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I was wondering how everyone handles their scheduling? Like for example, let's say you bid job A for 10 hours but it ends up taking you 20 how do you adjust your schedule if you have customers job's that were supposed to be started during that second ten hours?


Also, how far out are you comfortable scheduling customers? month, six months, year, two? (speaking on a residential standpoint for this question)

and finally, how do you track your schedule? in your head? pen and paper? spreadsheet? Google calendar?
 

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I don't schedule jobs for Saturday or Sunday, if I need to I work those days. The landscaping season is pretty much done by September, so that's how far out I schedule. I use a day planner to keep track of things.
 

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I don't schedule jobs for Saturday or Sunday, if I need to I work those days. The landscaping season is pretty much done by September, so that's how far out I schedule. I use a day planner to keep track of things.
I used to work 7 days a week, then knocked it down to six, then I completely took out Sat & Sun, a man needs time to fish and drink beer doesn't he? I rarely even go out to give estimates on those days, if I do it's only on Saturday, I usually use Saturday for catching up on weekly paperwork and such then sunday is family time.




family time= time that I "spend" with my family usually takes place while getting wasted and fishing :whistling
 

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As owner of a millwork shop I deal with the same problem. We have a few installers and sales people. Multiple jobs go out on various days. Many times the customer is not ready for us to install but want it in 3 days and they say it's a MUST. Well... now we have more jobs wanting to go out than installers! You don't want to penalize your customers who are ready on time but also want to still provide good customer service to the late one. It's a tough juggling act.

I'm playing around with Google Calendar and setting up demo calendars for Office, Shop, and each Installer. When I confirm a job, I assign it to one of the installers' calendars. The unassigned jobs I create as tasks and add a date to be completed by which might become the install date once the job is made and date confirmed with the customer.

I think this technology just makes the juggling act easier, but it won't juggle for you. But when you have a ton of jobs in the pipeline, it's nice to have a visual of what's going on!


What I could use some help on is what policy do you guys have for customers who are not ready for your services when they said they'd be ready? Do you try to re-schedule your ontime clients? Or put the late customer in the back of the line (usually unacceptable to the customer).. ?
 

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It is a delicate balance to schedule well - we try to let our subs know a week in advance and it usually needs 2 - 3 phone calls to be on top of things - IE to remind them that you want them there.

As for the customer- check in and see how they are doing - keep in touch and then if they are running late you can be accomodating but, you can put your staff on jobs that are ready.

Terry
 

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I was wondering how everyone handles their scheduling? Like for example, let's say you bid job A for 10 hours but it ends up taking you 20 how do you adjust your schedule if you have customers job's that were supposed to be started during that second ten hours?
This occurs regularly for me and without a doubt is one of the most difficult aspects of running a one man show. It's not uncommon to start a job and get the "while you're here could you....."

They way I do it is to schedule a start date on probably 1/2 of the jobs, typically two or three months out, and then try to fit in everything else around those dates. This also allows room to take care of urgent service type calls.

This backfired on me just this last week, had a customer go off on me for not getting to them in what they considered a reasonable amount of time (they were a "fit in" job). I guess it made them feel less important then the guy with the calendar slot; my bad.
 

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Microsoft Project is a good tool for this as well. The issue I have with putting each employee on their own calendar is that you can't see the big picture to move one job from employee A's schedule to employee B's.

To answer the OP, if you get on a job and have one coming up soon, then the best thing to do is keep in touch with the upcoming job and let them know how your schedule is going.

When scheduling, keep holes (small ones) in your schedule to allow for those things that demand more time, like extras, change orders, etc. Trying to keep every minute of every day filled is a prescription for insanity in my opinion.

This is a high pressure industry to begin with. Don't make it harder by trying to fill every waking moment with job.
 

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With Google Calendar, you can set up multiple calendars for each installer along with possibly one for the shop, one for the office, and see them all at the same time. You give each calendar a different color, I think this can make it a bit easier to visually check that nobody is doing two jobs when they can only do one at a time. Seems easy to plan but when busy and installing 5 jobs a day, it can get out of control fast especially when people call in to change their installation date a day before the scheduled date.

I'm actually putting all jobs in production in the Tasks section (it's a Labs feature, must enable Labs features in settings) and then when the job is complete in the shop, I'll made it a new appointment (usually all day appt.) in one of the installers' schedules.

I'm still playing with it and trying to create some kind of system or workflow so if there's a possiblity of getting into a jam... I find out now while I'm only doing mock jobs on it.
 

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You guys really make me feel old school. We use erasable calenders on the wall to accommodate 4 workers for 6 weeks. An additional blank erasable to manage a list if we book beyond that range, we also have room enough to double up the workers should we get real busy.

I am most comfortable booking out about 3 mos. but will take it to what ever is required to keep selling. The further out we schedule the more likely we are to add 1-2 blank days between some of the jobs. Any time their not needed we call the next customer and try to start early. No one has ever complained about getting a job done sooner than expected.

Keeping in touch with the customer is the best scheduling tool. Keep them in the loop so they know whats going on and they are usually very flexible.

Good Luck
Dave
 

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It REALLY depends on your business type. We have a dry erase board which we have marked up to resemble a calendar. We then use multiple colors of ink, with each ink being a different crew. We then write the job name/number on the board in the proper crew's color, and for the number of days. Any given day may have 1-4 job names on it. When it rains everything gets bumped back. When a day gets added onto a job for some unknowns or change orders we push just that one crew back, and give the next 2 customers notice of the change. If a change order is not immediate we may tell the customer we can't get to the additional work because we have other jobs lined up.

This whole process revolves around being slightly ambiguous when speaking with customers about scheduling dates. for example, if we plan to start a job on Monday we tell the customer "we plan on starting at the beginning of next week, maybe monday maybe tuesday. We'll call you a day before we actually start, and of coarse all this is weather depending. If we lose a day due to windows or rain, everything gets pushed back a day." Then as promised we call them a day before we start.


The schedule is a living breathing beast and only one person can manage that beast. I tell everyone in the office other than my production manager that the board is alying siren of the sea that will seduce and murder you and only the product manager can see through it's lies. Things change so frequently if a customer calls and says whens the work getting done and I answer, I'm probably answering wrong and that'll build bad will with our customer, therefore ALL scheduling questions are referred to the production manager.


In regards to how far out we are, again that REALLY depends on your setup. If you are a home builder and each home takes 3 months to build and you only build one at a time, I can see 6 months being realistic. If you are a specialty trade contractor, such as my self installing roofing, which on average take only a day or two to complete, scheduling 6 months out means I am either way way way too cheap or doing something very right!

My comfort zone is 2-3 weeks, anything more and I feel I am not doing my customers any justice, any less and I feel like we are scrambling for jobs.
 

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I was wondering how everyone handles their scheduling? Like for example, let's say you bid job A for 10 hours but it ends up taking you 20 how do you adjust your schedule if you have customers job's that were supposed to be started during that second ten hours?


Also, how far out are you comfortable scheduling customers? month, six months, year, two? (speaking on a residential standpoint for this question)

and finally, how do you track your schedule? in your head? pen and paper? spreadsheet? Google calendar?
If there was ever an effective, easy, and accurate way to do this will all the variables we face, weather, subs, employees, holidays, materials....the unknown, you could be rich by copy writing the system. :thumbsup:

I know of no other more effective way to generate anger then schedule a start time, and the day arrives, sometimes months after the contract is signed, and you cannot get there for another several weeks. Last winter was a killer on our schedule, and we are still soothing anger and scrambling. I have lost a lot of jobs over the years due to this issue. Now that I primarily use only subs, it is tougher still.
 

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Things are going to get interesting here in PA next week. The "Home Improvent Consumer Protection Act" becomes effective. We now have to have a signed contract with start and finish dates included. I have a had time getting there in "the next week or two", now I have a contact that saws Tuesday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
another question, say you have a bad storm roll in, and are in the middle of a project now, and it did damage to a roof, how do you deal with that? I just let my current customer know the situation and go repair the roof, unless it is something that I can put a tarp on until I can get there...
 

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Things are going to get interesting here in PA next week. The "Home Improvent Consumer Protection Act" becomes effective. We now have to have a signed contract with start and finish dates included. I have a had time getting there in "the next week or two", now I have a contact that saws Tuesday.

We've had that for a while now, what I do, is put the start and completion date in, and inform the owner that we are finishing a job now, as soon as it is done we will be here to complete your project, then the day that I arrive I put the completion date in accordingly, and have a clause to CMA it is basically about time, that certain things are beyond our control and we can not be held liable for such delays, and that any amount of time I am delayed, if beyond my control is added to the contract length, I can give ya the verbage from my contract if you would like:thumbsup:
 

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With Google Calendar, you can set up multiple calendars for each installer along with possibly one for the shop, one for the office, and see them all at the same time. You give each calendar a different color, I think this can make it a bit easier to visually check that nobody is doing two jobs when they can only do one at a time. Seems easy to plan but when busy and installing 5 jobs a day, it can get out of control fast especially when people call in to change their installation date a day before the scheduled date.

I'm actually putting all jobs in production in the Tasks section (it's a Labs feature, must enable Labs features in settings) and then when the job is complete in the shop, I'll made it a new appointment (usually all day appt.) in one of the installers' schedules.

I'm still playing with it and trying to create some kind of system or workflow so if there's a possiblity of getting into a jam... I find out now while I'm only doing mock jobs on it.
I use google calendar in a similar way.

Measures, estimates and installations are all scheduled on a master calendar. Invitations are sent to the individual installers. The message comes to them via email directly to their mobile phone. They're responsible for accepting the invite to confirm the appointment.

I use the installer name as the first word in the entry so that I can instantly tell where everyone is on a given day.

I'm sure there's much more I can do with it, but it's working fine ok far.

Also, it's free.
 

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DavidC
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Things are going to get interesting here in PA next week. The "Home Improvent Consumer Protection Act" becomes effective. We now have to have a signed contract with start and finish dates included. I have a had time getting there in "the next week or two", now I have a contact that saws Tuesday.
By some miraculous quirk the minimum finish window in our contracts seems to be 30 days form start to finish. Always make sure to add some breathing room.

Good Luck
Dave
 

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We might get sued over scheduling. We started a home actually 6 weeks before permit 1. We needed Permit 1 in order to apply for permit 2 and it took 3 months to get the 2nd permit. The home was basically 90% finished in 4 months, then it took 6 weeks for final certificates to arrive from jurisdiction 2 and now we are getting creamed by the client. Our whole delivery got "F***** Up with gas, trucking companies out of business. We ate $ 8,000 on delivery.

This is the first project in 25 years where I have had clients are just fuming and lost total trust, Customer just is blinded and everything has been our fault and yet, even though I am sick about it they think I am scum. I spent over $ 30,000 out of pocket on a $ 128,000 job to try and finish the job and deliver.

I have laid awake at nights trying to figure out how not to have something like this happen again. What would you tell a customer ? It may take 6 months to get a permit - or 2 more months to be release to deliver their home?

The building departments don't care - but I have to answer them with a complaint from the customer- It took you guys 6 months for permits? Now I'm in trouble and have no where to go.

What would you say to future customers ?

Terry
 

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We might get sued over scheduling. We started a home actually 6 weeks before permit 1. We needed Permit 1 in order to apply for permit 2 and it took 3 months to get the 2nd permit. The home was basically 90% finished in 4 months, then it took 6 weeks for final certificates to arrive from jurisdiction 2 and now we are getting creamed by the client. Our whole delivery got "F***** Up with gas, trucking companies out of business. We ate $ 8,000 on delivery.

This is the first project in 25 years where I have had clients are just fuming and lost total trust, Customer just is blinded and everything has been our fault and yet, even though I am sick about it they think I am scum. I spent over $ 30,000 out of pocket on a $ 128,000 job to try and finish the job and deliver.

I have laid awake at nights trying to figure out how not to have something like this happen again. What would you tell a customer ? It may take 6 months to get a permit - or 2 more months to be release to deliver their home?

The building departments don't care - but I have to answer them with a complaint from the customer- It took you guys 6 months for permits? Now I'm in trouble and have no where to go.

What would you say to future customers ?

Terry
I would just be honest, and tell them, look we can't get the permit and there isn't anyone else that is going to be able to get it faster, please be patient, and then give them the inspectors # let them bug the **** out of him:thumbsup:
 

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We've turned a difficult client loose on an inspector before. It might not fix anything, but at least their life is now as miserable as your's! :)

Not to be a prick, but it might help get the client to see what you're up against.
~Matt
 
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