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Plumbing Web Connection Guest Column

Tracking Jobs
By Ellen Rohr
Do you know if your prices are right? Do you know if you are properly bidding your Jobs?

The bottom line is the bottom line. Hurray for you…if you are making all the money you want, if you are providing a real retirement investment program for yourself and your team members and if you could take a major hit to your business (disaster, disability, divorce?) and still be in positive cash flow. If so, you can stop right here.

If not, you can fix your business and get really profitable. Money buys options…for you, your family, your team and your community. I love a selling price increase because it is the only thing that you can do – mathematically – that will increase the top line and the bottom line without creating any additional expense. I always support a selling price increase. You deserve it for the wonderful, valuable, risky work you do. However, it is a good idea to also determine if you are putting enough hours into your Job bids and Flat Rate tasks.

Have you got the time?

The essentials of Job Costing:
• Comparing bid to actual labor hours. (Don’t convert to dollars. Too much “voodoo” goes into that calculation. Match hours bid to the actual hours it took to do the Job. )
• Comparing bid material cost in dollars to actual material cost in dollars.
• You could also track permits and subcontractors, if you use them.

Keep track of the Job!

Create two Job Folders for every Job, a blue folder and a red folder. Both of these folders go in a hanging folder in the office. The red folder is the office Job Folder. It’s red because it should flash “warning!” if it is ever outside of the office.

In the red Job Folder, include:
• The original signed bid/agreement.
• The bid Pricing Form. The Pricing Form should have the number of hours bid and a list of the materials and their estimated cost.
• Permits and required Job forms.
• Plans and specifications.
• Copies of customer invoices.
• Copies of customer payments.
• The POs or priced invoices for the actual materials used.
• Anything else that will help you deliver this work as promised, stay in compliance and properly account for this Job.

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Fill the blue job folder with copies of the information found in the red job folder. This is the folder that the team can take with them on the Job. Customize my list to work for you. The idea is that the installer has the information he needs to bring the job in as promised. Yet, he doesn’t have the only copies.

How did you do?

Once a week, measure your performance with your team. Meet with the Salespeople and the Installers. Call out the assembled actual performance numbers – hours and dollars – and have the Lead Installer tally up his or her Jobs.

Live and learn!

Celebrate Jobs that come in at or below bid. Learn from the ones that don’t. Work together to develop efficiency without unrealistic expectations.

And, if you are nailing the Jobs for hours and materials, and you are still not making the money you would like to make, you have one more thing to do: Raise your prices.

Business is easy.

About the Author
Ellen Rohr The Business Makeover Expert® teaches the few things that make all the difference to your business success:  Easy financial clean up, profitable pricing and powerful business planning.  Ellen nearly sank her own family’s business. Then, she learned how to keep track of the money and make more of it. In turn, she has helped thousands of business owners start, fix and grow their companies.

Ellen is a columnist for Huffington Post, PHC News, and a contributor to many business journals and trade magazines.  She provides “in the trenches” insight that business owners can relate to.

Ellen is the author of four business basics books:  Where Did the Money Go?, How Much Should I Charge?, The Bare Bones Biz Plan and The Weekend Biz Plan.





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