Winning more profitable work is of course the goal of any construction company regardless of size. For a lot of reasons, though, this is an area where contractors can really struggle.
Because most days seem like a race against the clock, 3 common reasons for not winning more work tend to come up time and time again: lack of historical data, inaccurate estimates, and lack of communication.
When you implement a project review process into your workflow, you begin to see how you can eliminate these problems from your business. Using data to make informed bid decisions, you can fill your pipeline with more profitable jobs that are a better fit for your company and in turn, your bottom line.
Post-Project Review Begins in the Field
A successful project review hinges on having accurate data to look back on. To obtain this data, you need to have the right tools in place from the start and use them properly.
This means really starting where the data exists: in the field. If you aren’t tracking what’s happening where the work is being performed, where the materials are being used, and how your crew is spending their time, you can’t get an accurate picture.
But bogging down field crews with multiple software options that aren’t easy to use on mobile is a guarantee that your crew won’t adopt them, and even if they do, it could grind work to a halt as construction crews become inundated with paperwork.
Instead of adding extra steps to the process, choose a single tool that will track what you need and that is designed for use in the field – like Raken, for example – and you’ll have much better results.
What to Track
Once you’ve adopted a technology that suits both your precon team and your field crew, you can begin to create that historical data to leverage on future bids. The two biggest areas to focus on are your crew’s labor and your materials and equipment.
Time and Manpower
You need to track time no matter what for payroll and accounting. Doing so with a field tracking app streamlines the process, allowing crews to enter their time right on their phones daily instead of dealing with paper reports at the end of the week. Not only does this speed up the time entry process, but it gives you a digital record of those hours, which you can then use in your project review.
Materials and Equipment
An accurate record of materials and equipment usage is also crucial to any project review. With a tracking app like Raken, crews are able to input quantities of materials installed throughout the day right on their phones and assign them to the proper cost codes.
Both owned and rented equipment can also be tracked in this way – have your crews document the days equipment is on-site as well as when it’s actually used.
Analyzing Your Collected Data
After the job is complete, you can step back and examine budgeted labor/materials versus actuals. Compare what you planned for to what actually happened. For example, if your crew was more efficient than anticipated, you have room to bid a bit lower in the future to be more competitive.
Or, if there are areas where you were less productive than expected, you might need to pad future estimates a little to cover that extra labor cost. You can also closely analyze what occurred in this particular project to cause the lack of productivity and determine how you might fix that problem in the future.
Taking the time to review what went right and what could have gone better on a job lets you learn from the past instead of shooting blindly in the dark on each new project. You might remember that with a certain type of material installation, you’ll save yourself in the long run by planning for an extra crew member that day, or that you don’t need to bring in rented equipment until two weeks later than you initially thought, since it will sit on-site unused.
With insights like these noted and documented, anyone who joins your team will be able to assess labor, material, and equipment needs more accurately for each job they estimate.
Using Datasets to Form a Long-Term Bidding Strategy
Once you have complete datasets from several projects, you can start to look at big-picture plans. Identify trends in projects where you’ve excelled and been more profitable than others. What do they have in common?
• Are there particular types of buildings or projects on which your crew is more productive?
• Are there certain owners or GCs who make it easy to work with them?
• Are there specialties that set you apart for certain types of projects?
When a clearer picture emerges of just which types of work are most profitable for your company, you can then focus most of your energy in the preconstruction process to seeking out and bidding on that kind of work and stop bidding on jobs that aren’t worth your time.
How to Find the Time to Conduct Project Reviews
This might all sound like a pie-in-the-sky plan. Sure, it would be great to have the kind of time to look closely at each completed project, but that seems impossible – that job is over, and you have to move on to the next one immediately.
But there is a way to add those hours back into your day: cut the time it takes to perform takeoffs in half. How?
Switch to STACK, the best-in-class preconstruction platform. With a complete set of takeoff tools, including a search function that will take you directly to the plan pages you need; pre-loaded items and assemblies for most trades; and bid-ready proposal export options, STACK does the precon heavy lifting for you so you can take back that time for critical thinking, strategic planning, and growing your business.
Using the right technology tools can make a huge impact on your bottom line. Want to learn more about how you can collect data, compare budgeted to actuals, and improve your bids with Raken and STACK? Watch our on-demand webinar now.