As anyone with experience in the construction industry will know, cash flow is a crucial factor in a building firm’s success. Many a good building firm has gone out of business due to poor cash management (usually waiting for a client to pay!).
On top of costing your projects quickly and accurately EstimatorXpress also automatically whips up essential reports that allow you to analyse all your costs and when they are likely to be incurred– giving you a complete picture of your cash flow status. The software combines your costs with the built-in build programme and supplier payment terms to create an accurate profile of your spend. On top of which the handy stage payment calculator helps you calculate what you need paying for and when – by milestone / build phase or with X day regularity – you choose. In this way you can manage your incoming’s and outgoings effectively. Doesn’t it make more sense to avoid going into the red by arranging payment to match outgoings instead of taking on the outlay yourself?
Safe in the knowledge that the materials needed have been accurately estimated you can easily manage material ordering via “JIT” just in time material schedules, which combine the materials required with the built-in build programme to ensure you get what you need on site and when – same for your labour force. Nothing worse than having men (or women!) on site with nothing to do.
Even better you can use the automatic materials schedule to bargain with your supplier as it demonstrates to them the total project requirement, not just piece meal orders. You’ll also prevent over-ordering and won’t need to worry about those merchant-restocking fees!
Let’s go back to the beginning and your source of money. If you need to borrow money to take on a project as many building firms will, clear and precise cash flow consideration is a must. Being able to demonstrate smart and well organised cash flow plan will help you to obtain a loan in first place as you will be able to demonstrate to any potential lender that you have realistically calculated your costs and produced an accurate cashflow projection making you a more reliable investment. You can you show potential lenders every last cost and present your figures in a professional manner to help set lenders minds at ease and win you the investment.
Contractor progress monitoring
We know things on site can’t always run to schedule, so keeping on top of what is happening when and the progress that has been made is vital. This is where the combination of EstimatorXpress and ProjectXpert is super-duper useful. Export your estimated build programme from EstimatorXpress to ProjectXpert and then manage the ACTUAL day to day running of your build programme there. More than simply time management you can export your cost data to, so you can manage where you thought you’d be budget wise versus actual as well as where you are at with the build programme versus baseline.
If your contracted brickie has been held up and is going to need an extra half day to complete, you want to know before the plasterer turns up and you have to pay him for a half a day sitting around and half a day extra at the end. ProjectXpert allows you to manage your labour force accordingly. All these things can affect your cash flow, so it’s better to be in the know!
Balancing the books
Not borrowing money? Then making sure your account stays in the black is critical for every business. Cash is king in a building company and many companies sail rather too close to the wind. EstimatorXpress will also help you stay on top of your finances to help ensure a successful project by putting you in a better place to effectively manage the cash within the business – both getting paid and when things need paying. Combine EstimatorXpress with Construction Industry Accounts and you can manage your accounts even more tightly.
Good communication and relationships
Ultimately good relationships tend to translate into better cash flow. By understanding what it is your client is looking to achieve and their own difficulties, you will not only help them avoid issues, but also be able to see the warning signs.
This is why a clearly laid out and professional estimate, quote and build programme from the very start is so important. All our software has been designed to be easy to use but also easy to understand from a client’s perspective. And you can show as much or as little as you want. Import your estimate directly into ContractsXpert to almost automatically produce professional and watertight building contracts to reassure the client and protect your payment. Avoid those awkward discussions when the projects finished about changes to work or build programme and be sure you, your client and any contractors are on the same page from the start.
EstimatorXpress in action
Our users are the best example of how a software solution can make a difference to a building firm. Richard Vincent of R Vincent and Sons Ltd. has found many advantages to having EstimatorXpress. This is what he had to say; “EstimatorXpress has really helped me save time and win work as it stands out from the other software in the amount of detail it includes in the estimate, the break down by build phases, how well its costed and that it gives my customers confidence and peace of mind that there are no hidden costs which in turn helps the project run smoothly”.
This ability to analyse costings and build phases in such detail and clearly communicate this to a client is clearly helping him win the work but also helps him manage his construction industry cash flow through sensible planning and confident communication both with potential lenders and clients.
Accounting for the year, now!
In addition to the advantages of using EstimatorXpress to help manage your construction industry cash flow, you can stay on top of your finances across all your jobs using HBXL’s Construction Industry Accounts (CIA) so that you have a handle on your accounts and can check you are staying on track any point year round.