What are the two goals of every single homebuilding project? Finishing on time and under budget.
Your ability to do those 2 things will define your profit margin more than any other factor. These tips were gathered from industry-leading homebuilders to help tighten up your operation and widen your profit margin.
1. Get Organized
If your data is all over the place (email, excel, notebook, the back of a napkin, your brain) just think of how much of your time is spent communicating that information to your team and your client. Builders like you got fed up with the hassle of wrangling and sharing data years ago and developed a homebuilding app to solve the problem. Your team can check in at any time without needing to be sent another file or given access to a folder on a shared network.
Aside from the convenience of storing all of your data in one place, the real magic happens when all of that data is connected. When you input a change order, for instance, the system will roll over all of the variables for you: your budget forecast will take the new change into account, notifications will be sent out to everyone affected, and you can go on with your day. No more dropping simple little details, forgetting to carry the one, or realizing that you forgot to communicate an important detail to your guy.
2. Document Absolutely Everything
“I know I’ll remember this, no need to write it down.” That’s where trouble starts. Don’t make the mistake of mentally logging anything. At any given moment, you should be ready to record new information immediately. If you’re keeping track of details for your job in anything that you can’t keep within arm’s length at any given time (so, basically, if it’s not your phone or tablet) you’re likely to see the competition pull ahead in this digital age.
3. Be Smart About Delegation & Follow Up
As they say “the devil is in the details.” You need to be confident that those details are being taken care of when you delegate. By getting your projects and team into a project management system, you can cut out the time and mental energy you would otherwise spend on delegation and follow up. Task lists can be synchronized with the project schedule and developed into templates, creating a recipe that can be reproduced next time you have the same need. Once the task is assigned, you can just glance down at your phone to check progress, no need to check in with a phone call or email. You can even automate reminders to keep the task front-of-mind until it’s completed.
4. Have A System For Change Orders
Nobody likes a change order, but they’re inevitable. They don’t have to be a headache, though. Use your phone to document all the change order details, get a signature before the client walks away, and send automatic updates to your team and subcontractors regarding the change. If you have construction project management software, the messages will be sent automatically and the schedules and budgets will be connected to the change order itself so there is no room for miscommunication later on.
5. Give Your Client Autonomy
Payday shouldn’t be a negotiation. When the project is done, the 3 words you don’t want to hear your client say are “I didn’t know…” Whether it’s a change order that they can’t recall approving, or the amount over budget, these 3 words are a sure sign that things are about to get tricky. With a project management system, your client feels more like they are part of the team, and you’re no longer the bad guy. It takes away the us-versus-them and keeps everyone in the loop and on the same team from beginning to end. No nasty surprises. No costly negotiations. Everything is plain to see an there is no more gray area.
6. Use Templates For Reports
Whether for your own regular check ins, or for your client’s weekly report, save yourself the time and hassle of putting reports together. You shouldn’t have to jump from excel to your notebook to your email to a phone call just to gather up the data you knew you were going to need anyway. Industry leaders let their homebuilding software do the work for them with automated reporting features. Turn reports into a simple task: review, send and move on..
What's The Next Step
Look into adopting an organization and communication system that was designed by builders to handle the tasks real builders run into every day. The best way to do this is to schedule a demo, where you can get your questions answered one-on-one. This way you can determine if project management software is right for your company. Click here to schedule a demo time right now before moving on to your next task.
About the Author:
President, Stonewood, LLC - Custom Home Builder
As a 4th generation custom home builder with a software development background, Sven created BuildTools to help his company have a "connection point" for everyone in the building process.