The Secret to Maximizing Billable Hours

Mar 14, 2022 | Pricing, Strategy, Time Management

How do you get your foremen, project managers, and supervisors to drive revenue and profitability?  There is more than one way to skin this cat.

One of the many topics I touch upon at my annual virtual Financial Master Class is managing and maximizing billable hours.

It’s a foundational concept that needs to be understood by everyone who can significantly impact your production results.

Last week, I met with a smart client who owns a fast-growing four-division landscape firm. 

He was looking for guidance on getting his staff to buy into his 30% growth plans. 

He ran the budget numbers and knew it was doable, but his staff couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

So we went through the following exercise.

Autopsy The Previous Year’s Billable Hours

Answer the following questions…

  • How much non-billable time was avoidable, due to waste and other reasons? Be realistic, not hopeful.
  • Which jobs went over on hours, and how many hours did that add up to?
  • How many of those hours were due to poor planning (vs poor estimating)?
  • Which jobs took an extra day because you didn’t spend an extra 30-60 minutes wrapping up the job or a phase of the job?

How Many Extra Billable Hours?

This analysis leads to the calculation of two key numbers:

  • How many extra billable hours could be produced with the same people and same hours?
  • How many extra hours would it take (the extra 30-60 minutes) to free up new days that would produce even more billable hours/days?

This gives you the framework for a frank discussion on what better planning looks like, and to help individuals develop better habits.

The coaching client I mention in this example has a plan to grow revenue by 30%, and grow his profitability by a significant amount. 

Your Challenge – Maximizing Billable Hours With Better Planning And Systems

Maximizing billable hours is not a secret, but there is a secret sauce to getting your team on the plan.
Maximizing billable hours is not a secret, but there is a secret sauce to getting your team on the plan. Share on X

It starts with your grasping these concepts yourself. Then it requires transparency and respect to discuss the previous year’s results with your team and then have a plan to develop your team into better planners and do’ers.

It ends with having the passion to go that extra mile on any job, to wrap up the billable hours, bill the job (or phase), and move on to the next one.

Now just imagine all that you could gain by doing this AND enjoying the tenure of a seasoned team.

This year should be better than the last!

Regards, Jeffrey!

P.S. Check out my coaching page if you want help transforming your company into a high-profit enterprise.