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0800 461 219

65 New North Road,
Eden Terrace,
Auckland, 1021

2 min read

3 Ways Trades Owners Can Avoid Job Blow-Outs

3 Ways Trades Owners Can Avoid Job Blow-Outs

When a job blows out and goes over budget it’s easy to blame the tradies on site for being lazy, working too slow, or wasting time going back and forth with the office because they don’t understand the job. But what if it’s actually your fault, as the boss, that the job’s blown out and you’ve lost money?

Before you bite my head off, let me start by saying that I know all 3 of those scenarios above play out at times and some folks just haven’t got the right motivation. But… and it’s a big but… Do you do everything in your power to set your team up for success? Are you managing your staff and jobs well enough?


1. Managing jobs to come in on time

It’s simple: if you want to bring your quotes in on time and on budget, you need to manage your jobs to come in on time. As part of what I do at Fergus, I speak to hundreds of business owners and see all kinds of data and the simple fact is, most projects aren't managed well (if at all!). And that’s why they come in late and over budget, costing you much-needed money.  I understand why it happens: it’s more work to do and there’s no profit margin for management. But I’ve also seen how managing a team better can yield better profits and give me more cash in my own pocket. Which is why it’s worth the effort.

Consider this scenario: You’ve won a job and there are 30 hours of work in it. The hours in the quote were tight to win the job but if everything goes right it will work out. So what typically happens next? You assign the job to one of your team, then leave it up to them to get the work done - on time and on budget. You might attend the first site visit if you’ve got a bit of time and have a quick walk around, then it’s “Righto, gotta fly. The next job is waiting.” And off you go.


2. Chargeable hours vs. Non-chargeable hours

Meanwhile, your poor tradie spends the best part of an hour on-site by themselves trying to get the gist of the job, then they jump in the van and head out to collect materials, before making a quick stop on the way back to grab smoko. Work is finally starting just before midday and you’ve already lost 3-4 hours on the first day - hours you’ll pay in wages but ones that can’t be charged to the customer because there was no work being done. Fast forward and the job is finally finished but it’s taken longer than you’d anticipated and it’s over budget too. You’ve lost a shed load of money as a result, and to say you’re bloody unhappy is an understatement.

Who’s at fault? The tradie, or you? Ask yourself: did I give my tradie everything they needed to help them succeed? In my opinion, no.  If the job had been managed well, things would have started very differently.


3. Like this…

From the get go, as soon as the job was approved materials should have been pre-ordered for delivery to the site, arriving either the day before or first thing on the first day. That morning, you meet your tradies on-site, grab a copy of the master plans and mark out your plans together. You clearly communicate what work has been quoted, when it needs to be done by, and how many hours they’ve got to do it. Once everyone has a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and the materials are there waiting, work starts straight away. Only then do you leave site.

Because your tradies have got all the info they need, they’ll work harder, smarter and faster - and the job will come in on time and on budget. Now, you’re smiling!


Using a job management software, like Fergus, makes managing jobs to success so much easier! To learn more about how Fergus can help you, click here.

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