It’s the age-old question: What’s it gonna take to get the next job done? If you’re a small shop, it’s easy to remember there were two guys on the last job (you and your kid). But if you’re bidding on building the next Home Depot, you better know your crew counts down to the last carpenter’s helper.
The official name for guessing at how many guys you’ll need on a construction project is “staffing projection.” It’s a highly technical mathematical equation that’s not only essential to getting the job done, but it could also be what gets you the job in the first place.
Sloppy construction job costing habits can really mess up a budget proposal. If you go over, the client coughs up the difference or the company eats it. Either way, you’re screwed.
When it comes to bidding on new business, a construction company’s gotta know how to project labor costs and timetables accurately. Manpower needed from crane operators to carpenters, surveyors to supervisors, all have to be specced out in advance. When you get into how many and how long for how much, it can be pretty tough to calculate. There just aren’t enough fingers and toes.
Pretty much the only thing the company has to go on is record keeping, aka data, from previous jobs. And we all know how accurate that is. (I still find receipts in the back seat of my pickup.) If you don’t have an ace secretary back at the office filing things and you are still using paper for most things, you don’t have a prayer of making good predictions.
Everything’s done on computers and apps these days. Hence the reason you always hear the phrase, “There’s an app for that.” The good news is when it comes to job costing and labor management, we do have an app for that!
It’s Like Three Apps in One
Even for the new technology naysayers, it’s the handiest and easiest system you could ever want. busybusy™ collects, stores and organizes construction data using three integrated apps:
- Quickbooks Online and Quickbooks Desktop Accounting
- Procore Construction Project Management
- VisionLink Asset Location and Fleet Productivity
busybusy also has direct imports/exports to many other construction software products including Viewpoint, Sage 100, Sage 300, Spectrum, Eclipse, ComputerEase, Microsoft Dynamics, Construction Partner and many more. Having these software products talk to each other helps make construction accounting much easier and considerably more accurate which of course relates heavily to your staffing problem.
So just how does busybusy™ keep staff projection from becoming rocket science? Here’s the simplest way I can explain it:
busybusy Calculates Cost of Labor
You’d think there’d be plenty of hardhats wanting to work. For any number of reasons including aging and the market crash of ‘08, construction companies are struggling to keep enough workers on the payroll, despite pay raises and increased training and recruitment.
So finding good people is important. The real cost of keeping an employee can be almost double the hourly wage. It’s not just salary: it’s all the perks you have to offer to be competitive and compliant. That’s what the taxman calls the fully burdened labor rate. We call it a pain in the, err, neck.
It’s not just the hourly rate times the number of hours clocked. You have to factor in all kinds of company-paid extras like workers comp and liability insurance and each of these services costs slightly different depending on the classification code or degree of risk each skillset poses.
Calculating labor burden can be a nightmare with hidden costs that can eat your lunch. Not all of your team members are created equal. It makes sense that it costs more to insure a man wielding a blowtorch than one painting with a brush. So you have to look up all these classification codes for pipefitters, welders, carpenters, etc. Then there’s FICA and Social Security, vacations, time off, holidays, sick days and personal days to consider.
With all of this calculating, you’re probably thinking, “Why am I driving a backhoe all day and then doing the work of a CPA after hours?” But not to worry! The busybusy app makes it easy to track projects, phases of projects, job codes, and gives you easy reports to send right to your insurance company and your CPA.
busybusy Analyzes Pace of Work
Next time you’re asked how many workers will be needed for a particular job, don’t just pull a number out of your ass. Just grab your phone, pull up the busybusy app and review some of your similar projects from the past to see your cost break down in multiple easy to read reports. Ohhh and did I mention yet the ability to snap, save, and organize photos from the job site per project, giving you a visual record to study with GPS location and time stamps. Workers not only keep track of their time on the job but report the reasons for delays, complications, extras, and change orders.
Planning Equipment Usage
When you have the ability to look back and study GPS locations, fuel levels, total hours in and out of use, etc., you get an exact picture of how many operators will be needed to man the equipment over the course of the construction project. The technology is here now to analyze equipment usage and project optimum ways of employing man and machine.
One of the best ways to determine how many people to hire is to dig up the past. busybusy lets you do this without the digging. You can look over site photos, review timesheets, check out progress reports and estimate equipment operator slots. If you’re curious and wanna take a look, schedule your free demonstration today. This way, instead of just winging it, you can give prospective clients a price quote everyone can count on leaving them happy and confident while you are making more money.