How to Put the Schedule Back in Your Schedule

Schedule your day to improve your productivity.

Schedule your day to improve your productivity.

Show your schedule who is boss

You’re a busy construction contracting business owner and you feel the pinch. Your schedule can be your best friend, or it can bite you in the butt.

Do you remember the TV show Monk? Do you recall how Monk frequently described his abilities this way, “It’s a gift, and a curse?” The same can be said about the very real situation of being in the construction industry. One of the best parts of being the owner of a construction company is the variety and the constantly changing set of challenges. Yet, the worst part of being in the construction industry is the variety and the constantly changing set of challenges. It’s a gift . . . and a curse.

The simple action of building a set of routines into your daily activities gives you the best chance of showing your schedule who is boss. Get this right, and your calendar becomes your ally rather than your enemy.

Anchor your schedule – in the morning

The first step in dealing with your variable schedule issues is to design a workable routine. By scheduling at least some amount of routine into your day you have a better chance of conquering the end of day what-the-heck-happened feeling.

By starting and ending your work day with a set of routines (some describe it as rituals) you are better able to focus on the daily issues which are sandwiched between them. The morning routine and the end-of-day routine become your anchors.

Your lifestyle, your personal attributes, and your business needs should all be considered when developing your routines. Do you need a morning routine which will add to your peaceful meter? Or do you need one which will be motivational? Do you need to have one routine follow another? Think of them as optimization routines and you can begin to see how important they are to your day.

In fact, done correctly, your morning routine will give you momentum, not take it away. And again, done correctly, your end of day routine will give you “mental permission” to shut it down and enjoy your family, friends, and “play time.”

This article from Forbes names 6 morning rituals designed to make you productive all day.  And, this Business Insider piece about athletes is fun, yet may give you food for thought concerning creating your own morning (or pregame) rituals.

Anchor your schedule – at the end of day

End of day routines are a signal to the brain. They let you know it’s time for a specific mindset, a different action, or change of pace. They act as triggers, if you will, to aid you in more effortlessly getting ready for something else to take place.

On the dodoist blog there is an excellent article about ways to close out the day.

Look it over. It is full of great information. You’ll see that something as small as clearing your desktop (both physical and digital) is a good way to let your brain know you’re moving on to something else. Among other things, you’ll learn about the “doom loop” and how to deal with it, plus how you can end your work day on a high note even when you might otherwise feel as if it has been a less-than-productive day.

Schedule the rest of the day

No, I don’t mean fill in the blocks. The blocks tend to be filled in with other people’s needs, with appointments, with . . . well, you know, the stuff-of-calendars. Yet, I do offer these three suggestions to make your schedule (and therefore your business) better equipped and more productive.

  1. Be sure to schedule in regular (make it daily) time for tasks that improve your construction contracting company. You’ve heard it before, but I’m throwing it in there again. Work on your business, not in it.
  2. Set aside at least an hour each week for continuing education.
  3. Understand the difference between tasks and events. Tasks can take place anytime during the day, whereas events have a specific starting and ending time.

Remember, even though you assign different levels of importance to each of your tasks, your calendar doesn’t. An hour is an hour no matter how you’ve spent it. Determining ways to include or remove tasks or events from your daily schedule based on their importance moves you from constantly scrambling to regularly nailing it.

Schedule the time

Schedule the time (make the time) to include calendar maintenance as a part of your daily routine. Making your calendar work for you depends on your ability to work your calendar. Monk had another oft used statement. This one went, “You’ll thank me later.” Develop your calendar skills in order to put the schedule back in your schedule, you’ll thank me later. *wink*

Your call to action

Be sure to include Schulte and Schulte, a construction-centric bookkeeping and financial advisory firm in your schedule. We’re extremely good at lightening the load for our clients. Don’t wait, call now 480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735.

The Top 5 Critical Problems Schulte and Schulte Solves for Owners of Construction Contracting Companies

 

When you first became a construction contractor or construction service business owner it was pretty simple – get a job, do the job, get paid, see how much money you made. Now, things are different. You have people working for you, people who rely on you in order to make a living.

Knowing the whats, hows, and whys of construction accounting has become much more difficult.

Following are 5 critical problems Schulte and Schulte solves for clients on a regular basis.

Not knowing how to maintain cash flow

“Projecting future cash flow is something I’ve never understood how to do.”

Solution: Once the system is implemented you’re “in the know” daily concerning all the angles of cash flow.

Not having proper records for the IRS and for other potential needs – like proving credit worthiness

“I’m not even sure what I should keep, much less how to keep it.”

Solution: Your records are brought up-to-date and kept current so you’re always ready for both the IRS as well as for investors or loaning institutions.

Constantly having to chase work to build revenue

“It seems if I’m going to make money I always have to find new work (some I don’t even want to do) and it drains my time, energy, and capital. There’s got to be a better way.”

Solution: You’re taught smarter ways of maximizing revenue rather than the eternal work chase.

Not understanding their job costs

“I know it is more than just what I pay my people and how much I paid for supplies, but I’m not sure what all goes into job costing.”

Solution: You know what the job costs are for each job and for each type of job, giving you valuable insight concerning future jobs.

Not having enough time in the day to do it all as a small business owner

“I don’t hardly have time to breathe, much less time for figuring out all the ins and outs of construction business accounting.”

Solution: You’re relieved of trying to “figure it out.” The Schulte and Schulte pros take away much of the “drudge” of bookkeeping while informing you regularly about the financial health of your construction contracting or service business.

Solution: Maximizing Your Profits.

Now that you know we offer solutions for your critical problems, it is time to stop messing around and trying to figure it out yourself. Reach us through this number 480-442-4032 or get in touch here.

Do You Really Understand the Financial Position of Your Construction Contracting Business?

 

 

If you’re like many people who own construction contracting and service businesses, you likely have little to no financial training. That’s OK, you probably have a slew of other skills which allowed you to move into the realm of business owner.

It is also likely that you put a lot of time and thought into knowing where your crews are, what they’re doing, and which tools and supplies they’ll need for the day. Yet, you may be less likely to know where your dollars are, what job each dollar has, and how well they’re pulling for the team.

Run a better construction contracting business

While business management is a multi-faceted matter, one of the best ways you gain acumen in the business world is to know and understand how to make best use of the money you control. You know you’re “getting it” when you can:

  • Grasp the benefits of Job Costing

 

  • Discern the difference between Revenue and Gross Profit

 

  • Recognize the importance of Document Management

 

  • Increase your savvy in the Budgeting department

 

  • Focus on the Important Data

 

Getting to the money matters part of accounting means you can know (not just guess) when to put your marketing dollars to use or which types of jobs will never be your friend. It means you can make sense of what was once a whirlwind of numbers and terminology.

Why build your money management skills?

Develop your money management expertise so you can help your construction contracting or service business prosper. When you see where your company’s money is actually going, you’re better able to build a path toward success.

How Schulte and Schulte fits in

Our goal is to assist you in creating an easy to follow and understand bookkeeping process. Further, we explain what is happening along the way, giving you the benefit of discerning your financial standing and taking advantage of that knowledge.

Let’s build this together. Call 480-442-4032 or get in touch here.

17hats: All-in-One Business Management Software

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out.  During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, LLC, and dig a little deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to 17hats.

As a business owner, there are multiple “hats” that you will wear as you go about running your business.  By hats, we are talking about the different roles you will play on any given day, from accounting, marketing, client communication, lead development, etc.  17hats is a brilliant piece of software that is designed to integrate each of these different hats into an easy to use business management tool.  We could go into detail talking about each of the different tools that are built into 17hats, but for the sake of time we will highlight a couple of the features that we appreciate the most; specifically the Overview Page, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Workflow Management.

Overview Page
This dashboard is what you will see whenever you log into your 17hats account.  It has been designed to incorporate a 3-day calendar view of all events and to-do’s that you have set up.  Underneath the calendar is a list of all action items from every ongoing project that you have, as well as a list of client email correspondence that is needing your attention.  This dashboard is customizable to include this above information, as well as other options available for you.  It is a really handy tool to get a bird’s eye view of what needs your attention on any given day.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A lot of effort has been put into developing this CRM tool to make it easy to use.  As the above video shows in its example of adding a new lead and the development of that lead into a client, 17hats utilizes its CRM to assist you in keeping your contact information and projects accessible. It also stores all email communication and documents sorted by client.  This means no more searching through your email account for that important message from a client’s project you are working on.

Workflow Management
The video above gives a snapshot of the process involved within 17hats’ Workflow Management.  You are able to create templates for almost everything you will end up passing onto a customer, from engagement/proposal questionnaires and feedback forms, quotes, invoices, and more.  It has e-signature technology built into the app to allow anything that needs a signature or feedback from a customer to be sent from the app, and also allows you to track what has been sent.  17hats has a one-way sync that will allow you to sync invoices into QuickBooks Online, which is music to our accounting ears.

We love 17hats, and would like the opportunity to share it with you.  If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

CoConstruct: Custom Build and Remodel Software

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out. During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, and dig a little deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to CoConstruct.

CoConstruct is geared specifically for custom home builders and remodelers. This software is designed to include everything that goes into home building from initial client leads, all the way through punchlist and warranty work. The video above gives a brief overview of the software in action, particularly the financial setup of a project start. CoConstruct has a lot more features baked into it than we have time to get into here, but we want to highlight a couple of the features that we believe set CoConstruct apart from other similar apps and software.

Keep Your Clients Informed – “If the clients ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”
Keeping your clients informed as the project progresses is an essential part of any custom build, and CoConstruct takes a lot of the time involved in doing this off of your hands. Included in the software is a client-only web portal that shows them the information they are looking for; 24-7 access to selections, costs, photos, conversations, job calendar, and more. This gives them the opportunity to know exactly where the project is at, and also allows them to share progress photos and your work with their friends through social media, which translates to referrals for your company!

Improved Client Communication – Kiss the “he said, she said” goodbye
CoConstruct has patent-pending communication technology that allows all communication between your team, client, and trade partners to be found in one place. This allows everyone involved in the project to be on the same page, and if changes happen then everyone involved will be in the communication loop without having to worry about forwarding emails, IMs, or text messages to all of the relevant parties.

Finish Strong – Leave a great last impression on your clients
CoConstruct makes it a priority to see your client’s projects through to completion, even while you are moving on to new jobs. You won’t get caught dropping the ball with your clients and subcontractors regarding warranty work with the reports and reminders that will come up, months and years down the line. It’s the “little things” like this that can make or break a great referral for your company, and CoConstruct has your back.

We love CoConstruct, and would like the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

JOBBER: Business Management Solution for Field Service Companies

 

At Schulte and Schulte, our passion is in working with any company that fits under the construction umbrella.  This includes construction service businesses like plumbers, HVAC techs, roofers, landscape techs, etc.  Some of the apps that have been, and will be, featured in this blog series are feature filed and do have elements that would be beneficial to construction service businesses.  However, we feel strongly about finding an app or software solution for each of our clients, and this month’s featured app, Jobber, is a great solution for anyone in the construction service industry.

 

 

 

Jobber is geared toward any company that focuses on construction field service. It is a comprehensive business management solution that will aid any small to medium-sized construction service company. There are three main areas that we’d like to focus on as we dig into this app: Client Features, Team Features, and Business Features.

Client Features
Jobber has some features that will impress your clients and help keep your client information organized. It has an excellent customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep your client’s information and communication organized. As you communicate with your different clients, whether by sending a quote, getting an e-signature, or reminders to follow up with clients, Jobber keeps track of all communication and saves it in each specific client’s file to help keep you as a construction service business owner more organized.

Team Features
These Team Features integrate both the Jobber computer software as well as their mobile app, which is available for both tablet and phone on iOS and Android. Included are various tools like Scheduling that allows you as the construction service business owner to easily create new jobs for clients and assign them to your team with only a few clicks; Map View Routing that will automatically send notice to your team as they are out in the field giving them the information that they need to get to and work the next job; and GPS Tracking so that you get a clear picture of where your team is at throughout the day as well as tracking employee hours and labor costs.

Business Features
Jobber gives you the ability to send out customized invoices so that you are in control of what your clients see on their invoices. It also has the option included of accepting payment for service right at the jobsite. Also included are Reports that provide a bird’s eye view of how your construction service business is doing, Time Tracking that makes it easy to review and complete payroll, and Accounting Sync that seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks Online to assist with your monthly bookkeeping.

We love Jobber, and would love the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

Construction Contractor, Got a Problem with Your Financial Reports?

Do your financial reports measure up?

Because your financial reports should tell you much more than what you’ve already done. Because your financial reports are more than numbers for the tax-man or the banker. Because your financial reports are all about guiding you to scale your business. We’re glad you stopped in.

Check Us Out!

Since Schulte and Schulte, LLC came into being we’ve been construction-accounting-centric.

We have knowledge and understanding concerning what construction contractors need when it comes to financial reports. With almost two decades of “being in the trenches” of construction bookkeeping and accounting, Tonya, the co-founder of our firm, has deep knowledge about what contractors need. She and her team all work diligently staying ahead of the curve concerning all the latest and helpful contractor accounting technology systems and support apps.

We know what you want and need

We have no desire to send our clients a mound of reports they don’t understand and won’t bother reading. Our intention is to instead work with each of our clients by providing reports which are meaningful, reports which answer the kinds of essential questions contractors have about managing their individual companies.

The well qualified “regular” bookkeeper has no experience with the specific requirements of contractors, they therefore aren’t able to make suggestions themselves. At the same time, many contractors are not familiar with the capabilities of the robust bookkeeping software or SaaS systems available and therefore aren’t aware of what to ask for.

This “two ships passing in the night” scenario leads to a communication gap that can be devastating to both parties.

Our services are designed to allow you to scale your business

Tonya, recently said, “I take great pride in my work. I love getting each piece of the accounting puzzle to fit in the right place. But, even more fun for me is seeing the lightbulb go off over a client’s head. I get excited when I can hear in their voice that moment of recognition when understanding dawns. I like it when they ‘get it’ about another important aspect of their financial documents. I love my job!”

If you’ve had it with the status quo, if you’re looking for the right bookkeeping and accounting firm to aid you in scaling your construction contracting or subcontracting business . . .well, let’s just say, now is the time. Call 480-442-4032 today. Or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

KNOWIFY: Manage Your Entire Contracting Business in One Place

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out. During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, and dig a little bit deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to Knowify.

Knowify is an app that is a huge help to any subcontractor, whether that be commercial or residential. Some of the features that won us over at Schulte and Schulte:

Job Costing & Estimating
With Knowify’s powerful estimating tool, you can plan your jobs, itemize your material budgets, and schedule your people to create comprehensive cost estimates. These estimates can be translated into bid line items with a single click.

Bids, Contracts, & Service Work
You can quickly create bids and contracts on your own letterhead and send them through Knowify for electronic signature. You can also easily create service tickets and schedule technicians on work orders.

Time Tracking & Scheduling
Replace the whiteboard, create and maintain your schedule in Knowify so that all your people can see what needs to be worked on while they are in the field. As your people work on work orders, they can punch in time and reimbursements via Knowify’s mobile app. As your people put in time, Knowify will track how you are performing on each job compared to your budgets and estimated costs.

Knowify is truly cloud-based. You can access your Knowify account on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet; it’s time tracking is most easily handled through the mobile app that is available for either Android or iOS.
We’ve been impressed with Knowify’s truly unified, fully integrated platform. All of its different modules (contracts, time tracking, purchasing, and invoicing) integrate seamlessly to ensure that the products and billable time covered by our client’s contracts are billed correctly.

We love Knowify, and would love the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

10 Personal Tools Every Construction Contractor Needs

I’ve discovered Construction Contractors and Subcontractors are among the most adept and proficient folks around. They wear such a profusion of hats (skilled tradesman, project manager, marketer, salesman, HR manager, supply-chain manager, customer-service representative, PR manager) it can be mind boggling.

Yet there are 10 Personal Tools they need to use no matter which hat they happen to be wearing at any given time.

The quality traits (tools) of excellent construction contractors

  1. Planning Ability

Simply determining to begin a business built on your skill set as well as your desire to learn more about what it takes to “be in business” is a great start. At every turn, your ability to plan and prepare for what is coming down the road will make a difference in how you manage, build, and maintain your business.

  1. Strong Work Ethic

You have to have a ton of ambition. It goes beyond just getting up every day and going to work. You actually enjoy fixing the problems that arise. And you’re actively looking for more jobs which mean you have more problems to solve.

  1. Strong People Skills

You not only have to manage the guys and gals in the field and office, you also have to work with the customer – who can range from general contractors to home owners and anywhere in between. You’re also good at letting other people’s strengths shine through.

  1. Confident

You have to remain confident in your overall ability to complete the many tasks at hand. That doesn’t mean you think you can never make a mistake. It does mean you’re sure you’ll be able to learn from those mistakes and continue moving forward.

  1. Open Minded

Going hand-in-hand with your ability to remain confident is your ability to remain open minded when new ideas, new concepts, and new means to accomplish a task are presented to you. You’re willing to weigh the evidence before making a final decision.

  1. Money Management Skill

When capital is limited and needs to be utilized wisely, you know how to manage for right now while still planning for the future. You know how to keep a handle on cash flow and how to use financial reports for building your business.

  1. Networking Ability

You’re a relationship builder. You pay attention to what others tell you. You’re willing to help others even when it doesn’t seem there will be a quid pro quo. You make others feel at ease when they’re around you.

  1. Delegator

Even though you likely began your construction contracting business wearing a multitude of hats you know when to give one or more of those hats to others. You know how to give people a task to complete without micro-managing how they complete it.

  1. Risk Taker

You understand that taking a risk is the only way to move forward. You look at all the ways you can think of to mitigate the risk, you take those actions, and you still know that failure is possibility.

  1. Integrity

Honesty and trust are central to your integrity. You demonstrate your integrity by being trustworthy and dependable. You are principled and can be counted on to behave in honorable ways even when no one is watching.

Stocking your tool box

Having as many of these tools as possible in your personal tool box will make your job as a construction contractor flow better. You may not have every single tool in this list shined and ready to use. But, if your desire is to scale your construction contracting business then you’ll discover these are personal traits or qualities that will work well for you now and in the future. If you find you have personal weak points, be sure to surround yourself with folks who are strong in those areas. Some things you should consider are: hire a business coach, seek a mentor, outsource some areas, look for qualified advisors, build a good team.

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Why yes, Schulte and Schulte, LLC is a great option for your bookkeeping and accounting outsourced needs. And by golly, we’re team players. Give us a call 480-442-4032 or toll free 866-629-7735

5 Bookkeeping Mistakes Made by Construction Contractors

Mistakes construction contractors make when trying to scale

Because you own or manage a construction contracting business, you have a legitimate desire to oversee every aspect of that business yourself. Yet even the savviest contractor sometimes makes mistakes, especially when it comes to bookkeeping.

There’s no question that maintaining accurate financials is a fundamental part of maintaining a healthy contracting business. And, being aware of the most common bookkeeping mistakes can save you from time loss, headaches, and even potential penalties.

Here are the top accounting mistakes made by construction contractors:

 

Improper handling of petty cash receipts

Trashing your “petty cash” receipts can add up to “larger cash” losses. Keeping these bits and pieces of receipts is helpful for many aspects of your business including budgeting, claiming tax deductions, and tracking overall cashflow. And, let’s not forget that having documentation in case of an audit removes much of the stress involved.

Steven Bragg, over at Accounting Tools  offers this information concerning Petty Cash Procedure

Improper comingling of business and personal finances

We’re not going to take too long here. The main thing we have to say on this subject is Don’t Do It!

Be sure to have separate accounts for your personal and your business affairs; otherwise it gets really messy! Besides the fact of not knowing exactly where your business stands at any given moment, there is that important aspect of paying someone to clean up the mess when tax time rolls around.

Improper or no backup system

Making sure all your financial information is backed up (duplicated) and stored in more than one location is of utmost importance. As you most likely know from experience, bat guano happens.

Beyond the day to day need to engage your financial records there is always the IRS to consider. This article from American Express found on their Open Forum page discusses some methods of recapturing required information necessary to appease the tax-man. What the article doesn’t address is the expense and time loss involved in the restoration process. And, it is the closing sentence in the article which is best to keep in mind if you wish to avoid the headache associated with restoring or retrieving lost information. It reads, “Business owners should seriously consider off-site storage of important documents.”

Improper classification of employees

Most construction contractors have some combination of full-time employees, part-time staff, and varying sets of subcontract teams. And, there are times when one person on your team may slide from one status to another as work demands. Keeping up with who gets a 1099 and who receives a W-2 makes a huge difference in your operating costs as well as your tax filing situation. Keeping compliant and avoiding misfiling taxes is imperative to the wellbeing of your construction company.

This article from Pro Construction Guide is full of helpful information concerning the who’s how’s and what’s of determining employee status.

Improper designation of bookkeeping duties

Thinking you, your spouse or your cousin’s next door neighbor are a good, cheap way of getting your accounting done can be a very costly mistake. Not many construction contractors are self-professed financial experts. Along the same line, while software and technology can compensate for a lack of bookkeeping expertise, it can only go so far. Plus, hiring an in-office person off the street who has no construction contracting bookkeeping experience looks much like the blind leading the blind when it is time to put your financial records to use in building your building business.

Leaving your business accounting to an experienced bookkeeper who’s already learned the ropes about your construction contractor bookkeeping needs allows you to gain much more clarity concerning your business’s past performance as well as gives you information concerning which “next steps” to take in growing your business.

Get in touch with Schulte and Schulte today to get your construction business’s financial records working for you, and best of all, you can dodge these mistakes altogether.