How to Be a Successful Construction Foreman: The ProfitDig Radio Show Episode 6 (2023)


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Professional construction project manager/estimator Jeff Spencer explains to Chris Work how to be successful as a foreman. Jeff worked his way up from labor to company owner, and has been involved in the construction field for nearly 30 years. In this ten minute video, he talks about the need to be flexible and well-rounded, the ability to perform any part of a job, to operate equipment, and effectively manage a crew.

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If you're a good foreman and you're doing your job, then you shouldn't have any fear should not fear.

Yeah, you know, especially working with with a good credible company, you know, they're going to continue to keep you on.

You know, we want to build our company.

We want to see it expand so we're looking for future performance.

Suddenly we were very interested in brooding for kentucky.

Yes, you went 100 bucks.


I was like you start making the picks because I never did get that many, you know, didn't they play.

Alabama, I know they didn't.




One, yeah, yeah.


Yep, they're.

They're, killing me.

Damn, alabama, it's.

A girl I'm, rolling y'all.

I won't talk about some construction or something, oh, okay.


Sorry, I'm.


Well, enough of that roll tide business.

Yeah, yeah.

Jeff spencer.

How are we doing? Good? Chris? How are you I'm? Well, I'm, well, good.

Well, it's, a wednesday, evening, sure enough, yeah, weekly meeting it's, our profit, dig content meeting, it's, always a good time.

How are you having a few beers blowing off some steam talking about some construction? Jeff you were talking about something earlier that I thought was very interesting with this, hey, we need a video for this.

And you were just talking about, you know, the demand for uh, you know, good foreman and operators and construction right now.

And this is how companies are facing the possibility of other companies coming in and poaching, their talent and so that's increasing wages.

I mean, which is good, I mean, that's, what we all want at the end of the day.

And so it is good and it's, not good.

You know when it happens, you know, if you've got outstanding bids that you bid at a certain labor weight, well, and then you've got to you gotta up your game, you know, and then you know, you've got a the only one way to make that money up is in production.

Absolutely yes today, right.

But if that lifts the market right, then everyone can benefit from it.

Yeah, exactly so that that's, good, yeah.

And so it got me thinking, all right, I'm a foreman.

What all right? Let me let me take a step back I'm, a foreman and I'm I'm, not necessarily new in construction.

Obviously, or I shouldn't be a foreman, but I'm new in that position.

And maybe I didn't have or spend as much time in the field as some other guys.

What could I do? Um to increase my performance, be a better foreman, do a better job for my crew or crews and potentially earn more money? Well, I mean, it's, you know, as long as you're doing your work in meeting production or getting more production than what's required, uh as long as you're doing it in a safe way.

You know, in a way that is, you know, not going to come back to bite you.

You know, like, you know, you don't mess up something today and kind of skim over and then come back and fix it later on you never want to do your work twice, right or error or safety right? So you never want to, you know, you don't want to jeopardize anybody's life, absolutely for, you know, first and foremost, sure, but uh, you know, my thing is, if you've got a good crew, and you've been working together for a while, you know, your foremans should be able to see potential prospects that they have on their crew.

You know, to me a good foreman is someone that is going to involve other crew members and kind of train them.

You know, and like what I like to do, you know, I like to move people up.

I don't want to hire people from another company or hire people.

You know off the street.

I like to see, you know when we need them, that's, fine, yeah.

But I like to see our guys, you know, get trained in the field and move up.

You know as into one company, the company I work for right now.

In particular, you know, most of the guys have been there.

10 plus years.

Wow, right.

Yeah, that's.

Awesome, yeah.

And you know, because, you know, we pay good wages and we give them opportunities to grow.

You know, we as long as they're willing to learn and pay attention and and show that they can show up every day and take the the learning that they're getting and use it to progress their their their level in that particular field, then they could potentially come up.

You know to be a foreman or superintendent.

You know, you know, it's going through the ranks right skies and limits.


And of course, every time you move up, you know, it's an increase in pay do foreman ever feel threatened by that like.

I mean, I guess it depends on the scenario situation they're in.

But if I'm a foreman do I ever maybe not want to teach the guys under me as much as I know or this, or that with this fear that they may take my position, if you're a good foreman and you're doing your job.

Then you shouldn't have any fear should not fear.

Yet, you know, especially working with with a good credible company, you know, they're going to continue to keep you on.

You know, we want to build our company.

We want to see it expand so we're, looking for future performance, what better way than take a guy that's been with you five or six years? You know, and then this formula he's been working under has trained him up.

And you know, he's he's got the grasp of what's going on.

He knows how to shoot great.

He knows how to to set up a laser.

He knows how to you know, do whatever, you know he can operate, right? You know, he's, he can get in the ditch with a shovel.

Right? Yeah, yeah.


He can do it all, yeah.

And so at that point, you know how to read a set of drawings, yeah, you know, all those things are key things.

And if if your foreman takes an incentive to teach these guys as they go up, then what better way to grow a company than keep it all in house sure now so that, but, but you know, but when you make a guy foreman, he's got to have a crew under him sure.

So at that point, you know, you do generate other jobs, you know, that's outside the field or outside your company.

So you know now you're reaching out to people that that it's not associated with your company you're taking applications, because you've got to build this crew around this new foreman.

And like what I like to do.

I like to take, you know, one, I may rob one or two guys from another crew, or something and put on his crew to give him some stability to where you know, he's, not depending on outside help that may not be as progressed as what he is, or what he needs to have to support him.

That makes total sense.

You can bring a couple of outside guys into a crew that's.

You know, been working together, right? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.


So then that foreman.

I mean, I I guess it's also.

Well, let me ask you, this I'm a foreman and let's say, I've been in the field for a number of years.

Um, I guess there's.

Obviously an advantage to me, even if there are situations where I'm gonna be running a piece of equipment or doing some of these other things, uh, just for one just to stay fresh on your skill, right? You know, I mean, I know it's, not something you lay down at night.

And just suddenly forget how to operate a piece of equipment, but there's more than just moving forward and backwards and picking the bucket up and down.

I mean, and we we our foremost, we like to be what we call work informants.

So you know, they they're not just sitting in a truck, looking instead of blueprints, you know day in and day out, you know, they're out with a crew.

You know, they may get on a piece of machinery.

You know, maybe excavator wheel, loader, dozer, whatever it may be, and they may get a ditch netblade pipe.

Yeah, they may you know, get out and shoot great.

You know, it just it just depends on what what needs to be done.

And so we call them work informants, but that's.

What they do.

You know, they they they're.

Not just a foreigner that runs a crew, you know, they get out and participate.

You know, in day-to-day activities as well, yeah.

And I bet and correct me if I'm wrong.

But if I had a list of all foreign construction in their wages from east coast to west coast, those who are identified as a working foreman.

I bet they can earn more money.

Well, yeah, that's something they're going to get more production and do it with less less men, yeah, because you know, he's he's taking up the gap of someone else that you got to fill that spot with.

So sure I'd be paying someone to do it right? Yeah.

Not to mention motivational, right? You know, it's.

We've all had jobs at some point where you know, the boss man, he's hanging out in the in the heated truck in the middle of winter, or the ac is blowing on them in the middle of summer and it's, right? You know when he's actually out there with you, then it kind of motivates everyone too, you know, it kind of sets the stage that.

No one is better than anyone here we're here to do a job and we're just going to get it done.

Yeah, yeah.

And if and if you are that one particular foreman, you know, and a lot of bigger construction companies have them to where your job is to keep the job laid out and that's.

All you do is focus on those drawings and keeping the job laid out.

Then you should have an operator or a lead man on site that is just as almost as equal as you are to where he can keep that crew motivated just like you're talking about he's got to, you know, keep them going and pushing them and most time, you know, whatever, the main piece of equipment is that operator, generally is the person we're talking about.

Okay, uh, you know, it's, like if you're laying pipe, then that excavator operator if he stops or it shuts down, then the whole crew shuts down cruise ships.

So you know, it's, he's it's up to him to keep everybody motivated while you're foreman is is trying to to look at day-to-day tasks and get everything lined out.

Yeah, but you know, a good foreman can be a working foreman and still get day-to-day tasks laid out as well.

Sure, well, that's fantastic.

Well, jeff is very helpful, and I think it's going to be helpful to our listeners.

I hope so I appreciate your time, chris, good to talk to you talking to you.



How can I be a good foreman in construction? ›

A Successful Foreman knows how to communicate the goals of the project, the week, and the day to their team. This helps motivate the team and gives them clear direction of where the project is heading. A Successful Foreman is a Success Leader and in order to lead properly you have to lead by example.

Is construction foreman stressful? ›

The work can be stressful

Because the construction manager is often responsible for delegating tasks and meeting the client's goals, they may be subject to a good degree of stress.

Is it hard to be a construction foreman? ›

Being a foreman is not for the faint of heart. You need to have excellent leadership skills, years of on-the-job experience, and the nerves to deal with paperwork, follow sketches and blueprints, hammer out interpersonal conflicts, and manage time like a pro.

What does the foreman do? ›

The Role: The Foreman is responsible for scheduling, co-ordinating and supervising the work of all site operatives, ensuring that all work is delivered safely on time and within budget along with managing equipment and materials required.

What special skills does a foreman need? ›

Requirements and skills
  • Proven experience as construction foreman.
  • In-depth knowledge of construction procedures, equipment and OSH guidelines.
  • Understanding of electrical and hydraulic systems.
  • Ability to read drawings, plans and blueprints.
  • Excellent organizational and leadership skills.

What are the qualities of foreman? ›

6 Qualities of a foreperson
  • Good at communicating. As a foreperson is in charge of a team, you'll need to have excellent communication skills. ...
  • Very organised. As a construction foreman, you'll be handling many different tasks. ...
  • Has time management skills. ...
  • Is a licenced builder. ...
  • Resilient. ...
  • Fit & healthy.
Jul 21, 2022

What is the average age of a construction foreman? ›

Construction Foreman Age
Construction Foreman YearsPercentages
40+ years68%
30-40 years25%
20-30 years7%
Sep 9, 2022

What is the hardest job on a construction site? ›

You're also doing it from at least 15-20 feet above the ground. This is why roofers tend to have the most accidents and annual fatalities among all construction fields. It's also why contractors themselves label it the hardest job.

What is the hardest construction worker? ›

The toughest roles to fill

Waiting for a concrete pour or electric wiring can prevent the next step from happening. Sizemore said from his vantage point, the toughest jobs to fill are ones like carpenter, electrician, plumber, mechanic or millwright and project manager.

What is the next level of foreman? ›

Advance in Your Foreman Career

It can take 2 years as an entry-level Foreman to progress to the journeyman foreman position. Each advanced Foreman position requires approximately 2 years of experience at each level to advance in your Foreman career path.

What is the level of foreman? ›

Lower level is also known as supervisory/operative level of management. It consists of supervisors, foreman, section officers, superintendent etc.

What comes after a foreman? ›

Superintendents typically serve in a higher role than forepeople do, as they're authorized to supervise and direct projects. This usually means superintendents are in charge of all stages of the project, like the planning, implementing and submitting phases.

How is the foreman chosen? ›

A head juror is called the "foreperson", "foreman" or "presiding juror". The foreperson may be chosen before the trial begins, or at the beginning of the jury's deliberations. The foreperson may be selected by the judge or by vote of the jurors, depending on the jurisdiction.

Is a foreman a boss? ›

/ˈfɔmɛn/ Other forms: foremen. On many job sites, the boss or supervisor is called the foreman. If you get a job on a construction crew, the foreman is the person in charge. While the supervisor in an office, hospital, or school has a totally different title, in manual labor it's common to use the word foreman.

What position is before a foreman? ›

In fields such as construction, you typically need to reach journeyman status as a tradesperson before working as a foreman. In manufacturing, you may need five or more years of experience before qualifying for a foreman position.

What is career objective for construction foreman? ›

To secure a position as a Foreman that will allow me to utilize my excellent organizational abilities and technical expertise for the benefit of the team. Desiring to join an organization as a Foreman where I can maximize my ability to lead teams efficiently while ensuring safety standards are met at all times.

Is a foreman higher than a supervisor? ›

A Foreman typically supervises nonsupervisory workers, and has substantially full supervisory responsibility for control over work operations and the subordinate workforce. At the Foreman level, supervisors are accountable to higher-level supervisors for quantity and quality of work produced by the unit.

Is a foreman supposed to work? ›

Foremen typically work for construction companies or warehouses to ensure the productivity of daily operations. They work closely with the management team to determine hiring needs, deadlines for specific tasks, and safety protocols to enforce among Workers.

How much does a Construction Foreman earn in the US? ›

The average Construction Foreman salary in the United States is $89,219 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $79,207 and $100,892.

What trade is hardest on your body? ›

The most physically demanding trades involve a lot of lifting, bending, and climbing, and are also often quite dangerous. Right off the bat, roofing is often considered to be the most dangerous of any of the construction trades.

What is the most profitable job in construction? ›

Top 10 Highest Paying Construction Careers
  • 1) Senior Project Manager.
  • 2) Architect.
  • 3) Civil Engineer.
  • 4) Construction Manager.
  • 5) Heavy Construction Equipment Supervisor.
  • 6) Construction Estimator.
  • 7) Construction Inspector.
  • 8) Civil Engineering Technologist.
Aug 26, 2022

What is the hardest trade to learn? ›

What is the hardest trade to learn? Electrical and HVAC trades require intensive technical training, which can be difficult to learn. Electrician schools teach students how to install, maintain, and repair electrical systems.

How old are most construction workers? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a construction worker is 42.5 years old.

What is the easiest construction job? ›

11 Construction Jobs You Can Get With Little to No Experience
  • Flooring and Tile Installer.
  • Painter.
  • Insulation Installer.
  • Asphalt Laborer.
  • Landscape Laborer.
  • Roofer.
  • Solar Panel Installer.
  • Let Joblist Help You Find the Right Construction Job.

Can a Construction Worker become a millionaire? ›

Some millionaires, however, trace their fortunes to their time working as plumbers, farmers, construction workers, bus drivers and janitors. Here's a look at the millionaires who built their fortunes on the foundation of the high-paying manual labor jobs that got them started.

What is a working foreman called? ›

Learn about the key requirements, duties, responsibilities, and skills that should be in a foreman job description. Also known as a superintendent or construction supervisor, a foreman oversees construction sites and manages staff and building schedules.

Who is lower than a foreman? ›

Worker ranked below a foreman (10)CHARGEHAND
Worker ranged below a foreman (10)
1 more row

What position is above foreman? ›

For example, they could start out with a role such as foreman, progress to a title such as superintendent and then eventually end up with the title project superintendent.

Is a foreman top management? ›

The term foreman means a sort of supervisor who functions as a liaison between front-line workers and upper management. They oversee manufacturing and construction projects from start to finish.

What is the difference between a general foreman and a foreman? ›

The job of a foreman is to manage workers in a specific area, such as electricity, carpentry, plumbing, or welding. They hire, train, schedule, and oversee workers fulfilling this particular task. The role of a general foreman is to supervise the progress of the entire project.

How many types of foreman are there? ›

This made him split the foremanship role into 8 parts. Foremen should have intelligence, tact, grit, judgment, special knowledge, energy and honesty. Since all these qualities could not be found in a single person so Taylor proposed eight specialists.

Why is a foreman called a foreman? ›

foreman (n.) early 13c., "a leader," from fore- + man (n.). From 1530s as "principal juror;" 1570s in the sense of "principal workman." Similar formation in Dutch voorman, German Vormann, Danish formand.

What happens if you end up with a hung jury? ›

If a jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict and results in a hung jury, the case may be retried with a new jury. If the second jury is also unable to reach a verdict, the judge may declare a mistrial.

What is the first step in the trial process? ›

At trial, one of the first things a prosecutor and defense attorney must do is the selection of jurors for the case. Jurors are selected to listen to the facts of the case and to determine if the defendant committed the crime.

How do I become a good foreman on a jury? ›

The foreperson should: • Encourage discussions that include all jurors. Keep the deliberations focused on the evidence and the law. Let the court know when there are any questions or problems. Tell the court when a verdict has been reached.

What is the full meaning of foreman? ›

: a person in charge of a group of workers, a particular operation, or a section of a plant. foremanship. ˈfȯr-mən-ˌship. noun.

Does foreman resign? ›

As a result, he frequently voices his disapproval of House's rebellious methods and bold decisions. Foreman resigned at the end of Season 3, feeling that the more time he spent with House, the more he became like him.

Is a foreman a direct worker? ›

Working as a Foreman

Foremen typically direct and supervise construction workers and troubleshoot common on-site problems. They also work with the project architects and outside contractors to provide accountability for the primary onsite work and project management.

Is a foreman and a lead the same thing? ›

“Leadmen” have all the responsibility of supervising and directing work activities, yet none of the compensation of an actual foremen. It's just a cheap way for an employer to squeeze more productivity out of its workforce. Instead of delegating out work, the employer should really be hiring more foremen.

What is the key qualification of foreman? ›

A foreman should have four years of experience in the construction industry as well as a high school diploma or GED equivalent. One of the most important skills that a foreman will have is attention to detail. Another skill is organization as the foreman will have to be able to run a construction site effectively.

What are the goals of a construction foreman? ›

A construction foreman is tasked with the primary role of organizing and coordinating all construction activities while overseeing all the construction workers working at the construction site. He or she will act as a link between the workers and the site employers to ensure that everything works smoothly.

What is the life of a construction foreman? ›

The primary role of a foreman is to deliver their projects in time. A typical day in the life of these professionals includes whiteboard scheduling, planning, safety meetings, motivating construction crews, and overseeing work at the job site.

What rank is a foreman? ›

In the Indian Army Corps of Signals, a foreman of signals holds junior commissioned officer rank and must have had a minimum of ten years' service.

What is the next level for foreman? ›

Advance in Your Foreman Career

It can take 2 years as an entry-level Foreman to progress to the journeyman foreman position. Each advanced Foreman position requires approximately 2 years of experience at each level to advance in your Foreman career path.

What comes after foreman in construction? ›

A superintendent oversees and runs all aspects of a construction project, from start to finish.

How much does a construction foreman earn in the US? ›

The average Construction Foreman salary in the United States is $89,219 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $79,207 and $100,892.

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