Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 45 seconds
When I started Levco back in 2005, I knew I would make mistakes, My goal was not to repeat the same ones. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me once, shame on me. You know the rest.
I figured that armed with the historical knowledge I earned from each project, I would be golden. However, my recollection is occasionally foggy, so I decided to maintain good records of past projects so I could refresh my thoughts prior to placing a new bid. As I am in the medical profession, I naturally called it my Morgue.
Within the morgue, I keep the autopsies of all the projects by job type. Inside each autopsy, I keep a few financial forms that detail the job cost, including Estimate vs. Actual and labor costs broken down by class as well as a job profitability report. I added a “What did we learn from this project?” area for everyone who participated to give their two cents about their perceptions of the project.
I recall being very anxious to clear my mind of each projects details. Then like Quincy or Dr. G., scour the documents to glean whatever pearls of wisdom I could, or find the cause of death. I kept each autopsy as if it was the special sauce that would make me a strong and wise company someday. If only we did cookie cutter projects… I lament. There is no such thing in remodeling as doing the same job over and over.
In a recent counseling session with my remodeling guru, I mentioned that I would like him to review my autopsies the next time we met. As I hung up the phone, I sensed that something was not sitting well with him, and sure enough, this is the email I received.
“Joe, “he said, “An autopsy is a thorough examination performed on a body after death to evaluate disease or injury. Death is final, as well as the completed job cost. Preventative medical procedures are needed to prevent death, and it is the same for job costs. Each job cost category needs verification at the site with the subcontractor prior to them doing any work, so overruns can be prevented or minimized and material costs reviewed and authorized before picking up or being delivered.
Hence preventive medicine for our industry is putting in place practices that accurately price job costs for each category (which you are putting in place now with your new design procedure), and systems to warrant those costs prior to any work being done or materials delivered. As you know, a person dies if something blocks their airway and no one clears it. Postmortem, a Heimlich Maneuver is of no use even though it could have saved the person’s life if performed properly at the right time.”
OK. Point taken. Perhaps, “my em-pha’-sis was on the wrong syll-a’-ble” Although it is good to look backwards at the job autopsy, we are missing a huge opportunity by not setting the stage for success, by looking once again, at the proposed job costs prior to submitting a Contract Amount. It also means looking at the numbers while the project is being worked on.
I now think of my numbers as a dash board of an airplane. The more instruments you have the better prepared you are to make it to your destination safely.
What I do know from experience is that the numbers you watch are the ones that you become aware of and learn to control. They are not necessarily the right ones initially. By this I mean if you only look at the bottom line, odds are nothing good is going to happen. In creating a world class remodeling firm, I am certain that some hurdles will need to be made.
So the bottom line is that a combination of wisdom to be gleaned from looking back combined with some regular reviews or checkups will lead to a company that remains healthy for years to come.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261