Dean’s Paperwork Tips

13 December 2013

So I’m the same as a lot of tradespeople: I. Hate. Paperwork.

But over the years I have found that executing a few simple things helped me become a bit more organised and efficient than many of my tradesman friends.

Putting a little bit of effort into how you deal with the random bits of essential paperwork will free up some well deserved time and stop plenty of headaches when the accountant, wife or customer requests come flooding in.

Here are my top tips on getting paperwork sorted:

Job folder(s): 
Get into the habit of creating a folder whenever a potential job surfaces. This could be in the physical kind or digital kind as both become a dumping place for anything associated with any specific job. I personally prefer the physical kind as it is quicker and more convenient  as you can take it wherever you go. You could get into the habit of scanning paperwork and saving into a folder on your PC.

I literally put everything in this folder, from the notes I take when the customer calls in to discuss the possible job through to a copy of the final invoice. Once the Job is complete you can file this folder away with all the associated paperwork ready to hand over when your booker comes knocking.

Bank statements:
As soon as these appear through the door they get filed in date order ready for the accountant/book keeper to do their stuff.

Purchase Receipts:
I am in the habit of trying to include a reference for all job specific purchases. Some suppliers allow you to provide a reference that is printed onto the receipt but others do not.  Quickly write the name of the customer on the receipt before filing away within the specific job folder.

After writing up a quotation or estimate I always make my self a copy. My Quotes are all created on my PC so it’s nice and easy to print off a duplicate but should you be in the habit of hand written quotes and estimates then it would certainly pay to photocopy this and file away within the job folder. You can even purchase off the shelf or custom designed NCR sets that will duplicate the quote/estimate onto a separate sheet for you to keep hold of.

Most of us need to visit the site before providing a quote or estimate to view the possible job. This leads to notes needing to be taken to ensure accurate costing. If like me you carry out similar tasks for all customers you may find it beneficial to create a survey form. This helps me capture info and aid in preparing the quotation. This is yet another piece of paper that you will want to keep safely filed in case the customer calls up to discuss the job and will help if the job commences.

I document every bit of communication I have with my customers. This saves any future confusions regarding jobs or quotes. It only needs to be a basic note on a piece of paper but recording the note with date and customer name is good practice if like me you have a memory like a fish. File this away in the job folder for easy pickings should a customer start asking questions.

The Better Half:
If you are lucky enough to have one then put a few quid to one side for couple of nice treats. Using this to then persuade them to help out will possibly be the best move you make :0).  We all have limited time due to time being spend on the tools, looking at potential jobs or creating quotes, estimates or invoices so enrolling the help of someone else will really aid in staying organised and efficient.

I hope some of these help you out with your paperwork woes! Have you got any of your own tips?

By Adam Austin

Co-founder of YourTradebase. One quick, easy app that frees you from paperwork and lets you get back to the job you love.

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