The Most Important Thing About Training Estimators in 2020

2020 has thrown us a curveball with the pandemic, changing the way we manage our construction projects and businesses. Any change mandated by OSHA (like social distancing on the job site, Covid19 daily checks, etc…) that define daily requirements and the way crews work will change productivity. How do you know how much that’s costing? “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, it seems simple but Peter Drucker is saying you cannot determine or predict success if you do not have the tools and the means to measure what it is that you are doing. And now more than ever construction companies need to be nimble. You need to react in near real time to those changes and challenges that affect the profitability of your job.  With so much uncertainty pitfalls abound and new techniques need to be adopted to avoid being one of the 100,000 businesses that are predicted to go out of business this year

Now more than ever it’s critical to compare actual project costs to your original estimate, put another way comparing Actual to Plan. Those companies that do compare Actual to Plan often use Excel to manually aggregate information to compare them on an ongoing basis. Aside from there being a ton of copy and paste (double entry), there are timing issues with some financial reports. Most are fortunate to get a project cost report every month, but even then that’s a long time to wait to see if something financially  on a project has gone South. The best thing to do is to automate cost tracking as much as possible to help with the timeliness of reporting. 

Changes in project and job site productivity caused by the pandemic are widely unknown and likely differ between regions and trades. The most important thing to do in these pandemic times is to create a timely feedback loop for estimators to learn from. Constantly comparing Actual to Plan is the simplest way to improve estimator experience and accuracy. A learning feedback loop between Estimators and Project Managers opens discussions of the accuracy of assumptions and expectations that can foster teamwork and more accurate bidding. 

CrewBuilder is a tool used to measure project costing and automates the comparison of Actual to Plan. I invite you to take a look at CrewBuilder to see how this digital tool can help your company.