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Laying the Foundation for Profitable Projects and Eliminating Waste: Job Information

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Business Advice

Landscape Job Packages and a Bulletproof Process

One of the most important requirements for running profitable projects is creating landscape project packages that are accurate and thorough.   Job packages take information OUT of the heads of owners, estimators and project managers and INTO the hands of your field personnel – who can execute with better accuracy and efficiency. A good job package needs to include: 

  • A map to the jobsite
  • Photographs of the work area
  • A scale drawing (up-to-date version)
  • “Call before you dig” information
  • Contact information
  • A list of the chosen vendors for the project
  • An ESTIMATE that outlines the following:
    • Project management hours
    • Crew labour hours for the project as a whole
    • Crew labour hours for the project by individual work areas
    • What equipment the estimator had planned
    • Materials, quantities, and color/size specifications
    • Subcontractor roles and responsibilities (if applicable)
  • Emergency contact numbers, map to the nearest hospital

 Goals also need to be set for the crews with specifics on: 

  • Where to buy products
  • When to order products
  • Who on the crew does what & when
  • The order in which the project needs to be completed. This often depends on the following factors:
    • The weather
    • The client’s instructions
    • What makes sense?

All this needs to be sorted out before the project starts in order to avoid delays and WAITING (one of the 9 main types of waste). 

In order to reduce costs and eliminate the need for middle management personnel (increased overhead costs), having information readily available to everyone without the need for extensive communication is one of the keys to success. Your people need quick and easy access to internal and external sources of information to do their jobs safely, efficiently, and in line with the customer’s expectations.   

The old expression “everyone is replaceable” only holds true if your process supports it.  For example, if the owner is the only one who knows what is needed and where to get it, then your crews will be depend on the owner for every material related decision and task.  Because they lack information, people are more likely to assume that “it’s someone else’s job” or that “I thought so-and-so was doing that.  Nobody told me anything about it.” If your company depends on people, rather than systems and information, then consider: 

  • What happens when that person is sick?
  • What happens when the company grows beyond the owner or estimator’s capacity to readily manage all the materials? 
  • What happens if he or she quits?
  • Could you be using your time more effectively (selling, analyzing improving) if you could offload tasks by passing more and better information?

Your process needs to have answers for such questions. WAITING for answers after all, is waste. For example, having your crews handle change orders on the fly correctly and accurately can help to increase revenue, speed up the pricing process, and ensure production does not stop on the job site.

Tolerance specifications are also critical.  If you want ¼” joints and your crews produce 1/8” joints, the result will be OVERPRODUCTION (another of the 9 types of waste). If your base is to be 8” and it gets dug to 12”, you’re spending more on labor, equipment, materials, and excavated fill – all of which will likely exceed the estimated amounts.

The Estimate:  Not just for the Customer

A good estimate, broken down by labor, equipment, material and subcontracting components will not only help you price your jobs more profitably, it will ensure that the requirements for the job are clearly communicated to everyone. Your customer, the estimator, and the crews can all get on the same page, which will help eliminate a whole lot of screw ups and mis-understandings.

 So what’s the bottom Line?  It’s simple…  

A complete  job information package +  good process = more profit for your company + greater opportunities for everyone.

Landscape Management Network members have access to online estimating software tools that make estimating quick and easy. Estimate pricing is linked back to a budget, to help ensure instant and accurate overhead recovery and profit calculations. An estimate catalog stores all your custom lists of labor, equipment, materials and subcontractors, to help you produce detailed estimates that price work for profit and give your people the information they need to improve their productivity and eliminate waste. www.landscapemanagementnetwork.com.

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