July 31, 2007
Large jobs sound great at the beginning, but can turn into a nightmare if you, the installer, don’t know how to price and manage a large project. Here some tips to get the job and make a profit:
Master the details: Before you even consider taking the job, make sure you understand exactly what is being expected by the dealer’s installation service manager. How many phases are contemplated, and over what period of time? Is after hours work going to be needed, and are you being paid for this? What happens when there are changes to the job scope; who will approve, and what procedure will insure there won’t be arguments after the job is over? Who will deliver the materials to the job site, you or the dealer? What happens if your time frame for installation is reduced substantially; will you be paid extra? Two critical questions for you to answer before taking the job are, “Are you familiar with what is to be installed and do I have a crew that can do the work?”
Price for a profit: When you nail down the specifics of the job, you should include a percentage factor to cover your overhead and unexpected expenses. This is critical; where you can lose money is underestimating the actual range of expense, not the obvious expense of getting the product on the floor. While it is temping to just agree on “job total price” being proffered by the dealer, especially a large dollar number, you will be better off to carefully define each component of the project, assign a value, do your totals and see how that stacks up with what is being offered.
With these details in hand, you may be able to get a better deal. If you do get the job, become a manager of your crew. There are many installers who can do a great, hands-on installation, but are not effective crew managers. You need to make the mental shift to being a good manager to insure you deliver a good job, on time, and with your expected profit.