"Make it easy, and they'll get done."
When you ask someone in construction if they fill out daily reports, a lot of times you'll get this sort of guilty look - it’s a, 'I totally should, but don't'. Reminds me of the look I probably give my doctor when he asks if I'm eating healthy and exercising. Daily reporting is a necessary evil for all builders out there. The truth is, if they're done right, they can totally save your ass and even throw a positive impact to your bottom line. Let's look at a few ways that daily reports can help you out.
The construction industry is a cut-throat industry. It's the home of many competitors, varying experiences, weak reputations, thin margins and skeptical consumers. Firms are constantly searching for differentiators. Anything can be a differentiator, but what makes one better than another is not only the value it adds for the customer, but the cost at which it comes. The ability to find a value-add that the customer will love and not only come with a $0-add price tag, but also save the construction company money. Daily reports are no doubt a value-add for the customer, with photos and jobsite narratives, but also a record book for the firm.
Nearly all contracts, and on many different scales, owners/customers require notification of changes or delay as quickly as possible. Daily reports can serve as a notice of those delays and changes. And, if they are actually sent in daily, can help create quite a secure basis for a claim. Or, at the very least, act as a tool to initiate a conversation with an owner or prime regarding claims.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. If you can find the smoldering, ready-to-ignite issues, you can likely prevent them. This is all about putting some simple tools in place that will enable you to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. This brings us to a more elevated version of daily reporting. We're beyond the photos and narrative alone, and are introducing some simple metrics to measure and track the performance of the jobsite team. Think safety incidents, quality incidents, employee time, etc. Keeping an eye on these few items can be a true indicator of the performance, and, as a result, the success of the team.
Pro Tip: If you're going to do daily reports, do it right. Do it easy. Luckily, we're in the 21st century where the days of printing a photo and scanning in to attach to PDF Daily Report are long gone. There are tools out there. Get the right tool for the job. There are a few different Daily Reporting apps out there, there are fillable PDF's, etc. I'm not here just to push our own product. Get what works for you and your team. Make it easy, and they'll get done.
The hardest part about daily reporting is, what seems like, the constant harping and constant filling out of these things. It's an all-day deal. Pulling out your notebook, jotting some notes down, and doing it again and again, every few hours. Then, if you're not doing this electronically, chances are you'll then have to sit down at a computer and actually fill a form out that will get sent in. AND you probably want photos, so you have to email yourself the photos so you can attach them to the report. Stop it already. Just stop it.
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