Do you think spending time on job costing is important in your business?
And just like that. . .we are at the close of the first month of 2022. You may feel somewhat relaxed that your business goals have been set, your strategic plan has been updated, and budget has been implemented. Congratulations on completing these SUPER important tasks! Am I hearing that maybe some of you haven’t completed these tasks? Don’t worry-there’s still time!
Now, I ask you…how will you be measuring progress/profitability to ensure you are keeping pace with your plans and making timely adjustments as needed? We often forget this critical step required for ultimate success. As Jerry Seinfeld would say about a reservation, “You know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s REALLY the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.” Replace “reservation” with “goals”. Anybody can set them, but the important part is the “holding” or in the business sense staying accountable to make them happen.
So how do we accomplish this? If you are a business that creates proposals, bids, estimates, produces a product, sells retail items, etc. how do you measure profit earned against what you expected? This is most commonly referred to as Job Costing, which is nothing more than a precise method of tracking all the costs and revenue associated with a particular project/item. Almost any type of business that provides products or services to clients stands to benefit from Job Costing.
According to an article on Oracle Netsuite.com, “One of the most impactful decisions a business makes is what to charge for a product, project or service. In service industries, where the payroll costs are often the largest line item, it can be especially important to incorporate job costing. It’s one of the most important accounting practices for small businesses to reach gross profit margin goals. Accurate job costing can improve profitability, help you better manage employee scheduling and be a key component of prompt financial reporting. Proper job costing leads to better profitability, project estimating, management decisions and timely financial reporting.” (https://bit.ly/3KiINx4)
For some businesses, the lack of job costing models can be the Grim Reaper. And the worst part, many business owners don’t discover this until it’s too late and the business has to close its doors. I’ve seen it and it’s very sad because the simple concept of job costing could have changed all that and more!
You’ve heard me say, “Stop leaving money on the table”, well if you are not job costing, I guestimate at least 75% of you are not making the amount of profit you could or should be making. You may think you made a solid profit and are content with dollars earned… but did you really earn all you anticipated earning?
As a Business Consultant, it is my responsibility to ensure my clients are making the most they can based on the inputs utilized. Work smarter not harder, right? What if you could be making 5%,10%, or more extra revenue on every product/service provided? More money with the same inputs? HECK YEAH!
Allow me to share a case study based on discoveries with a former client of mine. This is a 15+ year service business consistently demonstrating growth and profitability. To simplify, I will focus on only one input—labor.
Billable Hourly Rate – $250
Total Proposal = $56,250
Total Labor Hours Required – 225
Avg. Hourly Labor Wage – $100
Total Labor Cost = $22,500
If the total proposal = $56,250, then $33,750 of that would be the expected “profit” on labor.
$56,250 – $22,500 = $33,750 (“profit”)
Actual Total Labor Hours Worked – 300
Avg. Hourly Labor Wage – $100
Total Labor Cost = $30,000
Because it took 75 more labor hours (33% overage) to complete the project than proposed, the “profit” is reduced from:
$33,750 to $26,250 ($56,250 Billed – $30,000 Total Labor Cost)
The business still billed the client $56,250 and is paid $56,250. Yay! The business received what it anticipated, right? WRONG! Since labor costs were higher than expected, the actual “lost profit” in this job = $7,500 ($33,750 – $26,250).
How many jobs can the business continue to complete losing $7,500 before it begins to affect cash flow? And how much did the business incur in lost “profit” for the year?
In the months to come, I will discuss how you can use the results of job costing to improve many other facets of a business. Stay tuned!