1 hour. That’s 60 minutes. Or, 3,600 seconds.
“It’ll only take an hour.”
“What’s one more hour?”
This little block of time is the very thing that will make or break your profitability. Here are 5 things every contractor needs to know about man-hours, so pay attention.
Know What You Are Selling
Yes, you’re selling convenience or someone’s dream or their solution to some kind of pain. I get that. But, the ‘widget’ you are selling in the man-hour.
Contractors sell time. Your entire contracting business revolves around you selling field hours for crews to work.
Productivity Equals Profit
You can sell a job at whatever amount you want. You can be all fired up that you sold a job to make a 55% gross profit. But, what matters is how you produced the job. If you sell a job and estimate it taking 32 man-hours to complete and it takes 33 man-hours, you are now heading in the the opposite direction of profitability. Every man-hour it takes longer than the estimated time costs you profit.
Lack of Tracking Leads to No Cash in the Bank
The worst thing in a contracting business is making or losing money and not knowing why. Too many contractors have no idea what their true numbers are or should be because they don’t perform Job Costing after each project.
One contractor I work with was under charging by 20-30% on each job because the projects were taking longer to complete than what he projected. Because they didn’t Job Cost or have an Operations Meeting each week, he didn’t know it.
The Fastest Way to Profit is the Man-Hour
The beauty of the contracting world is that as fast as you can hurt your business by not bidding, selling, producing and tracking by knowing your man-hours, you can also help your company. Tens of thousands of profit dollars are waiting for you if you get it right.
Every man-hour worked costs you money and if it’s not accounted for you’re screwed. The good news is when it is accounted for, every man-hour is a mini-profit center for your contracting business.
Know Your Production Rates
Knowing how long something takes or should take can be challenging. There are many factors that affect field production. Start each job with a clear plan. Make part of that plan how long the expected time is for each task.
Yes. Each task.
Then, track it in real time. Have your Foreman track the time and then in your Operations Meeting you compare the estimated time vs. the actual time. Adjust your times and prices accordingly.
Each industry has average production rates (times) published for the most common tasks performed. Look into that to get you started.