I was not able to find anything on here about this practice, and its something I've been getting very into this year, so I thought I'd share what has been extremely beneficial to me so far this year, and see if others have any insight or tips/tricks on the process. This year I have gotten very serious about procedures, systems, and standardized estimating processes. My goal (which I'm just about at) is to have an estimating system so precise that 5 random people could go price a job with my procedure and come up with the exact same price. I've determined that the days of walking on a job and saying "I can mow that for $40" or "I can take care of that in... eh... 4 hours" are gone. Everything in my estimating procedure is now based on measurements, production rates, and efficiency factors. To achieve this, I've began time tracking every process or service that my employees perform. I then have spreadsheets that I've programmed to calculate production rates, and efficiency factors based on "real world" working conditions. For instance, during the spring clean up and edging of our big box stores, I create site maps that label every single mulch bed (m-1, m-2, m-3, etc..), I also know the sq footage and perimeter of every bed. I gave the crew foreman a stop watch, and he times and records the pruning, clean-up, and edging of each bed. This data comes back to my office and I enter it into the spreadsheet, and I do this for every job we do. The spreadsheet calculates averages for everything, and because of this, I now know exactly how many linear feet per hour my crew can edge, how many sq feet of planting bed per hour they can clean out, and the number of various shrubs they can prune in a man hour, and so on for every service we perform. This has created accountability in my company, on my end and the employees end. If a 1000 sq foot bed took 1 hour to clean out last week, then why did another bed of the same size take 2 hours to clean out this week? Well then the investigation commences, and I fill out "root cause" forms until I identify where the issue lies. It has also enabled me to give my crew production goals based on the rate they were able to work in the past, it gives them a goal to work towards. If production goals aren't met, then we figure out why and how we can make sure they are met next time. To bring it a step further, my supervisor and myself fill out "waste inspection sheets" each day. Any and every form of waste is identified, then at the end of the week meeting we figure out ways to eliminate that waste. For example, removing mulch from planting beds earlier last week, each time a wheel barrow was full, 2 people would stop work and go to lift it into the truck. I counted the number of times this happened, and how long each trip took, and determined that by the end of the day we lost almost 2.5 man hours of production due to 2 people lifting wheel barrows into the truck. The addition of a simple "movers type ramp" to the truck to push the wheel barrows into the truck with 1 person instead of 2 will save approx 12.5 man hours per week, which is equivalent to over $500 in lost billable time each week, or $17,500 in lost time per season (35 weeks)... I understand its all relative though, because no, we do not lift wheel barrows into the truck on every job, but I'm sure you get the idea. I know this is more of an "my 2 cents" post than a typical question that comes up here, but the data I've gathered from this process has been changing my company on a daily basis and I couldn't be happier about it, so I thought I would share this with everyone else. Which brings me to my question, who else is doing a similar process to this, and how do you handle it?