Contractormag 8616 Checklist

A surprising secret for contractors to get more time in their day

June 12, 2017
The secret is: start using checklists!    A checklist seems like a ridiculously simple tool, but I promise that once you start using them everywhere, you’ll be surprised at how big of a difference they make.

Time. We could all use just a bit more of it, right? What kind of difference would it make in your day if you had an extra 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even an entire hour? What would you do with it? Would you use it to grow your business? Would you spend it with your family?

Image: iStock/ThinkStock.

Although your time might seem incredibly restrained, and maybe you feel like you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions every day, there is one simple secret you can use right now to immediately start getting more time back.

In fact, this secret is so simple that you might not even realize its power and perhaps you will even chuckle when you read it, but this has the potential to be a game changer for contracting businesses everywhere.

The secret is: start using checklists. Yes—checklists! A checklist seems like a ridiculously simple tool, but I promise that once you start using them everywhere, you’ll be surprised at how big of a difference they make.

Chances are, you already use them to some degree in your business: perhaps you use a checklist when you send someone to the store for supplies, or maybe you have a checklist of the things you need to do in your busy day. But, what if you had checklists for everything?

Why are checklists so powerful? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Checklists simplify a process and ensure everything gets done in the right order.

  • Checklists ensure you or your team don’t forget anything, so you don’t have to go back to repeat something more than once.

  • Checklists eliminate decision-making for the inconsequential things that don’t actually require decisions (so you can save your decision-making bandwidth for more important things).

  • Checklists allow people to take on a job and complete it competently even if they’ve never done it before.

  • Checklists speed things up even more than you realize.

Checklists are barely used, but so profoundly impactful to your business that you should be using them more often in every aspect of your business.

Here are some ideas that you can implement right away.

  • A checklist for whomever arrives at the office first (including things like: shut off the alarm, turn on all the lights, make coffee, unlock the doors, etc.).

  • A checklist that every team member needs to go through when they arrive at work and before they leave for the jobsite (including things like: review the work order, check your supplies, check your tools, check the customer’s address, etc.).

  • A checklist for every marketing piece that is created (including things like: check the offer, check the contact information, check the delivery method, etc.).

  • A checklist for every interview you conduct to hire someone (including things like: receive resume, ask about experience, ask about specific situations that they would face on the job, etc.).

  • A checklist that every employee must follow when at a customer’s house (including things like: introduce themselves, wear protective foot covering, ask for referrals, etc.).

  • A checklist for every situation when an employee accepts money from a customer (including things like: check the date of the check, add the invoice number to the check, give the customer a receipt, etc.).

  • A checklist for every new hire to make sure they are up-to-speed and ready to work (including things like: call the new hire to tell them they have the job, give them a specific day to start, complete the paperwork to add them to the payroll, etc.).

  • A checklist for whomever leaves the office last (including things like: make sure all the doors are locked, turn off all the lights, turn on the alarm, etc.).

I’m only scratching the surface of opportunities where checklists will be helpful for you. On their own, each of these items might not seem that important enough to require a checklist, but you’ll save valuable minutes on each activity and eliminate mistakes.


A checklist might seem like a surprisingly simple tool, and not really “new information” that you’ve never heard before. However, most people aren’t using checklists to their fullest potential. When you start using checklists everywhere, you eliminate mistakes, shave minutes off of every activity every day, and you and your team will suddenly recapture more time on a daily basis.

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