You can’t afford to miss bid deadlines, financial commitments and other important business items.

Your memory is a wonderful resource for trivia and recalling all of those happy personal and family situations. But do not bring it to work! You cannot afford to forget any of those thousands of critical tasks, important people’s names, financial commitments, and especially promises you’ve made.

Keep in mind that “old school” adage, where a man is only as good as his word. When you make a promise and forget to keep it, you have lied to that individual.

We will look at some of the practical business-related checklists that you can trust to enable you to accomplish what you need to each day. Simple personal checklists also will remind you of your spouse’s birthday and your anniversary, as well as all of the important events involving your immediate family, relatives and close friends.

Before we could rely on computerized memory banks, I used a shirt-pocket-sized notebook and a desktop calendar pad. All day long, as I traveled to our jobsites or attended meetings, I made notes of everything I needed to take care of or delegate. The next morning I tore out the previous day’s “to-do” list, wrote a new list for the day and put the future committments on the proper day of my desk calendar.

These simple little checklists saved our company millions of dollars and also personal embarrassment and frustration for me. Having a personal secretary to constantly remind me fortified that entire procedure, but we will cover that in another article.

Today’s pocket-sized computers, PCs and desktop computers make remembering critical tasks and details more reliable. But the biggest problem never changes: You still have to remember to enter your data into the computer and refer back to it. That’s why we call it a checklist!

For Bid Completion:

Let’s begin with bidding a new project:
1. You should have a checklist of overhead and office expenses; check off the items that apply to this project.

2. Likewise with a checklist of jobsite tasks, tools, equipment storage, material handling, travel and subsistence.

3. As you review the entire set of plans and specs, you should add to the checklist any unusual cost situations to be sure you include that in your bid.

4. You need a “scope of work included” and a “scope of work not included” checklist to eliminate any oversight or missed items in your bid, especially safety requirements.

5. Always check this checklist before you bid.

If you are the successful low bidder and are awarded the contract, you need a checklist for your kick-off meeting to ensure that all of the critical information is passed on to your management team:

  • Your checklist should include names of those individuals who could add to your value-engineering. This is especially important for establishing how much of this project should be pre-fabbed.
  • You need “by who” and “by when” blanks after every task or item necessary to complete the project on time.

  • For The Jobsite

    Your traveling project manager or superintendent should carry a jobsite visit checklist to assure quality control, cost control, jobsite coordination, jobsite paperwork, safety, returns on materials, company tools, equipment and any rentals.

    Your jobsite foreman should use a daily “to-do” checklist in addition to a weekly checklist that is coordinated with the jobsite superintendent at their weekly meetings:
    1. Your foreman’s checklist should include the status of materials needed for each daily task (in the trailer, at the shop, on order with delivery dates, etc.). You cannot afford any costly, wasted trips for shortages.

    2. His or her weekly checklist should include manpower needs for specific tasks.

    3. The daily checklist should include these jobsite critical paperwork requirements:

  • A complete daily log (which should have its own checklist).
  • Daily time sheets and cost codes.
  • As-built drawing updates.
  • Extra work orders or verbal changes.

    4. As the project nears completion, your foreman should create a prepunch checklist to expedite final completion and payment.

  • For Service Work, Inventory Control And Accounting

    Those contractors who do service work naturally need a checklist for stocking tools and materials in their service trucks. Typically their service orders for each job include a complete checklist of what to do, as well as what they encountered and accomplished on each trip.

    You also need these checklists at your shop and warehouse. Inventory control needs to be constantly upgraded to provide access to new, returned or used materials.

    A visible magnetic schedule board or erasable marker board assures ample competent manpower for each project and for your fab shop. Your computerized skills inventory database provides a checklist for your training and also gives access to qualified techs for your schedule board.

    You also have many recurring tasks in your office that you cannot trust to memory:

  • Your accounting department receives billing for most, but not all, of these critical on-time payments: insurance, licenses, rent, leases, income tax, sales tax, etc. You need an updated checklist for monthly draws on each project to assure your request is included in the general contractor’s draw to the owners.
  • You must hold quarterly OSHA safety committee meetings.
  • You need to attend continuing education programs to renew your licenses.
  • You must send out W-2 forms before tax time.
  • You should monitor each employee’s progress with training and productivity every month.

  • For Employees Old And New

    Lastly, you cannot afford to forget to take care of your employees. You should have checklists and dates to eliminate any possibility of overlooking any of these critical human relations:
    1. Interviewing and hiring checklist to ask the right questions, and document answers and promises.

    2. Orientation checklist to ensure your new employee is familiar with all company procedures and policies. This orientation should include introduction to your chain of command, key personnel, and his or her 90-day mentor. You need to issue and review your safety manual, and have the new employee sign to attest to receiving HazCom training.

    He should complete your databased skill inventory to let you know what skills he already possesses and what skills he needs to learn.

    3. You need to negotiate a written job description for every employee who does not have full-time supervision. This “scope of work” should be maintained in that employee’s performance file to record above and below agreed-upon performance.

    4. You need a checklist for wage reviews - and do it a minimum of once each year.

    5. You should have a checklist for all of your jobsite supervisors’ CPR and first-aid training. These OSHA-required certificates need updating every two years.

    It’s easy to understand why you should maintain these critical checklists. Forgetting to take care of any one of these tasks or commitments could be very costly; checklists are free.

    We are so busy trying to take care of every detail in this competitive construction industry, it is almost impossible to remember everything. When you consider all of the interruptions and emergencies that occur frequently, your only hope to cover all your commitments is to check that checklist!