Archive for June, 2009
Make no bones about it – times are tough. This lackadaisical economy continues to drag down construction companies as many worry as to how they will make it into next year. But there are some good things happening out there as a result of the stimulus and some good old-fashioned brainstorming by business owners who have decided to revamp, diversify and take on the complicated world of Federal Contracting.The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is collecting success stories from construction companies from across the country. To see how others like yourself are surviving click here.
As this stubborn economy continues to painfully drag along it is also dragging along with it the financial well-being of contractors and subcontractors. Their pay cycles are at least twice as long as they were just last year which eats into their profitability. The returns on retainage are taking even longer. This cash flow issue has many thinking long and hard about their options. Do they go after those who owe and risk losing business or do they continue to wait longer and longer as their cash flow slowly chokes off. It is not an easy choice.
We are hearing this from many of our customers and in fact we too are receiving our payments WAY passed the usual 30-day billing cycle. Engineering News-Record recently published a thorough article that dissects this very issue.
Are you having similar experiences? How and what are you doing to muddle through the murky economic future? To find out what others just like you are experiencing go here.
When it comes to Estimating, you can never have enough tricks and inside tips. With the current economic situation, Estimators are worth their weight in gold. We thought we would offer a few tips you might want to use with your Timberline Estimating Software.
These are some tips given to us by top-notch Timberline Estimating Consultant Barry Cassell. If you need more than a few tips – feel free to get in touch with Barry. He’s been known to build huge databases in a single day, help estimators do more with less and bring in double the business with the same amount of people. He’s also a really nice guy and pretty easy to talk to. You can find him here. You might even want to ask him about Timberline’s new Estimating Databases!
Timberline Estimating Tips:
• Use File Tools to move, rename, copy, & paste estimating files. Using Windows Explorer will corrupt Timberline data files. However it is perfectly safe to copy, move or rename entire FOLDERS, using Windows Explorer.
• Don’t even go into any of the folders named “PVData” There’s nothing useful you can do in a PVData folder, but you can do major damage. Do yourself a favor and steer clear.
• Workstation Configuration (in the “Edit/Options” menu):
o Ensure that the following boxes are checked:
Display Overline Totals when Expanded
Display Grand Total Unit Price
Display Grand Totals amounts
Display Allocated Addon amounts
o Display Fonts:
Change the Font Color to RED for “Display Zero Dollar Items”
There’s good reason many contractors do not wish to bid on government jobs – the litany of requirements and red tape can be overwhelming. But many are leaning toward the stimulus temptation what with the current economic situation and project availability slow-down. It is a recognizable hurdle and one that is trying to be remedied through the making of a new standard contract available for those interested in delving into the world of government contracting.An industry-wide coalition ConsensusDOCSTM has crafted a new contract agreement written to help contractors navigate the murky and often-confusing process of federal contracting.
Identified as ConsensusDOCS 752 – Subcontract for Federal Government Construction Projects encompasses the terms and conditions subcontractors and contractors need to be in compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations. It also includes the legal requirements needed to identify the legal status of employees.
Did you know that the Sage TImberline 9.5. and later releases of Sage Timberline Property Management include access to an Archive Leases wizard?
This wizard guides you through the process of moving or archiving leases that are no longer used in your day-to-day processing. Archived leases are removed from the main lease file, increasing the normal processing performance in Property Management. For example, accessing leases in Change Lease will be more efficient since you will not have to filter through obsolete leases.
Before archiving leases, all custom fields need to be made available for general use. To do this, go to File > Company Settings > Custom Fields and select [Yes] if you see the message Do you want to make these custom fields available for general use? Complete this step for the following custom field records:
• Lease Option
• Lease Insurance
• Lease Late Charge
• Lease Recurring Charge
State Route 87 between Payson and Pine will soon be getting a makeover. Money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus package which carved out $350 million for funding highway projects like the Payson/Pine stretch. The project gets underway June 22.
The money will go to improve guardrails, widen shoulders, repave the roadway, widen road for turn lanes, extend culverts, improve drainage and add signage. The improvements will cover a total of 2.3 miles and should be done by early next year.
For more info about the project click here…
To see the remaining stimulus jobs left to bind on or see what projects have already been awarded go here…
We recently had a customer contact us wanting to customize their Timberline Accounting System in order to take advantage of the latest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus money coming in to our community.
In order to satisfy state and federal requirements, which will be tracked as tightly as a lid on a newly canned jar of preserves, they will 1.) Need a way to track 120 homes to be refurbished 2.) They also need to track 500 applicants through the application process and 3.) Once the applicants are matched to a home, that third step must also be closely tracked. Here’s why.
Phoenix will receive $50 million stimulus dollars for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program effective last year. The stimulus money is here now and the city is leaning on the private sector to make things happen when it comes to tracking the myriad of information the U.S. government is requiring.
Through this program the city will match 120 homes with approved buyers. The idea is to rehabilitate foreclosed homes then make them available to people who have already gone through a very thorough screening process. People of limited means who are now in the unprecedented position of truly owning the home of their dreams.
Our client plans to use Timberline Job Cost and Project Management to track the subcontractors working on the rehabbed homes. This is critical because without the proper documentation being tracked by our customer, the city will not pay the subs. And that could be some bad, bad news all the way around. So definitely want to avoid that issue.
The creativity and imagination required of us here at DB Data Inc comes from the need to track the people in the program. General Contractors are used to tracking physical things like materials and buildings, time and labor but NOT people. That’s the fly in this stimulus ointment. The state program requires the people going through the process to be monitored very closely. They have a rigorous set of requirements that must be fulfilled achieve and every step of the process MUST be properly document in accordance with state and federal regulations. That’s a lot to handle, a lot of responsibility. Throw in the privacy laws and you begin to understand the magnitude of what we’re dealing with.
We came up with a solution and now are just hoping that our customer is awarded the contract this July so that we can implement our solution.
In these trying economic times, inventiveness, perseverance and creativity is what is needed to look past the immediate horizon and still be able to achieve our long-term goals. Whether it’s expanding the business, putting the kids through college or retiring early, we here at DB Data Inc understand and we are here to help you make it happen! As always feel free to contact us at anytime with any questions you might have about tight financial tracking through Sage Timberline, Project Management, or Service Management. We promise unparalleled customer service!
AZ Central has a major write-up about this program. To read more about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program itself, who is involved and who it will benefit go here.
Speeding up Economic Recovery lead today’s discussion between Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barak Obama.The Vice President presented the President with the Roadmap to Recovery, the key the administration believes is needed to ramp up the distribution of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act during the second 100 days.
The Vice President reported the creation of 150,000 jobs in the first 100 days since the passage of the ARRA in February. Biden also says contracts and funding could result in 600,000 new job for the summer. He also says the government is fast-tracking several stimulus projects to include:
*Construction and energy conservation contracts at 107 national parks.
*Improvements at 90 veteran’s medical centers.
*Rehabilitation and improvements at 98 Airports
*Rehabilitation and improvements at 1,500 highway locations
*Initiation of 2,300 construction and rehabilitation projects at 359 Military Facilities across the country
To read more go here.
Crystal Clear Reporting Clarified Just For You…Are your Sage Timberline Office Crystal Reports cumbersome? Not as streamlined as you would like them to be? We’ve gathered some tips from the pros and put together some top-notch suggestions made with you in mind. You can find them here.
Still not getting what you need? Why not call on Rock-Star Ego-Free DB Data Inc Senior Consultant Gary Jacobson. He is a Crystal Reports genius! He’s done it all. From creating complex customized payroll reports for government agencies that saved thousands of dollars, to helping people customize canned reports in order to tailor them to their specific office needs.
Did I mention he’s a really nice guy firstname.lastname@example.org
Heaven knows you close every month like clockwork, but are there some
pointers that could shorten the process for you? Is there something
MORE you can do to make your month-end life a little better?
C.P.A., C.M.A and Timberline Certified Consultant Christine Kettelkamp
put together a pretty thorough primer for you.
Wanna know her secrets? We thought you might! Find them here…