Knowing Your Numbers-Project Metrics for Your Land Surveying Company

Knowing Your Numbers-Project Metrics for Your Land Surveying Company

Knowing Your Numbers-Project Metrics for Your Land Surveying Company

In earlier Premium Posts, I wrote Knowing Your Numbers-Business Metrics for Your Land Surveying Company, an article on which business metrics you can use to run your land surveying business, and Knowing Your Numbers-How To Measure Your Success, an article on the importance of developing your own set of metrics and benchmarks to accurately measure your success.

In this Premium Membership post I expand on that theme; specifically how to use Project Metrics for your land surveying company.

Your land surveying business, no doubt, collects at least two business and project metrics, being: Time and Employee. Every week you have a the metrics of your employees hours worked, what projects they've worked on, or time spent on non-project specific hours worked. Because this is the least data required to collect to pay your employees, this is often where project metrics collection ends in many land surveying firms.

With this minimal amount of collected project data, you simply do not know and understand enough about your land surveying projects and business to run your business.

Project Metrics for Your Land Surveying Company

One question you might have is, why do I want/need to collect project metrics? Here are a few answers to that question:

  • Project Cost/Bid Preparation.
  • Project Progress Evaluation.
  • Project Employee and Team Evaluation.

Let's start by looking at each one of the above concepts.

Project Cost/Bid Preparation

Because the cost of your projects is largely based on your employee cost, how can you possibly calculate your beforehand your project fee, when bidding on a project? You could guess, but wouldn't it be better to know?

Even if you think that you understand what any one of your land surveying project types takes to get done, I bet you'd be quite surprised when confronted with the hard numbers. Most land surveyors are. Besides, business, like life, is never static, is always changing, and you need to have reasonably up to the minute estimates to your real costs.

Project Progress Evaluation

Each and every one of your land surveying projects, no matter how small, needs to have planned goals as a road map to decide if your project was successful or not. Typically, your project metrics come from the project bidding process.

Small and fast projects can probably be evaluated at the projects end. Medium to large land surveying projects, however, can benefit greatly from evaluations performed at predetermined project milestones. There's no better way to turn around a potentially failed project than to find early on that your project is running over and then make mid-stream adjustments.

Project Employee and Team Evaluation

Employee and team evaluations are sometimes based on faulty logic and favoritism, and not on facts. I think we've all worked someplace where the company "favorites" don't mesh with the reality in the workplace. As a business owner or manager, you cannot afford for subjective and deluded evaluations, which only hurts your profitability, while breeding employee discontent.

Wouldn't you agree that you want a smart, fair and profitable land surveying business? Well, you can't be smart if you don't know the numbers driving your business. You also can't be fair if you don't evaluate your employees and project teams using objective metrics. And, you don't stand a chance at being profitable, while being proud of your professional firm, without being business smart and unflinchingly fair.

What Project Metrics to Collect and Use?

So, you might now ask, what project metrics should I collect and use? Projects found in every land surveying, engineering and design firm is different, so it's difficult to say exactly what will be the correct metrics to collect for you.

However, here are a few thoughts on what project metrics to collect and use:

  • Research: Parcels/Hour.
  • Recon: Lineal Feet/Hour.
  • Setup: Lineal Feet/Hour.
  • GPS Control: Control Points/Hour.
  • Traverse: Lineal Feet/Hour or Number of Traverses/Hour.
  • Topo: Locations/Hour or Locations/Area (which still are related to time).
  • Road Layout: Lineal Feet/Hour.
  • Boundary Resolution: Lineal Feet/Hour or Acres/Hour or Parcels/Hour.
  • CAD Drafting: This is a tough one, find what works for your projects. Parcels/Hour or Lineal Feet/Hour.
In the next Premium Post, I'll discuss how to develop your own project metrics. Remember, if you don't know you numbers - business, project, or otherwise - you are driving your business without direction.
This Professional Land Surveyor Premium Post by Eric Colburn, PLS, Professional Land Surveyor Revivalist & Adviser.

Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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