Job Tracking, Job Progress — Estimating, Etc.
Keep track of your job progress to avoid surprises at completion.
by Len Hijuelos
that, by now, any of you who have been reading these articles consider me to be somewhat of a fanatic about paperwork. I suspect that to some degree that may be true. I have to say, though, that over the years I have seen too many instances of business failures because of a lack of management skills. Everything in these articles — the methodology — is designed to make the management of your business more efficient and the growth of your business more manageable.
That said, there is another type of management tool that many contractors don’t use, and that is some type of cost card: something that basically lets you know what you are spending on a job as it progresses. By making a comparison of what has been spent (job cost) against the value of the work performed, you should know how you stand regarding profit or loss.
Taking this a step further, you can also project future costs and get an idea of where the job is headed. In the case of a negative picture, there may be something that can be done to turn it around. In any event, you are forewarned. This seems so elementary that it might be taken for granted, but there are probably more contractors out there that don’t use this system than do. Unfortunately, these are usually the smaller contractors, who can least afford to be without such a system.
The format used does not have to be anything overly complicated — it can be something as simple as an index card on which you post weekly labor-and-material costs, with some mechanism devised to show the progress of the job, that is, the value of work completed.
In our own company, we do use a fairly comprehensive format. We separate out different classifications of labor costs, as well as the associated material costs, and reflect the progress of each of the different work processes. This is done for each project underway. Our sheets are ready Friday afternoons, and on Monday mornings there is a meeting with management and superintendents to review and analyze them. We also discuss projections and potential problem areas, and how we might do better on some of the work processes.
There is no rocket science involved here; it’s just common sense to develop another management tool to help manage your business more efficiently.