Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm a PowerTip!

This morning while checking my emails, I was pleasently suprised to see I was the topic of the PowerTip newsletter. Charlie and I are memebers of Remodelers Advantage, a national consultant group of Remodelers from around the nation. We get together twice a year in all sorts of locations and review our financials, systems, and talk about problems, sucesses, goals, woes, and all sorts of stuff. I have loved being a part of this group and thus was honored to see somthing I did become the topic of a PowerTip, their weekly newsletter. For some reason, I can't get the newsletter to post here, but here is the article anyway.

The Key to Project Binder Sanity
The folks at Hudson Remodeling, Inc., have an easy--and intuitive--system for organizing information for each of their project contracts: they simply store everything pertaining to the contract in a blue classification folder.The blue folder system is the brainchild of Jessica Hudson, office manager of the Lynden, Wash.-based full-service remodeling company. It works likes this: After the company starts the estimating process for a lead, Hudson creates a blue folder for each job; even if it is a repeat client, the new job gets a new folder. Using a label maker, she labels the accordion-style folder with the client's last name and first name(s).
The folder contains three dividers, which yield six places for documents: The first slot contains invoices and copies of payment checks from the client. The second slot holds the estimate, actual contract, and change orders. The third slot includes the spec list, a list of trade contractors working on the project, and the material selections. The fourth slot contains quotes from trade contractors and other various materials gathered in the estimating process. The fifth holds printed copies of e-mails from the clients, copies of phone messages, and any other communications between the company and the client. The sixth slot includes the project house number and contact information such as the client’s cell phone numbers, work phone numbers, address, and e-mail address.
“We decided to place the contact information on the last page of the blue dividers because it is easy to flip to when you need a number or such,” says Hudson.
The blue folder then goes to the estimator, who uses it to keep track of the paperwork and copies of the estimate until a final number is reached. Once the contract is signed, copies of that document, any trade contractor work orders, and the payment schedule are put in the blue folder.
After the project is complete, the company does a job-cost analysis, reviews it, and places the analysis in the blue folder with the estimate and contract. Hudson then stores the blue folder in a completed jobs filing cabinet.
The blue folder system benefits all of the company’s back-office processes. “Charlie, the owner, is able to keep the paperwork associated with an estimate much more organized,” says Hudson. In addition, “when the contract has been signed, I know which estimate was used for the final contract numbers, and I can accurately enter the information in QuickBooks without having to wait for Charlie to have a spare moment so that I can ask him.” The system also makes it easy for Hudson to prepare in advance all the invoices, trade contractor work orders, and associated documents to get each job started smoothly.
“Having each blue folder organized with the same information in the same spots has allowed for consistency and ease of finding and filing information,” says Hudson. “It has really saved me time when I am trying to find information for a job or trying to file copies of paid invoices and other documents.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughtfulness in Expression

"Writing takes more time, usually much more time than talk. The written word requires a certain level of artfulness and thoughtfulness in expression. In writing, we do not ramble on and on, as we do in speech. We choose our words more carefully. The words remain to be reread, refined, a source for reflection and mindful change if necessary."

--Thomas Moore