Using Construction Estimating Software for "Communications Blueprints"
Using Construction Estimating Software for "Communications Blueprints" In the construction estimating business, there are several vital principles you should practice that pave the way to positive results for both your company and your customer. Make sure that all of your "communications blueprints" are smoothly in place before you start a job.
The most effective way to do this is through your construction estimating software system that is dynamically linked with all of your processes; customer relationship modules, accounting, billing, inventory, job costing etc.
Two-way communication throughout the whole building process cannot be stressed enough. From your initial construction estimate on, cover details. You know the questions to ask that your customer may not think to consider.
After you learn what your customer's preferences are, take the time to write them down in detail and integrate them into a dynamically linked construction estimating software system so that the completed construction estimate reflects a project that closely resembles the image in your customer's mind.
One of the most important aspects of construction estimating communication comes in the form of change orders. Every project has a least a few.
For the protection and well-being of both you and your customer, every proposed change to the project should be agreed upon, detailed, price estimated, printed, and then signed by both parties immediately.
Construction estimating change orders not processed correctly can make or break you.
Although this is sometimes inconvenient, investing time to document that you and your customer are both on the same page will save you a great deal of headaches, and often money, in the long run.
Also, when input into a dynamically linked construction estimating software system, the information can be quickly and accurately disseminated to all individuals involved in the process as well as exported to your accounting, job costing, inventory and other modules that make up your total construction estimating software system.
Shipping errors, bad weather and sub-contractor schedule glitches happen. At times, owners may believe that everything is wrong with their project. Because the construction process is unfamiliar to them, many may assume that others' projects always flow along smoothly.
If the owner and the contractor are both mutually respectful, troubles can be worked out successfully. Fill in your customer regularly. Be up front when things go wrong. Customers are often not involved in the day-to-day workings, and often feel they are in the dark. Be ready with solution options if you have to present problems to an owner. The owners will most likely feel grateful for your resourcefulness.
Relax. Explain to the owner that glitches are always a part of the building process, but keep in mind that your calm, confident demeanor will tell your customer far more than your words.
Every wise contractor realizes the business name is on the line with each job. A bad experience with an owner can damage your reputation, while a good experience will increase future business opportunities.
When a contractor submits a construction estimate on a project, it is implied that the contractor will furnish the tools, materials and labor documented in the estimate, and that the quality of the workmanship will be equal to or greater than current industry standards.
What isn't stated is that not everyone will go about meeting those standards in the same way. A construction crew is made up of people with varying degrees of raw talent and developed skill. Skill levels aside, not all contractors will tackle a project the same way you do.
If your customer's needs, and terminology is integrate from the inception of the project into your construction estimating software, presenting your value to your customer can become an integral part of your construction estimating process.
Also, consider carefully who you ask to be a part of your company. A single individual that does not think and respond properly to your customer can undo whatever benefits that you may reap from your well tuned construction estimating software system.
The owner wants the project done as quickly and as well as possible, and under budget. You want to use ALL of the tools of your trade, not just truck, saws, hammers etc, but your construction estimating software, job costing software etc., to complete the project and make a profit.
Always try to meet in the middle. Step out of your contractor shoes now and then to see the project from your customer's perspective and communicate on that level. When you make your customer happy, you reap the rewards.
Also, realize that keeping your customer informed of the progress of his project, even if the information is a problem, is always better than letting him find out on his own.
For this reason, your construction estimating software / job costing system should have percentage complete capability for each of the steps of the job, to allow you to review any problems with scheduling and completion and also allow you to work together with your customer on a timeline that will bring the project back on task.
It is a must that your construction estimating software allows for dynamic linking to your job costing system that accommodates percentage completion calculations. With this capability, should not hesitate to review the project with your client directly on your laptop on the job costing screen.
You can do this freely knowing that at any time you need, you have the ability to turn the laptop around, click on your actual construction estimating software bid and "massage" the costs, materials, labor etc. to provide an acceptable solution to the project problems to the satisfaction of your customer and yourself.
About the Author:
Phillip P Gilliam is the President and CEO of Discover Software Inc.Phil 58, currently lives in Florida with his wife and youngest daughter, is a native of Ohio. He went to Wright State University and has over 37 years experience in marketing, construction estimating software development, business management, and finance. www.easyestimating.com
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