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Document Better: Your Crews Will Thank You

Document better header

Whether you’ve been in business for two months or twenty years (or maybe you’re thinking about starting your own business), you know a few hard facts: you love what you do and you’re good at what you do.

Hard facts aside, there are parts of running a business that you may not know about or have resources to help you grow and develop. Here at CompanyCam, our goal is to help contractors and service providers like you level up your business game. At the end of the day, we want to help improve your work-life — we have business tips to share!

In this blog you’ll learn how to: 

  1. broaden your understanding of running a successful business and 

  2. explore solutions to help your company successfully scale.

Less of a reader? More of a watcher? Check out Nicole’s Notes Mini-Series through the hyperlink.

Why does it matter if you like your job?

It’s impossible to fully separate work and home life, especially when emotions are involved. Negative emotions that result from disliking your job: such as apathy, annoyance, pessimism, frustration, you name it! Those emotions can be brought home and affect how you interact with family and friends. 

When you like your job, positive emotions like excitement, gratitude, pride, and hope are more likely to result. These emotions translate into your personal life. Interactions with family and friends improve!

Long story short, if you’re miserable at work, that misery follows you home and affects other areas of your life. If you enjoy what you do, the positive vibes are noticeable by those around you.

TAKEAWAY QUESTION: To make your job and life-outside-of-work more enjoyable, what is one area in your job that could be more efficient?”

How are you documenting and keeping track of notes?

To get documentation right, there are 5 things to keep in mind.

The 5 W’s of Documenting:

  1. What is documenting? Documentation is when you capture information for a job — be it through photos, videos, voice memos, or documents.

  2. Why should documentation happen? To ensure client needs are met while complying with any regulations, capture unplanned costs, protect you and your business from client claims of damage and/​or to submit to insurance for payment. Photo documentation on a job site is important.

  3. Who should be documenting? Anyone on your crew who interacts with a job site in any way (office staff, foremen, crew, etc.).

  4. When and Where should documentation take place? From the moment you step on a prospective client’s property for a potential bid, documentation should begin. Follow this list:
    1. identifying what work needs to be done (to convey to production crew)

    2. any pre-existing conditions are present (to protect against any claims of damage done by your crew), 

    3. through the production process to show what work is being done, 

    4. the time frame and existing conditions, and 

    5. after production is completed to show the final product — how the property was left (Is it clean? Is it professional?)

Good documentation is detailed, thorough, and consistent. Poor documentation is scattered, vague, and, at worst, leaves you vulnerable to potential lawsuits. 

As Luke says, truth on the ground is what will set you apart.

TAKEAWAY Question: How is documentation affecting your life?”

Storing Solutions: Where do you store the information you gather?

If storing client and business information digitally, it’s vital to have secure storage solutions. 

To bring your storage solutions to the next level, having a platform that allows your crew to see project information in one location without needing to share, download, or upload is key.

Dropbox and Google Drive allow for secure storage, but add steps to your workflow, requiring files to be shared by the owner and potentially downloaded/​uploaded into other softwares, like a CRM, estimating and proposal software, or invoicing software.

CompanyCam removes those extra steps to save you and your crew time. Information is accessible to your crew anywhere anytime to speed up processes and remove unnecessary steps to your workflow.

If you’re not using CompanyCam yet, take a look at it today. It could be your storage solution!

Don’t use CompanyCam yet?

Get your team up and running in less than 3 minutes.

CompanyCam also offers unlimited storage! Think about all the photos and videos you can capture. Say bye-bye to cluttered google folders, long text chains, and lost photos.

TAKEAWAY Question: Which storage system is your company using and is there a better alternative?”

Setting up crew structures for success

The traditional business model looks a little like a waterfall. The business levels are likely in this order: Owner/​CEO at the top, followed by Admin/​General Managers who oversee Project Managers and Foremen who have crews that they’re in charge of.

The more levels, the bigger chance of miscommunication, time wasters, and confusion. If a transparent structure isn’t in place, you’re doomed.

Some time wasters could include: traveling to and from multiple job sites, wrong work being done and needing to be re-done, instructions or information not being conveyed, delaying production, etc. The room for error becomes larger and larger.

A transparent structure allows for a more cross-functional team dynamic. There are resources in place to support all members.

Results of reducing time wasters could include: 

  • saving money on gas, 

  • ability to oversee multiple projects at different locations at one time, 

  • work being done correctly the first time, 

  • questions being answered or clarified at the moment so production can run smoothly.

TAKEAWAY Question: What is one time waster you can negate to set your crew up for a better chance of success?”

Invoicing and follow up tips

The process of invoicing depends primarily on the company. It changes from business to business. But! Make sure the role is explicit and clear, involve the clients from the very beginning, and make expectations crystal clear. 

Does the client know where they should send payment?

If the answer isn’t a resounding Yes”, you may want to rethink your collection procedure. If expectations aren’t set for when payment is due (i.e. half before production begins and half the day production ends), this opens up a number of potential problems, such as: The client giving payment to a crew member, returning to the job site after working hours to request payment, or reviews not being as high due to the miscommunication or lack of communication.

Why is it important to be clear on how and when payment is collected?

If payment collection isn’t clear to the client, there’s a greater chance of anxiety on the client’s part. If that anxiety isn’t addressed with a clear structure, the client may create expectations of their own in their head. If those expectations aren’t met, your business may suffer from a poor review despite the good work your crew did.

TAKEAWAY Question: How does your company’s invoicing process affect you and your overall company?”

More resources for those looking to GROW their business like a pro:

  1. Business Tips: 💰Four Tips to Up Your Client Game as a Landscaper
  2. Employee Advice: 🤝 Learn About Why Internal Promotions is a Game Changer
  3. Mini-Series: 🎬 How to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance

We hope these tips help your business become more efficient. Check out the Nicole’s Notes video below for an additional landscaping pointer!

As one of the business development representatives at CompanyCam, Nicole spends her time building and nurturing partner relationships, enhancing partner network experiences through content creation, and traveling around the country to attend trade shows. 

Outside of work, Nicole can be found with a book in hand or with an audiobook playing, doing some DIY project around her house (some more intense than others), or elbow-deep in dough for a new baking experiment.

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