All contractors have experienced bumps in the road — from surprises to delays to the wrong interpretation of plans. These can add up to a lot of headaches and put a dent in your profit margin. Once a bid is won, why not avoid costly mistakes and errors by taking a more proactive approach? You can then build on this process and apply lessons learned. Let’s review how you can use best practices to keep clients happy — from start to finish.
Kick Off the Job With a Transition Meeting
Once you’ve won the bid, hold a pre-construction meeting with your internal staff. This is an opportunity to gather all estimators, sales team, accounting, crew leader, operations, owner and the admin who supports paperwork and document control. The estimator can walk everyone through the job to ensure the needs, expectations and roles and responsibilities of each person are understood.
When the estimator hands off the job to the field, this is a great chance for them to explain any specific sequences of work or methods that don’t show up on the plans. For example, the estimator could detail why the concrete work must be done in a certain order. During this meeting, the estimator can report anything that was promised during the bid. In fact, the estimator may find a handful of things wrong with the drawings that will likely generate change orders. This internal, hand-off meeting is a good time to get everyone on the same page.
Communicate Early and Often
By reviewing the whole project in the pre-construction meeting, the business can understand all the steps to completion. The estimator knows the plans intimately and can explain all the ins-and-outs of the project. They can also expand on how the business can make more money out of the job and where they can speed up the work.
Remember that cloud-based software applications can play a crucial role in improving communications. By leveraging cloud tools, crew members are no longer tied to one server back at the office. This allows multiple people to review drawings and mark down issues simultaneously.
As the work begins, crew leaders should schedule 10-minute morning and afternoon huddles. The crew leader can list out several tasks to complete by 3 p.m. on one whiteboard. On another whiteboard, he can list questions. Have the team leader snap a picture of the whiteboards and email them to the office. When it comes to weekly reports, the team lead should list three or four highlights and “lowlights.”
Post-Project Strategies for Success
If your firm has done a good job throughout, you can boost your reputation with a great follow-through strategy. It is most important to wrap up a project by getting input from the client on lessons learned. This allows a business to document how well expectations were met and whether there were issues, such as failing to line up a delivery on schedule. The field foreman should have a front row seat to this discussion. Your business should also:
- Capture before, during and after photos to illustrate the good and the bad
- Review with crew members, the estimator, project manager and administrators all pertinent aspects of the project, change orders and bid to final costs
- Use digital pictures and notes from your team lead to generate a top 10 strength’s story and also identify your top 10 weaknesses
This last step is essential as you could be making the same errors on a current job that is under way. Applying lessons learned will only strengthen your process for future bids and projects. Another great way to build on your success is by using construction management software. By providing a digital historical record of jobs, you can jump start your next bid. On Center Software offers two of the most trusted solutions on the market, On-Screen Takeoff and Quick Bid, for just this purpose.
Take the next step. Learn why investing in training is a great way to build your team’s ability to bid and win more work. Read On Center Software’s white paper, The Winning Formula: Technology Solutions & Employee Training.