs.

3. Start early to reduce idle time

It’s no secret that construction projects can be expensive. But there are ways to help reduce construction overhead costs. One way is to start early. By starting early, you can help reduce the amount of idle time on the project.

Idle time can happen for several reasons, but one of the most common is when workers are waiting on materials or equipment. If you can get materials and equipment delivered early, it can help reduce the amount of idle time on the project.

Another way to reduce idle time is to have a clear plan and schedule for the project. By having a clear plan, you can avoid delays and keep the project moving forward. Having a detailed schedule can also help you spot potential problems before they happen.

4. Utilize the best tools for your crew

If you want to reduce construction overhead costs, one of the best things to do is to buy equipment that is of high quality for your crew. With the right tools, your crew will be able to work more efficiently and get the job done right the first time. This will save you money in the long run as you won’t have to pay for repairs or replacements as often.

Some of the essential tools that every construction crew should have include:
  • A good set of power tools: drills and saws
  • Hand tools: hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches
  • Construction materials: lumber, nails, screws, etc.
  • Safety equipment: hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, etc.

By investing in quality tools and equipment for your construction crew, you can help reduce overhead costs and keep your project on budget.

5. Coordinate to prevent multiple projects from happening at once

Construction overhead costs can be reduced by ensuring that only one project is underway at a time. This can be accomplished by coordinating with the construction team, other departments, and outside contractors to ensure that everyone is aware of the project timeline and milestones. 

By keeping everyone on the same page, it will be less likely that multiple projects will start simultaneously, which will lead to increased costs. In addition to coordinating with others, it is also important to have a clear understanding of the scope of the project and what needs to be done to complete it.

Having a detailed plan will help to avoid any surprises or last-minute changes that could add to the cost of the project.

Finally, it is important to stay organized and keep track of all aspects of the project, from purchase orders and invoices to progress reports and daily logs. By staying on top of everything, it will be easier to catch any problems early on and prevent them from snowballing into larger issues.

6. Develop a forecasting process

Forecasting is a critical part of any construction project. By creating a forecasting process, you can help reduce construction overhead costs.

Here are some tips to help you get started:
  • Know your historical data. This includes knowing how much fuel consumption, material consumption, or labor cost has occurred in past projects. This data will help you predict future needs.
  • Utilize technology. Many software programs can help you forecast material and labor needs. Utilizing these tools can help increase accuracy and efficiency.
  • Communicate with all parties involved. Make sure everyone involved in the project understands the forecasting process and their role in it. Good communication will help ensure accuracy and avoid surprises down the road.
  • Review and adjust as needed. As the project progresses, be sure to review your forecasts and make adjustments as necessary. This will help ensure that your construction overhead costs stay on track.

7. Develop a planning process

There are a few key steps you can take to develop a planning process that will help reduce labor costs and lower overhead costs.

  • First, you need to establish clear objectives for your project. 
  • Once you have your objectives in place, you need to create a budget and timeline for your project.
  • Once you have your budget and timeline in place, you need to select the right team to work on your project. 
  • Finally, you need to monitor and adjust your plan as needed to ensure that you are on track to meet your objectives.

8. Develop a cohesive project schedule

To keep construction overhead costs down, it is important to develop a cohesive project schedule. This schedule should take into account all of the different aspects of the project that will need to be completed, and it should be designed in a way that will allow for a smooth and efficient workflow.

  • One of the most important parts of creating a cohesive schedule is to make sure that there is adequate time allocated for each task. If one task is scheduled to take longer than it does, this can throw off the entire schedule and cause delays.

    Conversely, if a task is not given enough time, this can also lead to problems. It is, therefore, essential to create a realistic schedule that takes into account all possible contingencies.
  • Another important consideration when creating a project schedule is the sequence of tasks. Some tasks must be completed before others can begin, so it is important to plan accordingly.

    Additionally, some tasks may be able to be completed concurrently, which can help to save time. Again, careful planning is essential to ensure that the construction project runs smoothly. 

By taking the time to develop a cohesive project schedule, construction companies can help to reduce overhead costs and keep their projects on track.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Why should I care about how much it costs me?

    As a business owner, it’s important to be aware of how much it costs to construct a new building or make changes to an existing one. Construction overhead costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to understand what options are available to help reduce these costs. Reducing overhead costs will help you to reduce debt levels or reduce the amount of money that you might have to invest.
  2. How much can I expect to save by reducing my construction overhead costs?

    The amount you can expect to save will depend on a number of factors, including the size and scope of your project and how well you implement cost-saving measures. However, businesses that have successfully reduced their construction overhead costs have reported savings of 10-30%.


The construction industry is faced with many challenges, one of which is the ever-increasing cost of construction overhead. In order to keep overhead costs down without sacrificing quality, construction businesses need to be mindful of where their money is being wasted and make strategic choices about where to allocate their resources. 

One way to do this is to track cleared & uncleared invoices, outstanding payments from your customers, and mistakes in estimates. With InvoiceOwl is contractor estimate app, you can create professional-looking estimates & invoices for construction work, track cleared & undeclared invoices, generate reports, and get customer feedback. 

Go paperless, have flawless financial papers, and spend more time with your loved ones by using InvoiceOwl.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More