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Should an Estimator Be Responsible for Collections?

Collections: yuck! I’m an estimator; don’t bother me with collecting
the money too. Don’t you feel that way? Don’t you
already have enough hats to wear in your company?



After all, I am the marketing arm of the company too. I find
out about the projects, and I solicit the opportunity to bid. I
meet with the potential clients and tell them all about why they
should do business with us.



What I really do is estimate the costs and bid the work. I perform
the quantity survey. I identify all the cost factors. I calculate
the costs to perform the work. Finally, I prepare and deliver
the proposal.


I am the sales staff for our company. After I deliver the proposal,
I stay in constant communication with the potential client. I
answer questions, promote the company, etc., in order for us to
be awarded the work.


Many times, I perform as the attorney for the company. I read
and interpret the contracts. When things are not right, I write
modifications and then negotiate the changes. During the
course of construction, I have to continue the interpretation of
the contractual language.


I also am part of the construction staff. I create the schedules
and communicate with the clients throughout the construction
process.


Now, on top of all that, am I also to assume the role and responsibilities
of collections?


Recently, the owner of our company had a meeting with me and
stated his intentions for the estimator/project managers to be
responsible for collecting payments on their own projects. After
listening to his reasons, and as much as I hate to admit it, the reality of the situation is that for all of the above reasons, I should be
the one who handles collections, at least on my own projects.


Since I do marketing for the company, I would be able to promote
the company and its values. I want a general contractor to
know, from the beginning of our relationship, that getting paid
for work is our goal; doing the work is only a means to that end.


As the estimator who identified all costs and then prepared the
bid, am I not the person who is best suited to identify and
include costs associated with the payment terms of the company/
project?


As the sales staff I am the one who should be, and in fact is in
the position to sell the best terms for the company. For example,
if we are doing a large volume of work, and the cash flow of the
company is stretched, as the estimator, I can sell terms for prompt
payment. As the sales staff I negotiate. I have the skills to negotiate
terms that are acceptable to the costs included in the bid.


During the legal review, I can ensure that the terms that were
sold are incorporated into the contract.


After the contract is awarded, my sales requirements are not
done. I stay in constant contact with our client, and I have the
best opportunity to put our company at the top of the list to
receive payments. I can make opportunities to talk about payment
and keep it timely, or at the least, if there is a problem, I
should be able to identify it early and then communicate that
to the financial people in our company.


As much as I hate the added responsibility, I am the best one
suited to facilitate collecting the money. Don’t you agree?


Comments? Send your e-mails to porinchak@awci.org, or fax
to (703) 534-8307.

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