1. Lack of Operational Flexibility
How many times have you gotten behind on your estimating due to a spike in demand from a weather or man-made event?
This is probably because your estimators, project managers, technicians, and other personnel are already operating at capacity.
To succeed in business today, your company must be lean so you can respond swiftly to changes in market conditions.
Lean means reducing flat costs (such as overhead) while getting the same or greater results.
Lean also means having the flexibility and capacity to take advantage of demand swings.
If you company is not lean, but remains operating at capacity, you will most certainly fall behind when demand increases.
Your earnings potential for the demand surge will be reduced by the backlog of paperwork (mostly estimates) that will accumulate. Your earning will also drop because of the additional time that it will take you to get paid.
Lean businesses get paid quickly.
When estimates are not completed in a timely fashion, you will strain your relationships with TPAs and Preferred Vendor Programs, which will further reduce your earnings potential in the future.
By reaching greater leanness and operational flexibility, your restoration company can achieve timely estimate output in both high-demand catastrophe and daily situations.
2. Confusing Price vs. Cost
You can’t save your way to prosperity.
How many times have you thought you were getting a good deal (cheap web development, cheap marketing, etc.) and the deal actually turned out costing you more than any benefit you gained?
Remember you aren’t paying for the process, you are paying for the results.
Does that cheaply-made website bring in new clients? Or does that Google Adwords campaign really convert?
Does your local estimator who gets paid $50 per estimate, really deliver when you need them? What happens when they get sick or have an emergency? What do you do then?
Chances are your local estimator doesn’t have a backup plan for when you need them the most. You’ll be stuck waiting for days, weeks, or longer for estimates.
What will happen to your business relationships when you can’t produce an estimate when a client needs it? Will you get their business the next time? What does this inability to deliver do to your reputation?
To get the reliable estimating that you need, you need to use a company that will delivery your estimates when you need them.
Providing service of that magnitude is not cheap. A lot of work must be done behind the scenes to ensure consistent and timely output.
The price may be higher than what you can get away with paying a local estimator, but the cost is definitely lower.
3. Underinvesting in Systems
Your company’s growth rate is related to the effectiveness of its systems.
This is especially relevant for smaller and mid-sized companies. If you cannot develop systems that work, you will stifle your businesses growth.
Consider this: Are you working “in” your business or are you working “on” your business?
Systems allow you to reduce operational inefficiencies and save time. With the time gained, you can work “on” your business so you can grow and scale.
As you pursue growth, the internet is your greatest ally.
With it, you can retain excellent professional services such as lawyers, accountants, receptionists, and more.
Remote service providers such as these allow you to leverage their systems so you can achieve leanness and operational flexibility at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone in-house.
One of the most important systems your restoration company can have is for estimating. The timely, accurate creation of estimates determines how, when, and how much you get paid.
Nonetheless, estimating often gets put-off as one of the last things todo on any given day.
By putting off your estimating, you are stifling your business. Cash flow is as important to your business as oxygen is for your body — it can work for only a short time before failure.
4. Writing Estimates In-House
When you’re working on paperwork, you’re not working on getting new business.
Therefore, if your goal is to grow your company, you need to outsource your estimate writing and have your employees use that newfound free-time for business development, sales, and follow-ups.
There are only two things that you can invest: money and time. The latter is much more important.
With the additional time gained by outsourcing your estimating, could you increase your gross revenues by 10, 20, or 30 percent?
These figures are possible if your estimators and project managers spend more time engaging with clients than sitting behind their desks drafting estimates.
In addition to the sales growth you could achieve, you will reduce burnout.
Burnout is created when estimate writing can’t get done during the workday and must be pushed to the evenings and weekends.
And what do burned-out employees do?
In addition to being less productive, burned-out employees tend to have higher turnover rates — which means the company with burned-out employees stifles the company’s productivity and incurs the added cost of an hr/recruitment problem.
To prevent these issues, don’t hire another estimator — outsource your estimating.
By outsourcing, you do not have to worry about fixed salary and other employment and overhead costs. The costs of estimating can be billed directly to each job.
5. Outdated Thinking
This should really be number 1.
“To think is an act of choice,” wrote Ayn Rand. (Emphasis Added).
Once upon a time, the biggest businesses had the most employees and largest overhead expenses.
Sadly, many restoration contractors still think within this framework.
Many restoration contractors do not trust remote estimators since they work through the internet.
Some contractors even doubt a remote estimator would be able to pickup on the subtly of their estimating or scoping style.
But here’s the truth:
To reach your potential as a company, you must leverage the power of the internet.
The internet can provide you with some of the best talent for your estimating because location is much less relevant.
If your estimators and project managers can draw a diagram, take measurements, and write down a simple scope, an experienced remote estimator will have the information they need to write an estimate completely and accurately.
Of course questions will arise.
But if you have a responsive estimating service, you will be able to communicate by phone or email at any time during the writing process to get answers, so you can get your estimates produced accurately when you need them.