Solutions through software
Cost-cutting and overhead control are possible via process automating processes
By Mike Gillum
Masonry construction business owners and project managers need to have real-time, accurate data on materials, labor, equipment, budgets and schedules to ensure their projects are profitable. That same information can help to cut costs and control overhead for a large, competitive advantage and maximum productivity.
By automating takeoff and estimating processes, mason contractors are able to complete estimates more quickly and with greater accuracy, which has helped to significantly improve their bottom lines.
The power of paperlessBy using software to eliminate slow, cumbersome paper processes and perform more precise takeoffs, C&G Concrete Construction in Illinois saves valuable time and increases its accuracy, which allows the company to bid and win more jobs.
Bruce Cox is charged with developing the estimates to win C&G Concrete’s jobs, ranging from as small as $3,000 to as large as $2 million. When he joined C&G Concrete in the late-1990s, the estimates were still done using pen and paper, an extremely time-consuming process. It was a challenge to check on job costs for materials and labor, because it required flipping through many pages of blueprints to find the details needed to estimate a job.
The company realized that it must move from paper-based processes to an efficient method with software. Today, C&G uses Maxwell Systems ProContractorMX, a seamless takeoff and estimating software solution that helps contractors to quickly and accurately quantify, price and bid projects.
ProContractorMX provides the option for contractors to perform digitized takeoffs using a digitizer to generate accurate measurements and quantities from traditional blueprints; or to go completely digital by performing takeoffs from electronic plans. Cox explains that he uses both methods, depending on the size and scope of the specific project.
“For a simple job, it can take just a couple clicks of the mouse, and the estimate is done,” says Cox. “A smaller job can take as little as 10 minutes to estimate. For a more complex job, we save a lot of time by not having to flip through papers, and we can find details much quicker.
“With ProContractorMX automating the calculations, we are able to save additional time and increase accuracy,” Cox continues. “It also helps us to keep a job organized. When I am going through line items, I know exactly where everything is.”
Using ProContractorMX to takeoff jobs, automate calculations, and organize details about job costs for materials and labor, C&G Concrete is able to save overhead estimating time and increase accuracy with every estimate. This enables the company to win more jobs, with greater accuracy, while they can cut costs by streamlining processes and reducing paper.
Beyond the bidPT Masonry, a masonry company in California, shares similar software experiences to that of C&G Concrete, but also values the ProContractorMX solution for its complete offerings. The masonry contractor uses the software for takeoff, estimating, job cost accounting, project management, and seamless end-to-end control of business and the construction-project lifecycle.
“The ability to quickly and accurately perform a digital takeoff in ProContractorMX is a big advantage for us,” says Tory Tesauro, president of PT Masonry. “Before, a typical job would take three to four hours just to perform the takeoff, and it was a very frustrating process. With ProContractorMX, we can complete a takeoff in about one hour.”
The solution also allows the contractor to use the detailed data from takeoff to easily create estimates, reduce data entry, and improve the accuracy of the bids. By automating and tightly synchronizing these processes, the company can keep track of fluctuating prices and prevent overbidding or underbidding jobs. Tesauro adds, “The software enables us to keep track of our materials and labor from one job to the next, which is valuable time savings.”
Using the software to improve operations beyond its bid process, PT Masonry can cut down costs and overhead across its entire organization. “There are just two of us that run the company, and we don’t have the resources to leverage multiple software packages,” Tesuaro says. “Our typical day consists of running to job sites, talking to banks, creating estimates, paying bills, and much more. We needed a quick, efficient and seamless software solution that would handle all the many aspects of our business.”
Before, they were using multiple software packages to manage operations, but were taking advantage of only limited features in each package. They would calculate their estimates manually, and reenter the data into a program to create an estimate. For each new job, they would go through the same process, entering much of the same materials and labor over again. On the accounting side, PT Masonry’s financial records formed a long paper trail that was collected at the end of each year and handed over to their accountant.
“We were never able to track our costs very well in the past,” says Leo Tesauro, Tory’s brother, who handles the accounting end of the business. “If prices were fluctuating, we just went with what we knew. We had no historical trail of information. If the costs on our materials increased, we would have to eat those costs and, at the end of the day, figure out how to remain profitable. We lacked resources, and it took great effort to be profitable or to assess our profitability.”
Using ProContractorMX’s job cost accounting and financial management capabilities, the masonry company will have more accurate information for a critical advantage over their competitors. “With the reports available in this solution, we can see more clearly where the money comes and goes, and maintain better control of our financials,” says Leo Tesauro.
He also explains that as part of their effort to improve operations and profitability, they are expanding their offerings to the commercial market. “To get commercial jobs, we must be union or offer prevailing wage,” he says. “Prevailing wage was too difficult to manage before. The Davis-Bacon capabilities in Maxwell Systems ProContractorMX will help us pursue this new avenue of our business and new source of revenue.”
ProContractorMX offers the capabilities for Davis-Bacon Certified payroll reporting, union, workers’ compensation, and benefit tracking for merit shop.
By automating processes with a seamless software solution, mason contractors can save time, cut costs, and better control their overhead. With increased operational efficiencies and cost reductions, contractors can realize optimal profits on each project.
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
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