Accurate job costing can make or break your business. Job bids that are too low mean you perform work at a loss, but job bids that are too high may result in losing the bid. But, when your projects involve construction or fieldwork that are challenging to track over the length of a project, it is almost impossible to get precise job costs to bid better next time. Paper and spreadsheet-based processes have you facing hours of data collection to compile reports at the end of a project. Even then, some costs may be lost or miscategorized leading you to under or overbid on the next job based on inaccurate data. Field services technology gives you visibility into your profit margins, job costs, and bid accuracy to help you make better bids.
Why are Your Job Bids Inaccurate?
A common problem is that your bid is accurate, but something happens during the project that affects your costs. For a crane company, that may be an internal issue caused by sending a bigger crane because the right size crane wasn’t available. For other construction or fieldwork, your employees may meet difficulties or obstacles to work. Now, the scope of work is larger than estimated. Another problem many businesses are experiencing is the cost of materials increasing exponentially. That means a year-long project is paying today’s higher cost of materials, while the bid was based on last year’s costs. What often happens with any of these issues is that field employees and your accounting team aren’t communicating or even using the same software to share data. So, the increased costs come as a surprise at the end of the project.
How to Improve Your Job Bids
Redlist’s field services software eliminates the inaccurate and time-consuming process required to analyze your job costing and cash flow data. The software streamlines your data collection and auto-populates reports so you can see real-time, accurate information. You can configure the reports to your needs, but the key operational reports include:
- Washout Percentage
- Financial Utilization
- Company Growth Over Time
- Planned vs. Actual Performance
- Available Hours of Service (HOS)
- CO2 Emissions Over Time
- P&L (Profit & Loss) Overview
- Opportunity Win/Loss Rate
- Overkill Report
All of these reports create visibility that you likely don’t have currently. Or, if you do, it requires a lot of work and may not be correct. Implementing software for your job bidding process also allows you to make additional improvements that are essential to better bids.
Improve Team and Data Communication
Having your field and office employees on the same platform enables you to fix the communication problem. All of your data is centralized in an easy-to-use app for everyone to access.
Track Your Progress
Tying into the better communication aspect is to track your projects. As your field employees record their time, add materials, or update work orders with new information or issues, you can see these updates in real-time. Regularly checking project progress ensures the increased costs or scope of work is not a surprise at the end of the project.
Integrate Project Cash Flow
When your service tickets and accounting software integrate, you can better track and manage project cash flow. Your estimates, billing, payroll, and accounts receivable can sync and auto-populate the cash flow reports. Current information can make a difference in staying cash positive through a project. Additionally, you can quickly approve service ticket line items, eliminate billing errors, and shorten your billing cycle.
Keep Project Schedules on Track
If you’re paying employees to be onsite, but the equipment they need isn’t available, then your project budget is headed off track. Redlist helps you forecast when your people, equipment, and other assets are available with a time-saving visual calendar. This enables you to efficiently schedule work and avoid project downtime.
Break Down Your Bid
Even with all of these improvements, it can be challenging to estimate the hours and cost of a massive project. So, break the project down into smaller pieces that you can more confidently quote. Look at your data and start building your job bid from the bottom up.
Refine Your Job Bids with Redlist
Whether you perform smaller service jobs or major months or years-long projects, an accurate job bid helps your company grow. Basing your estimates on real job costing data can make your bids more competitive and ultimately win you more work. Efficiently managing every step of the process from estimate and signed agreement all the way to the final invoice gives you better control of your finances. The efficiency and visibility that field services software provides will allow you and your team to make educated decisions throughout every project.