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Well the calender has turned.
I usually start putting my stuff together on Jan. 1st. It takes me a couple of days to clear away the bulk of my stuff, clearing out files, setting the stage for the new year.

This gives me chance to really evaluate, what can I do differently this year (administratively)

I usually start the year out in good shape, then by March receipts are everywhere. I flat out refuse to make any lofty goals, other than to attempt to do better.

I have to ask my self.
OK I'm reasonably intelligent, or at least as smart as the average bear, but this stuff seems to get away from me.

What do other contractors do to keep all there stuff straight
bills, receipts, bids, ect. ect?
 

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I'm buying a laptop, and going to set everything up in that. Record keeping, customer contacts, Building Code, et.

It will be my mobile office, and then I can enter stuff everyday, eg. before I leave the job site, or anytime during the day.

Just need to develop the computer skills to do this. Wish me luck :clap:
 

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Sean
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I generally take care of everything the same day - grab the laptop, enter the info while watching the news or whatever happens to be on - throw the paperwork in the appropriate folder & then check the forums.

I only use job folders for large jobs - smaller handyman jobs (basically anything under 3 days) the receipts just goes in one general folder

I have a spreadsheet that breaks down all the big bills, license renewal dates, etc... in it which I review and plan ahead - I mark them off when they have been taken care of for that year
 

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I usually start the year out in good shape, then by March receipts are everywhere. I flat out refuse to make any lofty goals, other than to attempt to do better.

I have to ask my self.
OK I'm reasonably intelligent, or at least as smart as the average bear, but this stuff seems to get away from me.

What do other contractors do to keep all there stuff straight
bills, receipts, bids, ect. ect?
In regards to reciepts- This is a very simple system for any small construction company.

#1 Use Quick books
#2 Pay for everything by - A) Business check (use 3 part business checks only) or B) Business credit card

Put 2 manilla folders on your desk for reciepts -

Label one - This months checking transactions

Label the other - This months credit card transactions

When you pay for something by check you staple the receipt to the 2 part of the check and stick it in the "this months checks" folder

When you pay by credit card - you circle the date on the credit card receipt, you circle the amount on the credit card reciept, you write on the receipt the job name - stick it in the folder marked "this months credit card reciepts"

At the end of the month you do this yourself or give it to the book keeper-

Reconcile the credit card statement using the credit card reciepts, the checking account is already reconciled since you are using quick books.

This is a simple system I have been using forever. It's simple and fool proof.

What part of this system would give you problems based on how you are doing things now?
 

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On my desk, I have a paper folder for each job. These are labeled with customer's name and pertinent numbers. Everything related to it goes in there. After completion they go in a file cabinet alphabetically arranged. Statements are done on my computer and stored. I also print out a paper copy to keep. Income and expenses all go thru business account/debit card.
Keeping it simple works for me.
rj
 

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Nest Home Improvement
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Finley offered a good basic system, which is close to what I do. I am trying to go paperless so I scan all my receipts using Neat Recipts scanner and it uploads it to QuickBooks for me.

Also, if you are looking for time management and organization strategies overall read David Allen's materials www.davidco.com. One of the basic suggestions he has is a place you put everything just so you know where you can find it before you actually do something with it. You end up having multiple inboxes (your computer, vehicle, etc.) but you know where everything is located and don't waste time having to search.

Good luck
 

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Finley offered a good basic system, which is close to what I do. I am trying to go paperless so I scan all my receipts using Neat Receipts scanner and it uploads it to QuickBooks for me see www.neatco.com.

Also, if you are looking for time management and organization strategies overall read David Allen's materials www.davidco.com. One of the basic suggestions he has is a place you put everything just so you know where you can find it before you actually do something with it. You end up having multiple inboxes (your computer, vehicle, etc.) but you know where everything is located and don't waste time having to search.

Good luck
 

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I have no idea what I am doing. Any links to info on how to set up a system would be greatly appreciated.
One of the simplest back ups is if you have 2 computers, get them networked together and simply back up the important files from one to the other.

If you don't have 2 computers, you can buy a small but huge in storage external hard drive for $100-$200. It hooks up to your computer using a USB cord. Back up your data to the external hard drive.

The upside to these two methods are simplicity and low cost. The downside is they are both in the same place so a catastrophic avent, like a fire or a flood could destry your back up data.

To solve this you can buy 2 external drives (they are so cheap!) and every other month swap the drive with your off site kept duplicate

Online back up solves all these problems but may costs more. http://www.carbonite.com/
 

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Sean
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From my blog - Disaster Preparation for small business owners (about halfway down covers data backups, etc...)

As an FYI for Carbonite - make sure you try their free version first to make sure it works on your computers, I could not get their system to work on my computer after paying for it. They were great to work with & refunded the money after a few failed attempts, but I could have saved some hassle by trying it out first
 

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Once you go Carbonite - you'll never go back!

Quickbook and Finley's folder system works well also!

We have trouble keeping job files up-to-date. They always seem to get cluttered with out dated selections, options, C/O's, tech sheets, cut sheets... you name it. The files can get to 6" thick.

Does anyone have a simple system for maintaining this org?
 

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Once you go Carbonite - you'll never go back!

Quickbook and Finley's folder system works well also!

We have trouble keeping job files up-to-date. They always seem to get cluttered with out dated selections, options, C/O's, tech sheets, cut sheets... you name it. The files can get to 6" thick.

Does anyone have a simple system for maintaining this org?
The majority of my job files are digital so in the customer's digital folder is another folder called "void", anything that I think is not relevant goes in there. That way I keep their job files uncluttered and if for some reason I need that piece of information again it is available.

You could do the exact same thing with a hard copy folder system.

Also when it comes to digital files and revisions maybe adopt a decimal system.

Tile design - Smith -1.0
Tile design - Smith -2.0
Tile design - Smith -3.0

When the job is finalized the 2.0 and 1.0 versions go into the void folder.
 

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The majority of my job files are digital so in the customer's digital folder is another folder called "void", anything that I think is not relevant goes in there. That way I keep their job files uncluttered and if for some reason I need that piece of information again it is available.

You could do the exact same thing with a hard copy folder system.

Also when it comes to digital files and revisions maybe adopt a decimal system.

Tile design - Smith -1.0
Tile design - Smith -2.0
Tile design - Smith -3.0

When the job is finalized the 2.0 and 1.0 versions go into the void folder.
Mike: Do you actually scan in Plans, Faxes, Hand Written Notes, etc?

Man I'd love to be digital - but sounds like it could be alot of time getting non-digital ... digital!
 

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I use a blend of a lot of the above. Using company credit card whenever possible, and writing the job name at the top. Reconcile each month when you pay the bill and enter them into quickbooks at that time. My day to day receipts go into my wallet, and I empty it about twice a week onto my desk. I don't like to attack these things every single day, but at least once week I will get it all organized. It doesn't take long for things to get away. Best advice is make a simple plan and STICK TO IT! Find what works for you and do it. As far as the backup, I like to use a usb jump drive each session I am on quickbooks. I have an external drive, but generally only use it for a total computer backup every few months. I do all of my own accounting/ bookkeeping/ taxes so the next few months can be a real pain.
 

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Mike: Do you actually scan in Plans, Faxes, Hand Written Notes, etc?

Man I'd love to be digital - but sounds like it could be alot of time getting non-digital ... digital!
If it's digital it stays digital if it's hard copy it stays hard copy and vice versa, but since I create most of what goes into a job digitally to start with, I use 1 piece of software to estimate and create all the job related paperwork from plans to sub agreements to POs ect... the majority of what I have is going to be digital to start with. Once a job is contracted everything goes to hardcopy so it can go to the jobsite.
 

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Which software do you like Mike.
I am about to switch from Apple to a desktop with Windows as I have not been able to find any software for the Mac for estimates, contracts, etc
 
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