Does production drop in cold weather?

If you live in cold climate areas, you certainly experience changes (many times extreme) in weather. These changes in weather can make your production take a nosedive and you should be accounting for this change in your bid pricing. All too many times, an estimator will be pricing a Winter project in Summer or Fall without thoughts of extreme cold, numb fingers etc. 

Cold weather is not always accounted for when bidding because the bidding of Winter projects usually takes place in the Summer or Fall when it’s warmer. I have spent time covering this subject with hundreds of contractors and almost all of them do not add money in their bid for cold weather! They mostly concur that ‘it’s the nature of things’. But they also agree that the cold weather slows them down! Crazy, huh? And it doesn’t matter what trade you’re in, truth is, cold and snow make it more difficult to gets jobs completed.

We may be talking about simple things like getting stuck in the snow, taking less tools per trip because it’s slippery. Or it could be bigger things like a metal framer losing production because they can’t feel the screws when their fingers are numb. No doubt there are more circumstances that contribute to slower production but the main point to drive home here is that we need to plan ahead. It makes absolutely no sense to state that a worker can install so many square feet of this or so many linear feet of that, only to be wrong in the end. So, next time, when you bid with a 10% net profit  but fail to account for weather, don’t be surprised if that 10% net profit ends up being 7%…and that is providing that nothing else goes wrong on the job.

I’m sure you’re getting the idea now? Cold weather can be tough on us and on our wallets if we don’t account for production drops. We may see 10, 20, 30 percent or more changes in production and we need to account for this change by realizing that in Winter, we need more money when our men do less work in the field…simple.

Harry Carter

Carter School of Estimating
My estimating courses cover material, man days, production rates, difficulty factors, overhead and a whole lot more! Call (603) 263-0345 or write today and I’ll change the way you think about a lot of things regarding estimating. Estimating is an art. I’d like to think of myself as a great artist when it comes to estimating. Let me bring out the estimating artist in you.
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