How Does the “Job List” Help Us See the Future of Our Construction Company?

That’s a Question We’re Going to Continue Answering in This Week’s Solution

Previously we discussed the importance of building your business on a solid foundation and how it can prevent your business from falling down around you. We talked about the different parts of that foundation and their purpose.

Next, we talked about construction companies that are avoiding these foundational building blocks because they are out of their comfort zone. It’s amazing how people in the construction industry will use all sorts of power tools and equipment but are afraid of paperwork.

Then we began breaking down the “Job List”…one of those foundational building blocks. In that post we looked at how it can tell you…

  • Which types of work were consistently the most profitable
  • How you were doing at meeting your financial goals for the year
  • When you should have the signed projects finished to stay on track
  • How well you’re doing at getting proposals signed
  • What the average price of your projects are

We began with how the “Job List” can help with creating and recording project numbers, tracking project bid amounts and tracking dollars of signed proposals.

Now let’s continue looking at how the “Job List” can help us plan for the future.

When we look at the total project bid amount and the total signed amount we can see where we are in relation to our financial goals for the year. (See the previous post for more details on this).

Next is…

Tracking dollars collected from projects – This collected amount (column K) is exactly what it says it is. It is where we enter the amounts collected from each project weekly. This total gives us a comparison to our signed amount (column J) and let’s us see if our projects have increased or decreased after signing.

Percentage of jobs signed – This percentage, 60% (cell I-24) is the percentage of proposals that have been signed. This is cell B-22 (15) divided by cell C-22 (9). This information lets us know how we’re doing with our pricing. If the number is below 15%, we’re not selling well. If our number gets too high, above 50%, we may not be charging enough.

Percentage of dollars signed per dollars bid – Knowing this percentage helps us as we’re looking forward, to know how we’re doing in relation to reaching our financial goal for the year. Based on the percentage of 53% (cell J-26), knowing that if our goal for the year is $400,000.00, we need to have done twice that many dollars of proposals.

Percentage of dollars collected per signed – Just like tracking the amount of dollars collected is pretty straight forward, this percentage of 93% (cell K-28), is the same. This simply lets us know if we’ve collected everything that was bid. If not, there may be some outstanding receivables, or we may have made changes during production that reduced our receivables number. It’s also possible for this number to be more than 100% which means that there were changes made during production that increased our receivables.

There are still five more areas of information that the “Job List” provides but to keep this post from getting too long today, I’m going to stop here. I know that this feels like a lot but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as it seems.

Just like there’s a lot to constructing a building, the same is true for building a successful business.

The five remaining areas are –

  • Average dollar amount of projects bid
  • Average dollar amount of projects signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects collected
  • Projected timeframe for doing signed projects
  • Projected date work should be done

Of these next five areas I think the last two are the most revealing.

I’m looking forward to bringing this “Job List” topic to a close in the next post.

The Value of a Professional Builder

What’s It Worth to Hire A Professional?

I was talking with my wife, who’s a realtor, earlier this week. She was telling me about an individual that had been trying to sell their house themselves and not having any luck. Reluctantly they are now considering listing their house with a realtor.

Her question was why would someone not list their house with a professional? I have thought about this same thing regarding construction for years.

The ‘Do It Yourself’ philosophy has become an industry on its own. This is not to say that doing things yourself is all bad.

The question should be about value, not about dollars.

To hire or not, is the question. I’m pretty capable with a wide range of skills, but there are some things that are just better done by professionals. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to do my own surgery or fill my own cavity.

The number one reason that most people don’t hire a professional is the cost. When the purchase or project is in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars the professional fee is big. Is the money saved by not hiring the professional really a savings? The actual cost in dollars, time and heartache may be a lot more in the end.

The value of hiring a professional can go well beyond the dollars spent.



  • They have been through the pitfalls and can help you avoid them. It breaks my heart the number of times that I have been asked to come finish a project that someone started and then realized they were in over their head.


  • There is a process to everything and construction is no different. If you do things in the wrong order the eventual cost is often more than the professional fees. If the walls are sheetrocked before the electrical wiring is ran it isn’t going to turn out well.

  • Doing all the different things a good professional does takes a lot of time. If you plan to do them and do them well, you need to plan to spend the time. As is the case with most things, looking at something from the outside it looks easier and quicker than it really is. What is your time worth?

Once you’ve decided to hire a professional keep in mind that not all of them are created equal. You need to give some consideration to the hiring process and find the right builder for you. In some situations professional may not be the best term when describing some builders. The wrong builder can be as much of an issue as not having one at all. What is the cost of cheap? Good communication with fixed pricing are both crucial to a good professional experience.

The important thing is for you to give some thought to the question of hiring a professional before moving forward and then regretting it later. In Proverbs 19:2 it says, “Being excited about something is not enough. You must also know what you are doing. Don’t rush into something, or you might do it wrong.”, ERV.

What is the value of a skilled professional’s guidance?



Why It’s Critical to Save Money in Business and How to Do It

Setting Up a “Rainy Day Fund” for Your Business


Currently it is common for people to spend everything they earn and not save anything for future investments or emergencies. For the most part, as a society here in America we have become comfortable. We have forgotten how important it is to save money.

There have been times through out history when things weren’t good financially, i.e. the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Enough time has passed since then, that for most people it’s become a distant memory. If you have ever talked with someone who went through the depression or a similar experience, saving money was more than something that needed to be done, it often was the difference between life and death.

As reported in a Market Watch post* from December 2015, approximately 62% of Americans personally have less than $1000 saved and 21% don’t have any savings. Businesses aren’t doing any better and it’s every bit as important. Part of a good business financial plan includes saving money for those irregular and unexpected expenses.

Just like in our personal lives, in business we get busy with the process of daily living. We work hard at the normal operation of the business and we neglect to intentionally plan for those “rainy days”. Things like; equipment maintenance and repairs, building maintenance and repairs, quarterly and annual taxes, irregular payments, etc.

When I started doing construction work I learned the skill of building from some of the best craftsmen. When later I went into business for myself I thought I knew everything that I needed to be successful. The problem is that while they taught me how to build a solid, well built structure, they neglected to teach me how to build a business that way.

Early on in my business career one of those business building lessons learned the hard way, was the importance of saving money.

I was working hard to keep construction moving forward. The material figured, ordered, and suppliers paid. The subcontractors and employees organized, having what they needed and paid. Things were going well and there was even some money left over. So, naturally I spent it. Then it happened…the accountant showed me how good my year was by telling me how much I owed in taxes. How was I going to pay them? I didn’t have that kind of money. What was I going to do? I was going to have to make payments. Just so you know, tuition to Hard Knocks University is high.

That’s why over the last 35 years of learning lessons the hard way I designed and developed a system to help me avoid pitfalls. I needed to find a way to separate money that would be needed later. How was I going to do it? Several years ago, my wife and I found out about Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace Program**. It is a program that teaches you to, “Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else.” The very first lesson he teaches is “Super Saving”. It is a common-sense approach to saving money and the reasons it is important to do so. This was great for my personal finances but wasn’t an exact fit for my business.

So, using the basic principles of Dave’s plan for personal savings I began working on a way to do the same thing in my business. The “Savings Transfer Sheet” is the result and a small piece of the bigger Business Blueprint puzzle. The “Savings Transfer Sheet” is a simple spreadsheet that with a few basic entries will give you the dollar amount that needs to be separated from any received gross dollar amount. That separated money can then be put into a different account or turned into cash and put in a safe. This way that saved money won’t accidentally be spent on the wrong thing.

After talking with a lot of different business owners I realized that every business could use a solution like this. That’s why in the next few weeks we will be making available a free downloadable “Savings Transfer Sheet” including instructions.


Next week I will go into more detail about the “Savings Transfer Sheet” and how it can help you solve your business money problems.