Caroline Foulger, chairwoman of Bermuda Business Development Agency, encouraged the third sector to follow the example of the international business community by undergoing tough measures that could lead to a brighter long-term future. Ms Foulger told the audience:
They default to Cost Plus because they believe these contracts will allow them to bill for all their job costs, all their overhead and make a profit. Unfortunately, this seldom happens. For more on how to estimate a construction job, review our Profitable Estimating Training Class.
Not knowing how to establish a sales price. This list applies to all general contractors and most specialty contractors in the construction industry.
An exception would be using Time and Material billing for service work such as electrical, plumbing or HVAC service calls. Attorneys practicing law in the same town will often have different definitions of what is a Cost Plus or Time and Material Contract. When the job goes beyond the not to exceed clause, you must have written authorization to do that work signed, dated and completely priced out change work order or your customer is not obligated to pay you for the work.
Some states now have laws that specifically prohibit the use of Cost Plus contracts. This increases the chances that the original "estimate" for work to be done will be low to very low. An estimate below the actual price will lead to a fight over money when the avid weekly writing and drawing in the margins definition costs start coming in and the customer is requested to pay more for the job than the original estimate.
Owners often go into a Cost Plus contract thinking they have ample money to cover the job. For your own protection, you must keep an accurate day to day log of all labor, materials, sub-contract and other fees or costs on the job to be able to verify your actual expenses to date.
If you do not, depending on your contract, you may not be able to collect for undocumented expenses, regardless of what kind of or how much work has been done.
In addition, you must have in your possession every document from the job that has incurred a cost. This includes all time cards, invoices, or any other papers related to the project.
If you lose any item, you may not be paid for it. With the need to keep very careful records on the jobs, you substantially increase the amount of meeting and preparatory time necessary for the job. Often this time will be 3 to 4 times the amount of time necessary to complete a fixed figure contract.
Who pays for the meeting time and the extra administration time to prep all documents for labor and invoices from subs and suppliers? If a mistake is made on the plans, who pays for the time it takes to redraw the plans, and who pays to tear out the mistake and rebuild it?
Who pays for the Engineering if the Owner forgets to include it on the plans that they provide, and who pays for your down time while you wait for these revisions?
Suppose Engineering on a portion of the job gets by the plans examiner, the inspector catches the problem, and the job has to shut down until the engineering is complete and new plans drawn and ready to use.
Who pays for tearing out the wrong structural work completed and the materials that are ruined due to tear out? Who pays for the additional labor needed to correct the problem?
Who pays for the down time for you and your crew, driving time, re-start up time? Will the Owner be willing to pay for your travel time to and from your office for meetings or discussions on problems that might arise on the job, or from the job site to your suppliers and back to the job site for material pickup that either they or you forgot?
Do you donate your time or is the customer willing to pay for it? Who pays for ruined materials? Who pays to go get the new materials and the cost of the vehicle expense to do the pickup? If you do, will you be paid for that time? The Contractor is expected to guarantee those materials when installed, not to mention losing the markup on those materials.
Who pays for the time to replace defective materials supplied by the owner? Who pays to get the forgotten items? What happens if it takes the owner two or three days or longer to get the needed materials to the job site?
What do you and your crews do in the meantime and who pays for that down time? Owner goes to your supplier with your permission charges materials for the job to your account. What happens if you send the owner to a certain supplier you normally use for materials, they purchase the materials, and then later claim that they could have purchased the same materials at another location at a better price?
You gave them the higher priced supplier to go to, so you are responsible for the difference in cost. This will increase the probability of complaints from the customer that they could have bought the same item elsewhere for less money.
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