Electrical project management is probably not something you look forward to. If you’re like most electricians, you love being on-site, getting your hands dirty and solving problems – not doing more paperwork!
However, whether you like it or not, project management is an essential part of getting the job done right. Here are a few tips to make electrical project management faster and easier, so you can get back to the things you actually want to be doing - and finally have some free time to go to the pub!
The number one thing that gets customers riled up is a lack of communication. They understand that things go wrong, and there will be delays and bumps in the road. It’s your job – as part of your electrical project management – to keep them informed. Pick up the phone and tell your customers what’s happening!
When you do communicate with customers, your team or anywhere else, always ensure it’s in writing. If it’s not written down, it might as well never have happened.
When you quote any electrical job, you included an estimated number of person-hours. Use those estimates as your project schedule, and measure progress against them. If you get to halfway through the time and you’re not halfway finished, it might be time to make some changes!
Good project management always starts with a detailed project program. It helps everyone to stay on track and meet targets and helps to ensure projects are profitable.
If you’re like smaller electrical businesses, you might have limited resources, whether that’s people, equipment, or something else. As part of your electrical project management plan, you need to make sure that all of your resources are always where they will have the most benefit.
Tracking your people, vehicles and equipment on a calendar or schedule makes it easy to see at a glance what is where, and where it might need to be next.
The big problem with any kind of electrical job is that you probably have a very different idea of how it will go to your customer. It’s important to help them understand the process. As much as you’d like to start every job before the ink is dry on the contract, it takes time to get materials, allocated people and get permits if you need them. Explain this to your customers because they probably don’t know.
No matter how detailed your quotes are, there’s always going to be room for miscommunication. Which means that the results you’re expecting to deliver might not align with what your customer is expecting. Always stay in touch, and make sure you manage expectations.
At the end of every job you do, you should sit down with your team for a post-mortem. Electrical project management is not an exact science, but you can improve when you know what’s not working and do more of what is.
Whether it’s how you estimate work to what kinds of tools and methods you use, there’s always room for improvement, and when you take the time to review your jobs, you will find them.
The good news for any tradesperson these days is that there are more tools than ever that can help you get the job done. You can use Gantt charts to create schedules and track progress. There are phone-based clock card apps, so you can track every hour your people spend on the job site.
There are also tools like Fuzey, that change the way service businesses and trades communicate with their team and with their clients.
Use tools like Fuzey to create a record of all your project communications. Stop using different calendars for your team and your clients, and schedule everything in one place, so it’s always at your fingertips. You can even allocate resources to different jobs, so you always know where your people are.
Technology has changed the way projects are managed, and when you take advantage of that, you can definitely get the job done faster. So, you’ll always have more time to do the things you really want to do.