Thomas C. Schleifer, PhD

Business of Construction Library

Tom Schleifer joined the construction industry at age 16 and brings more than 50 years of contracting and consulting experience to his presentation. He has Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees in construction management from East Carolina University, and a Ph.D., in construction management, from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Schleifer’s experience includes serving as foreman, field superintendent, project manager, and vice president of a construction company that he owned with his brother. From 1976 to 1986 he was the Founder and President of the largest international consulting firm serving the contract surety industry. View Full Resume

MANUAL OF CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES

In every failed company, there were signs of financial risk that may not have been seen until too late.  Don’t let that happen to your company too.  Below, use the R-Score measurement tool and learn about the key indicators of financial distress to know if your company is at risk.

The R-Score measurement is the result of extensive research by Dr. Tom Schleifer. It is a single formula that determines whether a construction company’s financial condition is improving or deteriorating, and to what degree. Unlike any single ratio discussed here, this formula consists of a combination of interrelated financial and organizational performance indicators. Simply stated, this indicator measures the ability of a company to produce its work at a profit while effectively utilizing its financial resources (essentially keeping debt low in relation to equity).

RScoreWorksheet

Indicators of Financial Distress

Original RScore Research

As with nearly all industries, the construction industry operates within cycles of growth and recession.  How will your company adjust to these cycles?  Read the articles below to understand what the cycles could mean, and how your company can remain afloat.

Prospering in Cyclical Markets

No one Likes Recession – Some are going to Hate Recovery

Downsizing Can Lead to Success

Downsizing_ A Profitable Alternative in a Downturn

Is your company prepared for the inevitable market cycles which affect all industries across the globe?  These market cycles can be devastating to a company that has not adequately prepared. Read the articles below to learn how you can prepare your company.

Prepare for a Huge Die-Off

Cyclical Market – Same Risks

Without customers, no business would exist, so why is it so common to hear people talk of bad customer service?  If your customers leave, it wont be long until you have to shut your doors, so read below to learn how to manage customer relations.

How to Manage Customer Relations

CONSTRUCTION ARTICLES

 

CONSTRUCTION TOOLS

CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SELF-ANALYSIS PROGRAM

Every organization can improve performance. Advancing a construction organization towards world-class performance requires accurate identification of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Decades of research lead to this do-it-yourself diagnostic tool that provides the equivalence of an independent expert evaluation of every aspect of your business. Research suggests that most managers understand construction methods better than the multi-layered business side of the business and the complicated interdependent relationships between marketing, production, and accounting. This tool will provide you with a comprehensive insight into the complex functional areas of your business. Once identified, most contractors have little difficulty correcting potential limitations or compensating for them. Identifying strengths and weaknesses is the bigger issue.

DOWNLOAD SPREADSHEET

PROJECT SELECTION PROGRAM

The project selection tool provides an accurate measurement of project selection risk based upon what is known or not known about a potential project at a given point in time, and how well the project matches the firm’s experience.

The project selection tool provides an accurate measurement of project selection risk based upon what is known or not known about a potential project at a given point in time, and how well the project matches the firm’s experience.

DOWNLOAD: PROJECT SELECTION PROGRAM SPREADSHEET

Late payment to contractors is an industry nightmare that violates contracts and multiplies the risk. Worst of all, contractors allow it to happen. Having been paid late for so long, contractors think it’s normal. Most feel they have no influence over the payment process. The reason is what I have called for many years an “entitlement” paradox.

DOWNLOAD: BLAME? LOOK IN THE MIRROR ARTICLE

DOWNLOAD: DON’T IGNORE YOUR CFO ARTICLE

Learn more about pursuing only profitable work.

DOWNLOAD: PURSUING ONLY PROFITABLE WORK ARTICLE

R-SCORE CALCULATOR

The R-Score measurement is the result of extensive research by Dr. Tom Schleifer. It is a single formula that determines whether a construction company’s financial condition is improving or deteriorating, and to what degree. Unlike any single ratio discussed here, this formula consists of a combination of interrelated financial and organizational performance indicators. Simply stated, this indicator measures the ability of a company to produce its work at a profit while effectively utilizing its financial resources (essentially keeping debt low in relation to equity). The R-Score—and, of course, the company’s actual risk—increases when the company’s ability to earn a profit is diminished, or when their financial structure becomes more highly leveraged.

DOWNLOAD: R-SCORE CALCULATOR SPREADSHEET

MANUAL OF CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES

Dr. Schleifer has worked in Construction for more than 50 years and has accumulated an astonishing amount of knowledge about the inner workings of the industry.  Over the past years, he has compiled all of his knowledge about the business side of the business of construction and created a Manual of Construction Practices.

DOWNLOAD: MANUAL OF CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES

GLOSSARY OF SURETYSHIP AND RELATED DISCIPLINES

Suretyship is a discipline demanding an interdisciplinary approach. Accounting, banking, law, insurance, reinsurance, government, and, in some instances, engineering, architecture, and construction all meet on common ground, a bond or contract of suretyship; and, each must be considered as important as the others.

We, Construction Management Associates, Inc., have searched for a glossary of suretyship, comprehensive, yet with simple, clear, readable definitions. We have not found such a glossary; therefore, we decided to write one. Construction Management Associates, a surety consultant with years of experience, was well-suited to meet the challenge.

We trust that we have produced a book of value, of utility. We are proud of and satisfied with the glossary; however, we will continue to update, expand and improve this work. Hindsight has a certain clarity; we hope that our foresight will as well.

DOWNLOAD: GLOSSARY OF SURETYSHIP AND RELATED DISCIPLINES

MANAGING THE PROFITABLE CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS: THE CONTRACTOR'S GUIDE TO SUCCESS AND SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

Take control of your construction contracting business and manage it through the natural highs and lows of the construction market.
Learn from a team of construction business veterans led by Thomas C. Schleifer, who is commonly referred to as a construction business “turnaround” expert due to the number of construction companies he has rescued from financial distress. His financial acumen, combined with his practical, hands-on experience, has made him a sought-after private consultant. His experience and no-nonsense philosophy have truly given him a unique perspective. 

Important topics covered include:

  • Understanding the primary areas of construction business failure in the next decade
  • Minimizing business risk with real-world examples
  • Developing a positive and competent management attitude and strategy

Discover how to maneuver through this complicated and risky industry by using the authors’ research and proven success strategies to sustain and grow your business.

PURCHASE: MANAGING THE PROFITABLE CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS

COMMON CONSTRUCTION ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS

The construction industry is full of acronyms, symbols, and abbreviations that vary between companies and workers.  If you ever find yourself wondering what MEP, CMU, FFE, or UNO mean, explore these websites.

Construction Abbreviations

Construction Symbols

For the most common construction symbols, look here

CONSTRUCTION PROFIT SERIES VIDEOS

The Dr. Thomas C. Schleifer Construction Profit Video Series offers a timeless perspective on the business of construction and the best methods for making your construction business profitable. You’ll find some priceless nuggets of knowledge specifically tailored for the construction industry that will help you build your construction business the right way.

Ask Questions and Request Topics

Have a question for Dr. Thomas C. Schleifer? Contact him here with your questions about articles or the business of construction in general.

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If you wish to contact Dr. Schleifer directly, he can be reached at tschleifer@q.com or letstalkbusiness@simplar.com