What is a Construction Scope of Work and Why Do You Need One?

Because It’s Critical to Clear Communication, Whether You’re the Contractor or the Customer.

Last week Gene explained to John what project information needed to be gathered…

  • Project info (customer name, mailing address, project address if different than mailing, phone number, email address, project overview, budget, project deadline, any other relevant information that you need)
  • Measurements and dimensions, existing and new
  • Building materials, existing and new
  • Pictures of pertinent areas and existing construction
  • Customer’s design ideas and finishes

Overlooking or forgetting something is a sure way to lose money when doing a construction project.

This week they’re going to take the information gathered and turn it in to a scope of work. This will be the foundational form of communication between everyone involved in the process, i.e., customer, contractor, sub-contractors, employees, etc.

As they get started this week’s meeting Gene asks John if he had an opportunity to use the Bid Sheet this past week and if so, how it worked.

“Yes.” said John. “It was a little awkward in the beginning. By the time I was finished gathering the project information I was glad I had it, because there were a couple of things that it reminded me to do.”

Gene replied, “That’s great. Do you have any questions?” Not yet.” said John. Gene smiled, “You will before we’re done.”

Okay. Did you bring it with you? Asked Gene. “I did.” said John, “I’ve got it on my laptop.” Gene told him to open it up and follow along. “Today we’re going to work on the most important part of communication between contractor and customer.

The Scope of Work

What is a Scope of Work?

A Scope of Work clearly defines and explains the work to be done. It should describe what is included in each specific task in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand. A scope of work describes the work to be done on a project, who is responsible for completing the work, how the work must be performed (techniques used), and what materials will be used. It helps in the smooth operation of a project, minimizing situations leading to disputes. It is the first step to building a mutually beneficial relationship between a contractor and customer.

Communication with the customer needs be simple and direct while explaining clearly and thoroughly.

After having gathered the information needed for the project using the Bid Sheet, write out in a few sentences, or less, of what each specific task is going to consist of. Explaining what you’re going to do in a way that a person with little or no construction knowledge can understand. Include as much detail and specifics as is needed to be clear on what is or is not included as a part of the project.

Once this process has been finished for each task included in the project, you have a Scope of Work ready to be transferred to a blank Proposal template.

Here’s an example of a Scope of Work using the information from the Bid Sheet we worked on last week.”

As they’re wrapping up this week’s training Gene tells John. “Next week we’ll get into the pricing of a project.”

The real value of this Proposal System is in the pricing.

Previous posts in this series –

What is “business clarity” and how do you find it?

Learning How to Get a Construction Project Started Out Right

It’s Time for the First Meeting

Being Aware of the Common Bid Mistakes is the Best Way to Avoid Them

Constructing a Building is Better with a Plan, a Proposal is No Different

A Good Construction Proposal Starts by Asking the Right Questions

Constructing a Building is Better with a Plan, a Proposal is No Different

We’ve Discussed the Why, Now Let’s Work on the How

It’s Saturday and today will be John’s third meeting with Gene. Even though there’s been no change in John’s overwhelming workload, today is the first time he’s not considered canceling. He knows the value of this information and is looking forward to opportunity to learn more.

It’s John’s turn to provide lunch and Gene’s in for a treat…John’s bringing chili-cheeseburgers and fries from the Burger Station. On the way to Gene’s office, the smell of those burgers is more than John can bear and he has a few fries on the drive.

As soon as John steps in the office door, Gene yells out from the conference room, “You brought Burger Station”. Over the years when John was working for Gene, the two of them frequented this fine establishment often.

As John gets lunch out, Gene says, “We have a lot to cover today, so we better get started. As we go through this today, consider the similarities of building a proposal with building a construction project. Now let’s review…

First, we started with WHY.

Why do you do what you do? Why do should you do proposals? Both of the questions are similar to the question that should be asked of a customer when they’re considering a construction project. Why do you want to do this project?

Second, we discussed that communication is the contractor’s responsibility.

We are the professionals in the arrangement. We shouldn’t expect the customer to know everything about construction. This is why they are looking to hire someone to do their project. It’s up to us as contractors to communicate clearly.

Third, we discussed bid mistakes.  

The ones that are commonly made and are costly. Being aware of these mistakes helps you know what to avoid and increases the opportunity for happy customers. Not to mention it gives you a big advantage over your competition.  

In our meeting two weeks ago (link to 1st meeting post) I gave you the bid proposal overview to take and review. Today we’re going to go through it. I know it seems like were still not doing proposals. Think about it like a construction project…

The designing and planning take as long as the construction.

Let’s start by looking at the documents included in the system and a brief definition of each.”

Bid sheet – A Word document with the various construction categories and individual tasks listed with space for filling in the scope of the work to be done, dimensions, materials, locations, etc., for each category as needed for clear communication.

Worksheet – An Excel spreadsheet with all the construction categories and individual tasks listed with overhead and profit markup formulas.

Proposal – A word document with space to fill in pertinent information, i.e. customer’s information, what will or will not be supplied by the contractor, the scope of work, the proposed price for each specific element, a total project price, payment arrangements and project duration.

Data Base – An Excel spreadsheet with prices for material and labor for a wide variety of specific construction tasks. This information will be used to fill out a blank worksheet template by copying and pasting.

After reviewing and discussing these documents and definitions they looked at the the process of doing a proposal.

STEP 1 – Gathering Information

Gathering the right information correctly and effectively is critical to preparing an accurate and thorough proposal. Once you’ve been contacted by a potential customer start by scheduling a meeting to discuss their project and find out what they hope to accomplish. At this initial meeting gather –

            Measurements and dimensions, existing and new

            Building materials, existing and new

            Pictures of pertinent areas and existing construction

            Customer’s design ideas and finishes

The information gathered at this meeting can be recorded in whatever way works best for you. The important thing in this step is to gather any and all information needed to prepare an accurate proposal. It can be handwritten on a printed out Bid Sheet template, or it can be entered directly to a Bid Sheet using a tablet, smart phone or laptop. Using the Bid Sheet minimizes overlooking things because the different areas of a construction project are already listed.

STEP 2 – Preparing the Scope of Work

After the preliminary information has been gathered it’s time to clarify the scope of the project by writing out the description of each specific task in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand. It needs to include enough specifics to be thorough without being too technical. It doesn’t help communication if the terminology is confusing to the customer. This written description on the Bid Sheet will be transferred to the Proposal and serve as a written scope of work to be performed and materials to be provided.

STEP 3 – Pricing the Project

Next is putting prices to the project. This process involves two different Excel spreadsheets, the Worksheet and Data Base. Based on the descriptions written on the Bid Sheet, content from the Data Base will be copied and pasted into the correlating cells on the Worksheet. After the pertinent information from the Data Base has been placed on the Worksheet it’s time to fill in the quantities.

STEP 4 – Quantities

On the Worksheet you will fill in the quantity needed to do the work on that line item. This may be lineal feet, square feet, square yards, cubic feet, cubic yards, numbers of pieces, etc. Once this is completed you will now have prices for each of the different tasks listed on the Proposal.

STEP 5 – Preparing the Proposal

Now you have everything you need to complete the Proposal. You will take the descriptions from the Bid Sheet and the prices from the Worksheet and put them both on the Proposal. After filling out the customer’s information at the top of the page, the scope of work, the price for each task, the total project price, how payments are to be made and the duration of time to do the project, the Proposal is ready to present to the customer.

As they wrapped up the meeting, Gene looked at John and asked him what he thought so far. John said, “I had no idea there was this much to doing proposals.

Gene said, “I know. That’s why most contractors either guess at their bids or just give estimates…and we’ve all seen how that well that works out.

Next week we’ll dig deeper into GATHERING INFORMATION.

Previous posts in this series –

What is “business clarity” and how do you find it?

Learning How to Get a Construction Project Started Out Right

It’s Time for the First Meeting

Being Aware of the Common Bid Mistakes is the Best Way to Avoid Them

Communication Has to Be Received Before It’s Complete

Miscommunication Is a Huge Problem in the World Today

In Pastor Lee’s message Sunday, he told a story about a text message that was sent to him months ago. He didn’t see it until just recently and of course responded to it immediately. He made the point that…

Communication doesn’t happen when messages are sent, only when they’re received and acted upon.

Poor communication is one of the biggest issues we face. I know in the construction industry this is without a doubt the biggest problem between contractor and customer. Of course, it isn’t restricted to construction…just look around.

Improving on communication is important enough to me, that’s one of my ‘core values’. That’s why I work to remember that I have two ears and one mouth. I’ve previously written about the importance of good communication and the high cost to no communication.

We need to work harder to be better communicators.

Communication can be done through word or action. Isn’t it interesting that both the Bible and Jesus are both referred to as the “Word of God”? In John 1:1 we’re told that the Word was there in the beginning, it was with God and it was God.

God sent us a message, but it won’t be complete if we don’t receive and act on it.

How to Price a Construction Project So That it’s a Win-Win

It Will Require a Change of Mind

When pricing a construction project, the terms most commonly used are – estimate, time and material, cost plus. These processes can work when pricing a construction project but are vague about what the final price is going to be. They are more contractor focused.

An estimate is just that…an estimate. It is an approximate calculation of the value for time needed and material to be used. I don’t think you would by a truck based on an estimate. You would want to know what you were paying and what you were getting.

Time and material, is what it says. It is a price based on the time spent and the material used with a markup added. This process also leaves the final price to be paid by the customer as an unknown until the end.

Cost plus is similar to time and material in that it is a percentage added to the actual cost for the contractor for doing the work.

As common as these ways of pricing construction projects are, too often they leave the customer feeling cheated. They thought they were getting their project done for ‘this price’ and it ended up costing more.

It’s a problem when the final price ends up being more than the customer expected.

I don’t think construction contractors intentionally go out and get projects at a low price and then do more work using more expensive materials with their end goal to be a jacked-up price. Quite often customers add things through out the process, unaware of the affect these changes are having to the price of the project.

There is a better way of giving customers a price for their project than guesstimating, but it’s going to require a paradigm shift.

A paradigm is a pattern, a model, a representation of the mental image you have in your mind. I first became aware of the term “paradigm shift” through a story in Steven Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

“I was on a subway in a very large metropolitan city. It was Sunday morning, quiet, sedate. When a bunch of young kids came running into the subway car and their father followed. He sat near me and the kids went crazy on that subway, running up and down, turning people’s papers aside, just raucous and rude. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t believe this, their father does nothing!’

After a few minutes…, ‘Sir, do you think you could control your children a little? They are very upsetting to people.’

‘Oh yeah.’ He lifted his head as if to come to an awareness of what was happening. ‘Yeah, I don’t know. I just guess I should. We just left the hospital. Their mother died just about an hour ago and I guess they don’t know how to take it and frankly I don’t either.’”

Can you say paradigm shift?

What if you had a way to give your customers a clear description of the work you were going to do and an accurate price for doing that work while still making a profit? This would be a win for them and a win for you. It might require a change in your way of thinking. It might take a paradigm shift of your own.

There is such a system. It’s called a proposal. A proposal will give your customers an understanding of what their project includes, how it’s going to be done and what it’s going to cost. It gives them the peace of mind they deserve. They are the ones writing the check after all.

A proposal done right is your secret weapon.

Providing proposals to your customers will separate you from the competition. It will increase the number of profitable projects and happy customers.

You might wonder what it takes to do a proposal. You can learn more about proposals in these previous posts.

            The Bulk of the Communication Responsibility Lies on the Contractor

            How to Build a Better Proposal

            An Overview of the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal

            How to Make Sure You Don’t Overlook Something

            How to Prepare A Construction Scope of Work

            How to Price a Construction Project Proposal

            How to Put the Pieces of the Construction Proposal Together

            The Conclusion of the Construction Proposal is the Contract

Get your own Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal.

Opening the Toolbox & Looking at OneNote

Organizational Tools Are as Important as Any Other…Maybe More

Last week I told you that we would open up my organizational toolbox and take a look inside. So, OneNote is the first tool that we’ll look at.

Being a self-employed small business owner is a difficult undertaking at best. This difficulty increases exponentially when organization and communication are operating poorly or not at all. This problem only increases when you’re successful and there are more things to organize and more people to communicate with.

During my thirty-five plus years of continually working to achieve and maintain some level of control I have used a whole lot of different tools. Some were old school some high tech.

The best tool I have found for organizing and communicating is Microsoft OneNote.

This tool is great for organizing and communicating. It does so much, so well, that I don’t need a bunch of different apps to do different things. To often these various apps don’t sync well across different systems and devices.

I would equate OneNote to a three-ring binder on steroids.

Maybe we should call OneNote the ‘Six Million Dollar’ binder. I have used binders for my organizing for years and still do, to a small degree.

A good comparison of OneNote to a binder is the way I used to have project binders on site at construction projects. This was a place where things would be kept so that employees, sub-contractors, project management, architects and the customer could all have access to the specifics of the project.

OneNote is organized very similar to a binder. You can have different ‘notebooks’ and each book can be divided into multiple ‘sections’ and each section can have bunches of ‘pages’ and subpages.

Just like “The Six Million Dollar Man” this computerized version of a ‘notebook’ has superhuman bionic computerized capabilities.

Here are a few of them –

  • Share with other people across multiple devises. This can be as simple as sharing a shopping list with your spouse or as detailed as an entire notebook with colleagues on a big project.
  • Syncs automatically across multiple devises. If someone adds to the shopping list or checks something off, you will know it in a matter of seconds as long as you are connected to the internet. If not, it will sync as soon as you are.
  • When changes are made, they are highlighted until read. If one of my virtual assistants makes a change, I will be able to know that, go to the specific change and know who did it and when it was done.
  • Insert almost anything on to a page. You can insert copies of other documents, screen clippings, photos, audio and video recordings, links to other pages and/or web locations, etc. This is just part of what I’m currently using or is available with OneNote.
  • Link from and to multiple locations. I can put a link for a specific OneNote page in a task reminder or calendar event or on a word document. Click on it and it will open up that page, even if OneNote isn’t open yet.
  • Editing is really easy. Things on a OneNote page can be clicked on and moved to a different place on the page. This feature is great for prioritizing a list. If I want to move something higher on the list, I just move it there, no cutting or copying or pasting (although you can do those things as well).
  • It’s always ready to open up and use. It doesn’t require the opening up of a program and folder a file before you can write something down. Click on the OneNote icon in the task bar and it’s open. A couple more clicks and you can write down your note before you forget it.
  • Great place for filing and storing. If I want to save an email from a customer with a picture and a link to a web site, I can do that right from Outlook.
  • Can protect sensitive info within a shared note book. If I have a page that has ideas for my wife’s Christmas or passwords to my bank account, I can password protect those pages. This means that if my wife accidently goes to her Christmas page when she meant to go to the shopping list, she can’t open it without the password…which she doesn’t have.
  • Can draw or write on it just like paper. This feature is great for getting down quick information with my tablet or phone. I can draw the floor plan for a room addition and write dimensions and notes right on it.

This tool can do all this and much more. Some people will probably say that it has too many bells and whistles or it’s complicated. I’m sure this isn’t the best tool for everybody and that’s okay. Not every person uses the same cordless drill.

This tool is simple to use and it makes it easy for me to stay organized.

Next week we’ll get out another tool that work’s in conjunction with this one.

This post was originally published January 21, 2017

How Important Are the Words We Use to the Clarity of Our Message?

I Would Really Like an Answer to This Question!

I’ve written about the importance of providing clear communication with customers through construction proposals in previous posts. Here are a few of them:

            The Bulk of the Communication Responsibility Lies on the Contractor

            How to Build a Better Proposal

            An Overview of the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal

            How to Make Sure You Don’t Overlook Something

            How to Prepare a Scope of Work for a Construction Project

            How to Price a Construction Project Proposal

            How to Put the Pieces of the Construction Proposal Together

We’re currently working on a free downloadable document to help construction contractors avoid common mistakes made when giving customers a price for doing a construction project. I’ve employed the help of some professional digital markers to help me with this. The question that I have has to do with the words used.

I have a first draft written by one of them based on some of my previous writing. At first read I loved it. Then I began to wonder if it was too much for contractors. Will they understand it? As we have continued to work through the digital marketing process it was discussed with others. In every instance there were suggested changes.

Now I’m more confused than ever.

I know that I tend to make things more difficult than they need to be so…I thought I would put a couple of side by side excerpts from the draft and some of the suggestions and let you tell me which you think is clearer and more understandable from a contractor’s perspective…or if I’m once again making this too complicated.


Excerpt 1A:

The 7 Mistakes Contractors Make That Cost Them a Fortune — and How to Avoid Them.

While a lot of construction businesses are really great at providing good services, they get hamstrung by the business side of things.

If you’re like most small to medium sized construction companies, you learned a specific craft that you like doing – and at some point, you decided to start your own business.

If you’re like me, you probably got into this because you’re good at building things…not because you felt like you needed to be an expert in business. In fact, I believe as a contractor you shouldn’t need to get a masters in business to do good work – or have a thriving business that you love.


Excerpt 1B:

The 7 Mistakes Most Contractors Make When Doing Construction Proposals — and How to Avoid Them.

While a lot of construction companies are great at “constructing”, they’re overwhelmed by the business side of things.

If you’re like most small to medium sized construction companies, you learned a construction trade that you like doing – and at some point, decided to start your own business.

If you’re like me, you probably got into this because you like building things…not necessarily to run a business. In fact, I believe as a contractor you shouldn’t need a master’s degree in business to be successful.

Excerpt 2A:

#1: Your customers lack clarity

Confusion is your number one enemy. Crystal clear communication with your customers is critical to your success. And that might sound like a no brainer, or that it’s easier said than done…but this is the biggest failing point in most construction businesses.


Excerpt 2B:

#1: Your customers lack clarity

Confusion is your number one enemy. Crystal clear communication with your customers is critical to your success. That might sound like a no brainer…but this is the point at which most construction businesses fail.

I realize that not all of you who will read this are contractors. That’s okay, I would still appreciate your input in the comments below. If you know some contractors, please forward this to them so that they can give me their perspective.

Any and all feedback will be helpful!

Thanks!

Negative Communication Can Be the Most Positive

Saying No Is Hard, But Often the Best Answer

Just Say NO was an anti-drug advertising campaign from the 1980s. This campaign was aimed at discouraging children from engaging in illegal drug use by offering various ways to say no. Saying no is hard to do in all sorts of situations not just drugs.

We need to initiate a “Just Say NO” campaign for other things to.

“No” is one of the first words we learn. Two-year-olds are famous for saying “no”. They use this word more than any other. It’s an easy word to say and at two, they’ve heard it as much or more than most. These toddlers are on to something; it’s okay to say NO!

As we mature, we are looking for acceptance and inclusion. One of the ways to avoid being left out is to say yes to everything. I think this is where the problem with saying “no” starts.

Not only is “no” one of the first words we learn, it’s also one of the first words we forget.

As adults we continue to want to be accepted and continue saying yes. This week one of the things on my mastermind accountability list is: Say no to at least one thing that I would normally say yes to. As I thought more about this, I realized I had written about this several times. Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote late in 2019 discussing this topic of saying “no”.


We can’t DO everything.

Our natural desire to help others is a big driving force behind too many yes’s. There are so many people with so many needs. A servant’s heart leads us to over promise. This can be controlled, but it requires intentional actions. Especially in business, we don’t want to say no to any potential opportunity. Too many yes’s is not a good way to treat customers. Trying to be everything to everybody isn’t a good business plan.

The big question is how do I know what to say yes to?

This is definitely a big question and one that’s hard to answer. As we begin to approach the end of 2019, I’m beginning to think about 2020 and all the things I want to do. As I think through the list it becomes clear that clarity is needed.

Focusing on the right yes’s is going to be my goal for 2020. After all, 2020 is perfect vision. It isn’t going to be easy, but it can be done. It will require a clear plan of what the highest priorities are and removing things from the list that don’t qualify.


Here we are, half way through the year and I don’t feel that I’ve done a very good job of being clear on my yes’s and saying no. I can’t change the past only the future. The process of growing and improving is a never ending one and we will never be perfect at it this side of heaven.

I can either quit trying or keep working at getting better.

A few weeks ago, in one of our mastermind meetings Ray Edwards said something that I’ve heard several times before but sums this up well.

“You can do ANYTHING you want; you just can’t do EVERYTHING you want.”

What am I going to say “NO” to this week?

What are you going to say “NO” to this week?

Share your “NOs” in the comments below.

What is it About Proposals That Construction Companies Don’t Like?

That’s Okay…I Think They Want to Know Too

Last week I wrote about making construction proposals better. I shared some of the problems caused when communication with customers isn’t clear. As a business owner you are the professional and it’s your responsibility to provide clear communication.

A professional is one who is engaged in or suitable for a specific profession; is engaged in a given activity as a source of livelihood or career; having or showing great skill, an expert.

If you’re in the business of construction and aren’t providing your customers with a clear description of the work you are going to do, including an accurate and set price, then you are operating as an amateur. Someone who engages in an occupation on an unpaid basis; someone who is incompetent or inept at a particular activity.

A professional takes their occupation more seriously than an amateur.


If a construction company strives to be professional, why would they not provide their customers with a thorough and accurate proposal? I think there are four main reasons for this.

Don’t have enough time – It takes more time to prepare a detailed written proposal than scratching out a few numbers quickly. People in the construction industry are already so busy they struggle to keep up. Having limited time to get the physical work done, it’s hard to spend any preparing proposals. The problem is, without an accurate proposal that communicates clearly, the chances of losing money increases.

Spending the time in the beginning will pay dividends in the end.

Don’t like doing paperwork – I started doing construction because I loved to build, to see something that I built with my own hands. This is how most people in construction feel. They learned the trade and like it. The problem is that no one ever taught them business operations. Doing paperwork doesn’t feel like construction. They don’t get the same rewarding feeling as they do from building something.

Without accurate paperwork building becomes a hobby.

No one ever taught me – It’s hard to know how to do something if you’ve never been shown how. When you learned your trade, you didn’t start out knowing how. You learned it over time with someone showing you or through trial and error. Either way the learning process took time. The important thing to remember is, the more tips and tricks you were shown the quicker you learned. Aren’t you glad that someone taught you the trade?

It’s never to late to learn something new.

This is the way we’ve always done it – The older we get, the less we like change and contractors are among the worst. You’ve figured out something that works, or at least seems to, why change. Just because what you’re currently doing seems to work…it doesn’t mean that there isn’t something better. If you hadn’t gone through the process of falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up, you would still be crawling.

Aren’t you glad you tried something different?

What if I told you –  

  • The time you spend doing proposals will provide you peace of mind and more consistent revenue.
  • You don’t have to do paperwork if you hate it.
  • I can teach you how to do proposals just like you learned your trade.
  • Change is the only way you will stop crawling.

Doing proposals before you’re ready feels like trying to run a marathon when all you know is how to crawl.

Communicating clearly through proposals is the act of a professional. If you want to learn how to do professional proposals, check out our Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal.

If you have other reasons that you or someone you know doesn’t do proposals, let us know in the comments below.

How to Make a Construction Proposal Better

The First Thing is to Figure Out What You’re Doing Wrong

As a building contractor that has been involved in construction for over forty years a common topic of conversation, as you might have guessed is…construction. When talking with people who had construction projects done (not my customers) one of the more common remarks is “That was the worst experience of my life.” This is not the way a construction experience should be.

The experience of building a dream project should be one of the best!

When digging into their feelings deeper the problems almost always came down to these issues.

  • Misunderstandings due to poor or no communication
  • Blindsided by cost overruns or hidden costs
  • The completed project wasn’t what they wanted or expected
  • Didn’t understand construction terminology
  • Poor quality workmanship and materials
  • Cluttered and unorganized job site
  • Left hanging part way through an unfinished project
  • Lack of scheduling or poor time management

As a construction professional you should read these posts to give you the customer’s perspective:

            How to Prevent Your Construction Projects from Falling Apart

            There’s a High Cost to No Communication

            What Should be Included in a Contractor’s Communication

            Lack of Quality, Honesty and Integrity

As building contractors we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent these situations from happening.

As a contractor you might say, “But customers are so hard to deal with. They expect so much and want it done cheap. They’re so demanding.” My response to you is, “Then why are you in this business?” You’re the professional. You choose this.

If you don’t love what you’re doing, then you haven’t found your vocation.

This is not to say that there won’t be difficulties in construction sometimes, but my experiences have been completely different. It comes down to a few simple things that when done well make the experience pleasurable for both the customer and the contractor.

The majority of the problems between construction companies and customers come down to poor communication. These issues can be minimized with thorough and accurate proposals. When I started in business, I had no idea how to do proposals, so I did like most…I guessed.

Doing accurate proposals that communicate clearly, doesn’t have to be a roll of the dice.

So, if you’re pricing construction projects like I did when I began. Maybe you could use some help and I would love to help you with this. So that I can know where you could use help the most, I need answers to some questions.

As a building contractor –

  • Have you ever had issues with customer’s, if so what were they?
  • Did these issues involve poor communication?
  • Do you currently do proposals, estimates, time and material or just guess?
  • What is your biggest issue when pricing construction projects?
  • How do you determine the cost of labor and material?
  • How do you determine overhead and profit?
  • How do you communicate the work to be done with sub-contractors and/or employees?
  • What would make your process better?

Here’s a link to these questions if you would go there and answer these questions it will be helpful to us so that we can help you. Or you can answer them in the comments below.

Let us help you to communicate clearer, be more profitable and reduce your stress with a Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal.

Can Communicating Too Much, Be Too Much?

For those of you who know me or know somebody that knows me. You know that I talk a little…okay…maybe I talk a lot.

When I was in grade school my Mom went to a parent/teacher conference. The teacher asked my Mom if I was forced to be quiet at home. My mother said no and asked why. The teacher replied that she thought maybe I wasn’t allowed to talk at home and that was why I talked so much at school. Mom responded, “He talks all the time at home too.” I’ve realized over the years that this is a part of who I am. This doesn’t mean that I’m not continually working to rein in my talking. I also realize it’s part of how God made me and there are benefits as well.

Being able to communicate well is key to good relationships.

Communication is not just what we say, write, draw or even an expression or gesture we use. Communication is also what we hear or see. Hearing is a critical part of good communication. Quite often we forget that we need to listen to what our customers want or to hear the different idea that a team member has. We need to remember communication is a two-way process. I think this is why God gave us two ears, two eyes and only one mouth. He knew that the receiving part was twice as hard as the giving part. If we don’t communicate well, we can’t expect to have beneficial and productive relationships.

We all perceive things differently.

When figuring the price of a new home it can be difficult to know some specifics until after construction has started, i.e. the distance from electric meter to the house. These unknowns can be covered by allowances. Several years ago, while in the early stages of building a new home, we had included a 50’ allowance for running the electrical entrance from the pole to the house. As we were staking out for the house location on the property the customer pointed out that it was going to be 150’ from the electric pole to the house. He asked if that WAS GOING TO BE A PROBLEM. My partner responded. NO, IT WOULDN’T TO BE A PROBLEM. The construction continued and everything was fine…until the final billing. When we gave the customer the final bill with the additional cost for the extra 100’ he was angry. As we worked through this, it was clear what had happened. When the customer asked the question, what he really asked was, IS IT GOING TO COST MORE? When my partner responded what he was really saying was, PHYSICALLY IT CAN BE DONE. Being clear when we communicate is hard, but important.

If we say something once, then saying it 10 times is better.

Saying things enough without saying them too many times is a difficult balance. It’s better to over communicate rather than not communicate enough. This takes longer but can minimize if not eliminate misunderstandings later. This is the main reason that I have developed the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system that I use. It comes from years of attending the school of hard knocks. This system will give contractors and customers clarity about what the project includes

If there is going to be a misunderstanding, I don’t want it to be because of something that I didn’t communicate.