Three Tips to Improve Your Job Costing with Data

Access to the right data can decrease your spending and increase your profits.

Right now, your cleaning or security business is under increased pressure to remain cost-effective and be financially savvy. Since you work in an industry where margins are narrow, it’s increasingly important to understand which of your jobs are profitable to your business, turn around the ones that aren’t, and create a standard process you can replicate while you’re at it. But to do that, you need access to the right data.

The power of shared data from your software system is invaluable. Without truly transparent and trusted data, you can’t see whether or not a job is successful and increasing your profits. And in the security and cleaning industries, understanding which jobs are profitable and having a clear financial picture drives better business management.

Here are three ways your data can help improve your job costing.


With the current economic environment, it’s important to spend time reviewing overhead and job budget data to see if there are any cost-cutting measures that can be taken — even if these are things you wouldn’t normally consider cutting.

Job budgets are direct materials (uniforms, firearms, vehicles, cleaning supplies and machines) and direct labor (field employee pay) expenses. Possible cost-saving changes to job budgets include:

  • Switching out a higher paid employee with a lower paid employee to complete certain types of premium work
  • Putting a pause on allowing overtime hours
  • Reducing employee training pay rate

Overhead budgets (rent, utilities, corporate salaries, vehicle loans, etc.) are all the other expected expenses and are usually fixed. Possible cost-saving changes to overhead budgets include:

  • Not hiring for open positions
  • Delaying the planned replacement of non-essential vehicles or equipment, maintenance and repairs
  • Cutting employee perks like cell phone reimbursement, meals and bonuses

Making such changes to either the job or overhead budget can result in an immediate decrease in expenses. It’s important to start making budget changes sooner rather than later. Typically, fewer cuts for a longer period of time are easier for your employees than deeper cuts for a shorter period.

Reduced Overtime

Putting a pause on overtime hours can help you save money, but you may be wondering how you do that. The best way to reduce the cost of overtime is to stop it before it happens. And to do that, you need to be proactively managing your schedules and leveraging available features within your business software.

Look at your schedule for the week, then again in context with adjacent weeks to spot any overtime problems before they happen. When overtime is unavoidable, make sure you’re analyzing billing and offsetting costs where possible to stay profitable. Reports can help you find bottlenecks in your process, overtime patterns, discrepancies and exceptions.

Repeatable processes

When a mistake happens, typically you and your other top-level managers work together to make sure the mistake doesn’t happen again. But when something goes right, what actions are you taking to make sure it happens again? With rapid changes around processes and compliance for security and cleaning businesses, knowing your business is operating as smart and efficiently as possible goes a long way to save you time and money. Look at these data and analytics points to improve processes:

  • Whether scheduling updates, additional work tickets and notifications of changes in service locations and cleaning protocols are being communicated and received in a timely manner.
  • How long your employees are spending on their cleaning and loop rotations, and whether or not all standards of service are being met.
  • If everyone is correctly using single-source reporting to track legislative updates and compliance.

For businesses with tight margins like janitorial and security contractors, finding ways to become more efficient is one of the only ways to reduce costs and see continued growth. Having job costing data available to you can help you make smarter decisions that deliver immediate financial results.