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This one’s for the small businesses out there dealing with administrative and organizational hiccups! Particularly the construction companies – but I think these principles apply across the board for the most part. I talk with Jesse Meehan of Headwaters Contractor Resources about “How to Stay Organized in Your Construction Company Admin (and Marketing)”
Table of Contents
1. The Problem
“I need processes and documents that I can teach my employees to use, to essentially make this business function even I weren’t around. With all the available technology I know there are things out there that can help me but I don’t know exactly what they are and how to implement them.”
2. Four Strategies for better organizing your construction company
Software that is templated and streamlined as possible
Team in place who you can trust to implement the software
Understanding Cash flow
Understanding owner’s time and the value of it.
3. How do you streamline construction estimating to final invoicing in construction? Should you cut down on services your providing, so its consistent?
What do you suggest on consistent? —- Is it better to do 10 options ot customize, or 3 to make it easy for people to decide?
Contractors need to operate within their means. So many times, contractors “sell themselves out of business” because they can’t keep up with back office, billing & collecting, and following through on their job commitments.
4. Is there a way to structure order templates – so you don’t always need to make ones?
We tell our clients to find the software that fits for them. The first step is to purchase and learn it….the next and most important is to use it. Doesn’t matter if you have the best software on the market for contractors if you don’t use it. We also explain to them that one of the biggest keys to success is templating as much as they can. This limits the time it takes to create new jobs, estimate and invoice each job, store and retrieve documents, and most important to a lot of contractors; train new staff.
5. How do you track job cost?
This is another important side of the job that often gets overlooked. Too many times, contractors only look at money in/money out and don’t keep track during a job to track efficiency, what their own time is worth, and the idea of positive cash flow. There are many ways to track each job…one is the software a contractor chooses. Each software should have some form of job-cost tracking. The other is an important one for any business – the relationship with the right bookkeeper. We can dive into this in great detail, but a good bookkeeper/accountant should be able to provide job-by-job breakdowns.
5. How should construction companies deal with change orders?
Here’s another good example of where a good software can help. The ones we work with our contractors on allows direct access to homeowners. Once a contractor creates a change order, they have the option to put in all of the info, send to the homeowner, and the homeowner sign off.
6. Advice for making sure the design that’s proposed actually gets paid for (read contractors’s notes below)
A contractor in this position just needs to be upfront about their time and effort. If a homeowner is going to quibble over a contractor wanting to charge for their design, then they may not be the best client throughout a job. A contractor needs to be their own biggest advocate.