As you read this, you are in your eighth month of operation, based on an accounting cycle of January through December.

Every member in the company, whether they realize it or not, has their own specific responsibility regarding the yearly company budget so that it can be on-time and on-budget. Let me suggest some common examples of who might be responsible for what:

  • Sales/Estimators – Total sales of the company
  • Owner(s)  – The entire company budget
  • Administration – The entire overhead
  • Production  – All direct job costs

Whether one functions as an owner, estimator, secretary, bookkeeper, accounts receivable person or field technician within the company, each individual needs to know the individual part of the budget that they are each being held responsible for. If each individual knows what they are being held responsible for, it’s therefore been made very clear what is expected of them. It also becomes very clear as to whether or not an individual is doing the job that is expected of them. If they do their job, then they have earned what they are being paid. If they do less than what they are being paid to do, they have been overpaid. If they do more than what they are being paid to do, then they have been underpaid.

“Accountability” is a buzz word that a lot of people throw around every day. It always seems to be used to hold others accountable, but never oneself.  All members of the company have responsibilities, but not all members are willing to be held accountable for their responsibilities.

So let’s pretend you are seeing this information for the first time, what should you consider doing with it? I would suggest that you consider how it applies to you and your position in your company. I would determine what my job is and what it is not. I would review all that has been written about what my job responsibilities are and what they are not. I would then determine whether or not I am capable of doing the job that I’m being paid to do. 

For example, let’s say that you decide that you are capable of doing the job that you are being paid to do. I would then determine how I can become more efficient, more effective and more profitable doing my job. For instance, if my responsibility for a job budget is 100 hours in Xactimate, I would work at getting it done in less time. To start, I would try to get it done in 90 hours. Let’s say that you are successful and you get it done in 90 hours. On your time off, decide what you did well and what you need to improve on the next time you get this type of job. By doing this after each job you complete, you will begin to see a work pattern that will allow you to get better and better at meeting or beating the budgeted hours. As you begin to become known as an individual that that can meet or beat an estimated budget, you will become an employee who is worth additional compensation for what you do, based on what you do. 

If you want to become even more valuable to yourself and your company, be willing to show others how they can improve at their job. Help them to become more efficient and more effective at their job. A good employee is a very important part of a company. A good employee will be sought after and retained by a good company.

In the disaster restoration industry, there are times when there is no budget at the start of the loss, but there comes a time when you begin to get a feel for how long it will take to complete the job. At that time, there needs to be agreement as to when the job will be completed. At that time, you need to commit to bringing the job in on-time and on-budget. This is not an easy task. There are times when people will not be fair in their assessment, your responsibility is to share what you think can be achieved. They may not agree with you, but the important part is for you to be honest in your assessment. 

Once the budget is set, do your best to complete the budget on time. Whether you end up right or wrong on the budget result does not matter nearly as much as the fact that you did your best to achieve the budget. As you continue to work at each job budget and continue to do your best, you will begin to form a work pattern that will be the best approach to all future jobs. You will build trust and respect with the people that you work with. You will also raise the bar as to others working in the same manner that you have been working at with your efforts.

 If everyone in the company works to achieve on-time and on-budget, you will have a company that is capable of becoming a great company, a great place to work and a company that can continue to operate profitably in any type of economy!