Year-End Progress Billing

December 8, 2011

Q: Do you have any year-end tips on project closeout incentives?

A: Yes, if you need to, pay the overtime in order to avoid penalty or cause delays that damage your reputation. This time of year I encourage our members to focus on project close out and progress billings. I call it the “relentless pursuit of substantial completion.”

The key word is relentless. Pay your field staff the OT to finish the job completely. Also, think about ways to encourage, or even give a small bonus to, the PM’s and exempt office staff to have every ongoing project caught up with progress billing on stored materials.

Like many others, you probably have several jobs sitting at 95% complete. Go heads down between now and December 31, to get the substantial completion forms signed and back well before the holiday break. Please note that some GC’s play the year-end game where they want your work completed so they can bill, yet the week before Christmas until after the New Year, the office is closed for document processing.

I’m not being a scrooge, I’m just saying that the next three weeks are a very important time to square-up all of your progress billings, collections, stored materials, WIP reports, inventory write downs, collect owed retainage, etc. It’s very easy to slip backwards in December when we really have so few productive days left in the month.

I would also add that we cause about ½ of our own problems on contract closeouts – primarily because we don’t follow the procedures outlined in the spec book. The system is done, works fine, all tested, etc., but the substantial completion forms, documentation, not so much. It’s that last 5% we can’t seem to get motivated to finish.

Keep every ongoing project in the billing cycle. When you deliver your gift basket to the EC’s and GC’s, remember to thank them for their business, hand them substantial completion forms, progress billing and wait there until they sign them… or something like that. — CW

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