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Make Job Handoff a Breeze to Stay On Time & Budget

by Chris Lee | October 16th, 2019
You have the winning bid and landed the construction project everyone was aiming for, congrats on bringing in new business for your growing contracting business. Now comes a critically important yet often overlooked step before the project kicks off – a properly coordinated job hand off between the office and field team members. Without that, you can anticipate a collection of costly problems during the construction process. If you’re experiencing any of the following issues, then you may be suffering from poor job hand off:
  • Miscommunication over the scope of work, budget, and installation methods resulting in rework and cost overruns. 
  • Coordinating labor and material to be on the job site at the right times to keep everyone productive. 
  • Project management and field managers do not understand project sequencing and hold up other adjacent trades and vendors in the supply chain putting the schedule at risk. 
  • Billing milestones are not clear resulting in untimely payments against the billing schedule from the general contractor.
Any of those sound familiar? These problems will cost you – and the amount of money lost or delayed increases by the size of company and number of people working within the flawed system. It’s clear that poor job hand off meetings (or lack of them altogether) will impact your ability to perform jobs profitably. But what is broken and how do you fix it? Are You Doing it Wrong? If you’re not having job hand off meetings and a documented construction process in place, this is a mistake and it’s costing you. If your hand off from estimator to project manager simply consists of dumping a dusty set of plans on their desk, then you’re actively failing at job hand off. This hand off step requires more than merely transferring information from the ‘win-the-work’ estimating team to the ‘build-that-thing’ production team. In short, if you lack a construction collaboration process that is documented, you’re doing it wrong. Granted, you’re not doing it wrong because you want to lose money. For many construction companies, this step-skipping is usually due to the admirable qualities related to acting fast to keep clients happy and staying on schedule to ensure project delivery on time. However, it is wise here to slow down to speed up. Do not overlook the time it takes to prepare for a project that you want to perform with quality and profitability in focus to ensure the construction management team are all on the same page. The Right Way A coordinated project kickoff meeting to transfer the project from estimating to project management team prior to any project starting is essential for a successful project delivery. Yes, it will take time upfront, but will save ample time and frustration between the construction teams and general contractors as the project progresses. Doing hand off the right way involves planning, preparing a package, and lots of communication, but streamlines the processes downstream ensuring smooth information sharing for the whole project. Sharing knowledge about every detail and following a systematized process will help ensure you produce consistent outcomes that deliver customer satisfaction, a quality project delivery, and higher profits As you create your package and prepare your meeting discussion items, consider the following list of items to address:
  • Scope Review 
  • Project Schedule - Outline phases and any important milestones (including billing)
  • Outline project team - determine pecking order onsite, your internal construction teams and the general contractors (who can make decisions and who you should call)
  • Labor and material budgets - make sure stakeholders understand and agree with estimated budgets and when the money will be spent during the project lifecycle
  • Staffing - who will be onsite, who’s in charge, working times and safety and who has decision-making authority
  • Billing processes - discuss milestones with project participants to ensure everyone is bought-in, including payment application deadlines and coordinate work to coincide with the schedule of values. 
  • Change Order Process - make sure the team knows the process and follows it. No work without written approval by the right person. 
If the estimating doesn’t handover the right information at the onset, you’re in for problems that will eat into your profits. And of course each one of those topics may require pages and pages of information, which begs a series of questions. Do you have any process established for the hand off and can it be easily done.  Before you give in to feelings of overwhelm and drowning in a sea of paper, know that a truly successful hand off will include technology and collaboration software to facilitate communication and limit confusion. That’s a vital component of streamlining this important step while ensuring accuracy, accountability, and workflow. Turn to Technology The right collaboration software can make job hand off a breeze. Instead of a pile of papers being handed off from one person to the next, use project management software to connect authorized users instantly to the information they need to do their jobs with streamline document management. The right collaboration software will allow seamless workflow from the estimate providing the details to perform tasks such as creating purchase orders, buying out the job, and creating a plan for execution of the project. You can also use technology to tie the estimate to the project budget, automatically create a job budget and billing schedules, automate purchasing processes based on estimating details. Plus, share drawings from the estimating process so the project manager can quickly and accurately create schedules, check lists, and more. Furthermore, choosing a cloud-based will allow access and progress anytime and anywhere. Technology can establish and support your process so you can appreciate easy implementation and management when you define your reliable system for job hand off and beyond. Not only can you use construction estimating software to quickly produce accurate estimates, but also include detailed specifications and cost data to easily prepare a professional proposal, and then also swiftly transfer into project management phase. The big takeaway here? Everyone is using current, correct information to streamline project collaboration and fostering an environment of information sharing bringing everyone together to hit project goals and achieve higher profits. So not only are you able to cut down or eliminate monotonous and mistake-prone duplicate data entry, but also host information in a single accessible location , which reduces the need for multiple job folders or project binders. Save time by enabling all parties to access information and see changes in real time resulting in higher profits. As a technology leader, Esticom provides construction estimating software that’s trusted by contractors for higher profits, collaboration, and streamlined processes that improve construction productivity. So of course we’re ready to help you make job hand off a breeze! Don’t let handoff be a slippery slope to disaster. Let us show you how to take that step with a proven system today.  
Chris Lee
Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.

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