Give adequate consideration to the amount of physical labor required for a job in determining the length of time you can realistically devote to a project. Give careful consideration to the length of the project in relation to the amount of physical labor.

Your anticipated labor requirements should be forecast at least several months in advance, or your schedule may end up in disaster. Create a projected monthly budget in labor based on the jobs that are in the house and what you expect to get. Prepare in advance what your manpower requirements will be. If you have a heavy need for a certain period of time, see that enough labor is available in time to provide training and familiarity with your firm’s systems. In slow periods, try to acquire service work.

If you don’t schedule your labor, you can unexpectedly run into overtime requirements that you have to pay for. Always try to work out a schedule with the general contractor where you can coordinate your own work schedule with other subcontractors. If your general contractor speeds up his completion schedule ahead of the time he originally gave you, remind him that he is responsible for overtime pay. Check the specific contract document first, as it may be your responsibility.

A time schedule, broken down by job sections, should be a part of every contract you negotiate. Any penalty clause you have to sign for running behind schedule should be balanced by an incentive clause for early completion. In any case, don’t accept a clause that will penalize you for failure of other subcontractors to finish in time and leave the work area free and ready for your own crew.

NOTE: For other closely related topics, be sure to review the section on Planning & Organizing (#26) in this series of articles on Business and Job Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to

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