Small Business Spotlight: C&S Publishing

  Catherine Wood, C&S Publishing Owner, Launching New Service In January To Help Contractors Find New Jobs

Catherine Wood, C&S Publishing Owner, Launching New Service In January To Help Contractors Find New Jobs

In 2019, C&S Publishing will celebrate its 30th year in business serving California’s small business contractors.

Catherine Wood has been the owner and operator of C&S Publishing for the last two years. Under her leadership, the company connects small businesses and contractors through their three weekly editions of The Daily Reporter, or TDR.

Building on what they already offer to construction contractors, Catherine is very excited to launch a brand new service in January, TDR Plus. It is a subscription software service that enables busy estimators and owners of construction companies who spend too much time looking for new jobs to feel relief when the perfect new jobs arrive to them just like magic. With TDR Plus, construction estimators will always know when there's a new job to bid on in their area and industry without having to spend hours searching websites or spend a lot of money on other sites or organizations for bidding information.

A free, preview version of TDR Plusis available right now for people who would like to check it out and provide their feedback on the service before the full, paid version launches in January. You can sign up at thedailyreporter.net/register.

“I hope to continue connecting California’s small business contractors to construction bidding leads and change the way bidding opportunities are delivered to contractors, making it easier to do business when you are the little guy,” said Catherine. “I also seek to work with other woman-owned business and I am grateful when I can connect professionally with other strong women.”

Catherine is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and C&S Publishing is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and a Small Business Enterprise (SBE).

C&S Publishing is based out of Antelope, Calif., and can be reached at CandSPublishing@gmail.com.

 

Letter from the President, December 2018

Dispute Resolution Services

Over the years, we have had the privilege to work with our small contractor friends by providing support and resources for a myriad of obstacles that have ranged from cash flow issues to dispute resolution with agencies and primes.  Often, many of these issues are resolved by education and communication between the parties.  Occasionally, those issues are more contentious and are addressed through third party support such as arbitration and mediation. 

Most recently, a friend approached us about subcontractor listing issues and wanted to know their rights as a listed subcontractor on a bid/build project.  In that particular instance, the prime that was found responsive and awarded the project had listed this subcontractor and, after the award, decided not to use the services on the project. Our friend wanted to know their rights for recompense and how to avoid this situation in the future.

When a subcontractor is listed on bid for a publicly funded project, and the prime is awarded the contract, the prime must submit a substation request based on the following criteria.

The subcontractor:

  • Refuses to execute the contract

  • Becomes insolent or applies for bankruptcy

  • Refuses to perform their contractual scope of work

  • Fails or refuses to meet bonding requirements

  • Does not have the proper license

Or The Prime:

  • Proves to the awarding authority that the sub was listed as a clerical error

Prior to the approval of the prime contractor’s request for substitution, the awarding authority shall give notice in writing to the listed subcontractor and the reasons for the request.
— California Public Contract Code Section 4107 

Knowing your rights as a small contractor are imperative to protecting your company and minimizing your company’s risks.  This holds true for all listed subs, regardless if you are small business certified or not.

If you have any questions or want additional information, please feel free to send me an email at abbigail@cpmlogistics.net.

Happy bidding!

Small Business Spotlight: Merriwether & Williams

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Bonding is often cited as the primary barrier to small business participation in public works construction. One of the primary reasons bonding is so difficult to obtain is that the surety companies are writing bonds with the expectation of no defaults, which means the companies seeking bonding must be able to demonstrate capacity, strong financials and good character. Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services has administered contractor development and bonding programs throughout the state for over 21 years and we encourage small businesses to utilize our free services to grow their businesses.

Merriwether-administered programs conduct vigorous outreach in line with sponsor opportunities and priorities and engage targeted businesses in assessment, education, technical assistance and matchmaking with prime partners. Current sponsors include the City and County of San Francisco (including the Airport, Port, Muni, S.F. Public Utilities Commission and public works), City of Los Angeles (including the Airport, Port, Water and Power and public works), L.A. County Metro (with $125 Billion in development and construction projected over the next twenty years) and Alameda County, which has a $580 Million Affordable Housing Bond with a 20% small business inclusion requirement. Each of these sponsors has established a $4 - $8 Million collateral pool, which guarantees any losses from defaults on the bonds issues.

In over 21 years, with over $900 Million in bonding made available to small, women, minority and veteran-owned businesses, all programs combined have experienced less than 1% default rate in an industry with a steady default rate over 20%. Merriwether is proud to be able to assist small and emerging firms who create jobs and economic prosperity in their communities and thank our sponsors who understand the social and economic benefit of inclusion and equity.  

Letter from the President, October 2018

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After every Small Business event we’ve coordinated recently, we tell ourselves that our work volume will slow down, that we are at our peak.  Because of all of the new federal and state infrastructure funding, it is beginning to finally sink in that this work pace may be the new norm for our company.  We have 4 events, and 6 statewide trips, in the next 30 days. 

Why, in our 6th year, are we now in line with demand for our services?

This may be because of several reasons.

  1. We target only a handful of clients that represent our values of integrity, communication and responsiveness, instead of remaining open to any and all in the industry.

  2. We are forecasting work earlier and planning for short and long term goals each year.

  3. Empowering and supporting our staff is, and always will be, a priority to CPM. 

These three points may sound overly simplistic but they are extremely effective.  Business planning, setting goals and understanding what value you bring to the professional table are the cornerstones of any successful business.  

Small Business Spotlight: Deep Foundations Drilling

Name of business/owner?

Deep Foundations Drilling - Lynn Perry

What type of business is this and what services do you offer?

We offer CIDH, Shoring, CiSS Pile, Soil Nail Walls, Driven Pile -- these are our main services. We also will help with project management and consulting on difficult projects. Our team combined has over 80 years experience.

How long in business?

We have been in business since 2014, with that said did not receive our DBE till 2017.

What are some recent jobs you've done?

My most recent job has been learning how to navigate the Caltrans system in effort to work with them. We did get our first substantial break with Flatiron West on the I-5 Elk Grove project, which we are very excited about. We will be working on 4 soil nail walls.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Currently, I am working on ways to tackle the market by working with my DBE competitors and larger competitors to create a positive outcome for all.

Letter from the President, September 19, 2018

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When we started CPM, long before hiring our first employee, we realized that Small Contractors struggle because they do not have enough resources.  Whether it be office staff, field workers, cash flow, equipment or a culmination of each, Small Contractors needed better resources support.  

Because of this, we recently began coordinating relevant, educational industry specific workshops to provide valuable information to our Small Business community.  These topics include Labor Compliance & Prevailing Wage Requirements, the importance of filing a Preliminary Lien notice to protect your profits, Prompt Payment provisions and your right to get paid in a timely manner and The Everything Contractor (and why you should narrow down your scope of services).  All of the Prime Sponsors for these events are donating their time because they want to provide the small contracting community access to their potential contracts as well as industry knowledge.

These workshops can be found on our events page.

Our office is pretty small so don’t wait to sign up! 

 

Letter from the President, August 14, 2018

How lucky are we that we get to do something we love for work?  Helping others is a core value that every CPM employee possesses and is something that drives us all to better serve our Small Contractor community.  Like many other Small Businesses, we started CPM not because of money, but to develop and maintain a better quality of life for ourselves and our families.

 

In July, we hosted several industry events to better inform Small Contractors about available contracting opportunities with both primes andagencies.  One such event with Granite-Teichert, JV, was so well attended by potential subcontractors that there was standing room only. Not only do we listen to you, we put together action plans and events based on your feedback to improve small businesses odds of contracting on large programs. 

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This past June and July, we sent out a Small Contracting survey asking for feedback on what obstacles your company encounters when searching for relevant, public works projects. Not surprisingly, out of the 254 respondents, 24% reported that bonding was the single most challenging issue faced as a Small Contractor; 22.5% said prompt payment; and 11% responded that estimating assistance and competitive pricing were prohibitive for winning contracts.

Our response to the survey feedback is to schedule time to connect you, the Small Business contractor, with those that want to provide both technical assistance as well as potential contract opportunities. In addition, we will be hosting an Estimating Workshop with Teichert on August 24; a Labor Compliance Workshop on September 27; and a Prompt Payment Workshop with Ferrovial on October 12.  We are also currently working with the LAOC Building Trades on coordinating these workshops in Southern California, so make sure to check our events page for more information!

Small Business Spotlight: Rupert Construction Supply

 Karen Wonneberg, owner

Karen Wonneberg, owner

Karen Wonnenberg started Rupert Construction Supply in 2002 – providing material supplies to contractors building bridge, highway and other civil engineering transportation projects. Rupert Construction Supply is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), and a Small Business Enterprise (SBE). 

Rupert Construction Supply has concentrated on bridges for much of the business, but Karen reports that she wanted to find a stronger niche, taking bridge concepts and finding more business in highway and rail, and water/wastewater treatment projects.

Karen believes her success comes for the following mindset: As a DBE, be prepared to do the work. Don’t wait to be handed something by the contract. You need to be successful with or without the DBE certification, so operate as a business, not as a DBE business. The certification is just an added incentive to the contractor. 

For more information about Rupert Construction Supply, visit their website at www.rupertsupply.com

Letter from the President, July 13, 2018

June was a hectic month for our small staff at CPM.  

We hosted 9 Small Contractor events; nominated not 1, but 2, well deserving industry friends for service awards; attended countless meetings and conference calls in support of Small Business; continued our quest for data supporting Senate Bill 1 (SB-1 aka, the Gas Tax); all while running a business and addressing our everyday duties. 

We recently sent out a short, non-political 5-minute survey asking for information about your knowledge of SB-1 and the bill’s provisions.  We have been monitoring the hundreds of responses.  Not surprising, many Californians feel stretched thin by how much they pay in taxes to our federal, state and local governments; many are offended by not being offered the choice to vote on SB-1; most, if not all, would like to have open dialogue with those administering how the funds are managed.  

This survey will remain open until July 31 and the results will be made available to anyone that is interested in reviewing the data collected. All who have completed the survey to date have been respectful and civil – dialogue that we appreciate and encourage to help us all better understand how to move forward with supporting the repair of our highways, bridges and infrastructure. 

 June 20, 2018 BART Mechanical Outreach Event in San Francisco

June 20, 2018 BART Mechanical Outreach Event in San Francisco

We will also begin hosting monthly educational workshops for Small Businesses that want to increase their capacity through industry best practices.  Our response to this need is to engage agencies and primes to help us provide that knowledge to these companies on a regular basis.  Keep an eye out on our events page.

We hope that you are having a great summer!

Letter from the President, June 13, 2018

 The Electrical Work event was held May 24th at Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro and highlighted upcoming opportunities for SB to bid on Electrical Work contracts. Much of the upcoming work being discussed is funded as a result of Measure RR which was passed by the taxpayers in 2016 to help to repair and replace much of the aging BART system.

The Electrical Work event was held May 24th at Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro and highlighted upcoming opportunities for SB to bid on Electrical Work contracts. Much of the upcoming work being discussed is funded as a result of Measure RR which was passed by the taxpayers in 2016 to help to repair and replace much of the aging BART system.

May was a great month for us.  Through mentoring and on-going communication, we were able to assist several small contractors in becoming DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) certified. Through this process and many business planning strategy sessions, we were able to support these companies by aligning their approach with tangible goals that support industry needs.  We are showing small contractors how to build viable businesses through best practices.

We have also spent quite a bit of time working on supporting and providing the public factual information about Proposition 69/SB-1. This has been an uphill battle as there are many perception issues surrounding both the increased revenue’s oversight as well as how much money drivers will actually pay at the pump and DMV.  Please reach out to any of our staff or visit www.rebuildingca.ca.gov for more information on this.

There are many misconceptions about the level of effort it takes to run a profitable small business. Mainly, the notion that at some point everything will fall into place and that your job as an owner will somehow become easier while you make more money.  That you have to stop trying to stay ahead of industry change. Time and time again over the past several years, unfortunately, we have seen many businesses fail because they become overly confident and begin to rely heavily on longstanding professional relationships without continuing to provide value for their clients.

Lastly, our company’s mission statement includes the language that both supports the company’s values as well as our staff’s values.  We support the right for all business owners to be heard and validated.  We will continue to remain responsive to our industry’s needs and support all partners who are working towards bringing us all up together.