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January 2017
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10+ Years of As-Built Surveying Project Statistics

PPM As-Built Surveying Financial Forecast for 2017

Precision Property Measurements has been creating As-Built drawings for our architecture, design and construction clients for almost 15 years.  In that time we have surveyed over 14,000 buildings (and portions of buildings), and we have created proposals for another 5,000+ that we didn’t end up measuring.  For the last 10 of those years, we’ve kept all of those project records in a software platform that enables us to quickly and easily find and analyze data from all these projects.

As an unapologetic math nerd, it is one of my great joys to sift through all this data on a spreadsheet and look for trends.  With another year coming to a close, last week I downloaded all of our project information, threw it into an Excel spreadsheet, and did just that.   As an independent company that works with hundreds of AEC professionals on potential renovation projects, we are in a unique position to see what is going on across the building industry, particularly in our primary Southern California and Bay Area markets.  Plus, since the As-Built survey is just about the 1st thing that happens on a project, it provides a potential window into the activity that will be happening months or even years down the line in construction projects.

For the last several years we have averaged approximately 100-130 proposals created per month for As-Built surveying projects.  They are split pretty evenly between Residential and Commercial projects.  Here’s a few things I noticed from this most recent data mining:

  1. Q2 (April – June) consistently has the most new proposals coming in.  Q4 (October – December) is the slowest period by a good 20-30%.
  2. Residential As-Built projects grow steadily for the 1st half of the year, but then drop off as summer starts.
  3. Commercial peak in January, stay strong through about mid-summer, and then start to decline through the rest of the year.
  4. In general, the 2nd half of 2016 showed some signs of weakness for new remodel projects.  I’m not sure if this may have anything do with election jitters, rising interest rates, or maybe just a cyclical slowdown after 5-6 years of strong grown coming out of the Recession.
  5. So far in the first few weeks of 2017, however, we are seeing a strong bounce back, with proposal volume up about 30-40% over where it was in December.

2016 Stats.  # of Proposals (bar) shrinking, but average size (line) increasing

Looking at this data, I am cautiously optimistic for the industry in 2017.  While we did notice some possible headwinds in late 2016, this year has started off well, and we are entering what is traditionally the best part of the year for new As-Built project starts.  Like for most industries, the general strength of the U.S. economy will be the biggest factor, and I don’t see anything even close to the volume cratering we saw just prior to the 2008/2009 Recession.

To maintain our competitive edge at PPM and continue to offer the best value to our clients with our As-Built services, we are planning to focus on these 3 areas:

  1. Faster Turn-Around time:  Currently we average about 25 days, our goal is to get that down under 20
  2. Better Product Offerings:  We will be adding some 3D As-Built deliverables this year
  3. More communication:  We plan to reach out to our customers (current and future) more often to make sure we understand their needs.

Thanks for reading!

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New Year’s Resolutions for an As-Built Surveying Company

Resolutions For An As-Built Surveying Company

Confession:  I’ve never been a big “New Year’s Resolution” type of person.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE setting goals.  It’s just that I don’t like to time them around any particular event (such as the start of a new year).  If you want to make a positive change in your life – why wait for January 1st to get started?

That being said, as a small business owner, there is a natural cadence to business activities which lends itself nicely to using this time of year for making some new commitments.  If you read my previous blog on Setting Small Business Goals, I walked through the process on how we do this at PPM, our As-Built surveying company.  After 6 weeks of work on this we have now completed that process.  So I guess you could say these are PPM’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2017:

  1. Do a Better Job Articulating Our Vision for the Company.  The more we have grown, the more important I have realized it is to have a crystal clear, well communicated vision.  People need to know exactly what they are working to create.  You have to paint a picture for your staff what the destination is for your company, and what strategies you will use to get there.  You have to do this constantly and consistently.  I believe this is the #1 job of a CEO.  I think PPM has been slightly better than average at this for the last few years, but we need to crank it up several notches if we are going to grow into the true market leader we plan to become.
  2. Be More Clear about the Purpose and Responsibilities of all Positions.  See a pattern yet?  This goal is related to #1 because they both have to do with providing clarity and aligning everyone in the company together.  As we have grown from 7 employees to 20 in the last few years, creating brand new positions along the way, it has become harder to see the link between each position and the Company’s goals. Or between the performance and the compensation of the position.  So we are going to overhaul the way we track, value, and develop each position to provide much more clarity to our staff – freeing them up to be amazing at what they do!
  3. Connect More (and Better) with our Customers and Vendors.  This has been another difficult thing to keep up with as we have grown.  We have always stayed 100% committed to providing outstanding service on all of our live As-Built survey projects, but often this has come at the expense of maintaining good communication with those other clients and vendors that we aren’t currently working with.  We want to do better at this and stay in touch more.  We plan to develop some new systems which can help, but more importantly just devote more time and energy into this effort.
  4. Become Leaders in As-Built Surveying Technology.  Over the last couple years we have devoted most of our R&D time and money into internal systems and software.  As a result we are really good at Project Management, data analysis, and other internal processes.  But we have not made a major investment into our field surveying technology.  We are doing that in 2017.  We will become leaders in the field of 3D laser scanning, modeling, and other next-generation As-Built surveying technology.
  5. Have Fun!  This one is on there every year (and in just about every list I have ever created – even shopping lists).  Growing a small business is a lot of hard work, especially when you have BIG goals like PPM.  It’s easy to feel like you are always behind and just can’t seem to catch up.  But it is also a tremendous ride, and I am grateful every single day that I get to be a part of it with a bunch of great people.  I want to hear genuine laughter from everyone at PPM, everyday.  And I’m willing to make a fool out of myself to do it if necessary!

 

Got any resolutions (business or personal) you want to share?  Please post them in the comments!