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Open & Closed Job Schedules – Underutilized Tools in Most Construction Companies

by Bob Biehl

As hard as it is to believe, the open and closed job schedules are probably two of the most
underutilized tools in most construction companies.  Of course the surety’s, banks and accounting firms like GBQ use these schedules to help analyze the company’s past and future financial performance.  But all too often, the only reason contractors complete the schedules is because a surety or geeky CPA told them that they needed the schedules for their files.  The schedules are a wealth of untapped information that can help management make smart business decisions and help improve future profitability.

The schedules can help analyze historical profit trends to re-think a company’s business mix and strategy:

  • Prepare a 5-year contract schedule segregating contracts by customer, type, location, project, etc.
    • Show original bid and final profit/loss.
    • What is profitable?  Focus on this work.
    • What is non-profitable? Discontinue this work.
    • Scrutinize fade/gain analysis.
    • What project managers are making or losing money for the company?
    • Get back to the basics – what is your bread and butter work?
  • Segregate the 5-year history of contract profit by project manager, estimator, superintendent, etc.
    • Who consistently makes money?
    • Who lost money?
    • Is it time to retire some non-players?
    • Do some employees consistently have fade/gain? (consider bid spreads)

As Director of Construction Industry Services at GBQ Partners, LLC, I have found that contractors are not fully utilizing information that is easily available.  By following the steps outlined above, contractors can use the open and closed job schedules to their maximum potential, which will allow management to make good business decisions and maximize profitability.

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