Do you worry about the amount of business you’re winning, chasing the work, constantly looking to convert enquiries to new jobs, slashing prices to prevent the competition from stealing the project from under your nose? Congratulations, you’re just like everyone else out there. But it might be worth considering whether a focus on volume over all else could actually be harming your business? The most successful businesses, no matter the field, aren’t the ones who take on anything and everything, they’re the ones that convert more of the ‘right’ kind of jobs, more of the time. So, what exactly is the ‘right’ kind of job?
To answer that question we’ll first need to define what the wrong kind of job is, because you’ll no doubt recognise that one straight away. The wrong kind of job is one that you rush into accepting because you’ve had a quiet month/quarter/year, it’s the job that you were nervous about losing so you ‘guessed’ (even best guessed) on the pricing in order to get your estimate in first, or it’s the job that you spec’d out on assumptions that later you realise was lacking as the project scope started to creep. We’ve all been there, working on a job where a healthy profit is something that was blown past the Tuesday before last and you’re just hoping that you’ll finish without any more surprises or you’ll likely be looking at something near to a loss for all your hard work.
If you track back in time on any such project, you may be able to pinpoint the moment when things could have gone very differently, and that moment is almost always likely to be the calculation of your spec and estimate – when rushing, miscalculation, guestimation or lack of consideration meant that you took on a lemon of a project which could well cost you money, time and stress instead of the profit you were hoping for.
The right kind of project, on the other hand, is one where pricing, schedule and resources are all aligned – where your project was spec’d out in detail from the word go, identifying all the elements that must be included in order to precisely price up the job and lock down the project scope, where suppliers deliver exactly the amount of materials and equipment you need when you need them to, and where, due to your planning, surprises are kept to a minimum. How can you win more of the right kind of jobs, over and over again? The answer, in our experience, can be found in the four ‘P’s – Pricing, procurement, planning and pace.
- 1. Pricing You’ll need instant access to your favourite supplier’s current prices for everything you’ll need on a job. Assumptions or dated information can cost you dearly.
- 2. Procurement You’ll want to know how much of everything you’ll need and where you’ll be getting it from before you submit your quote. Underestimation will mean lower profits, overestimation could lose you the job.
- 3. Planning You’ll need to have a systemised approach to estimation and quotation that will not only lead to more accuracy but to more rapid turnarounds.
- 4. Pace And finally, you’ll need to get that estimation in a.s.a.p. as the quicker you submit the more likely you are to be considered. Not saying the fastest wins the race, but certainly the slowest can often lose out.
In essence, the way to attract the right jobs and repel the wrong ones is to have a way of rapidly, accurately and consistently identifying the cost of a job. If you can be sure that your pricing is spot on every time you’ll be the master of your destiny – confidently rejecting jobs that don’t stack up and only pursuing those that do. You can improve your job specification and pricing strategy manually, to ensure that you take on more of the right kind of jobs, by doing daily downloads from your favourite supplier catalogues and producing spreadsheets to help you calculate the types of jobs you work on most often.
Or, you could try Custom Quoter for free, because we’ve created what we believe is the fastest and most complete job quotation tool in existence. And, as it’s cloud-based you can carry it everywhere with you (on your phone, laptop or tablet) so you can price jobs while you’re with the client, automate your quotation follow-ups, schedule tasks for your team while you’re at lunch and invoice on the go. View our solution here