How I lost over $200,000 in network cabling projects last year.

“Why would you post this?” asked my director as I handed this over to him.

To Help.

Yes, I still am employed with Bridge Cable and no plans of leaving til my last days. This is what I love to do, running cable….connecting the world. I am the “cable guy”.

So how did I lose so much money in one year? I was running reports for a meeting and losses were actually $208,500 in lost of wages, profits and opportunities.

Here is why.

1 – Setup. Upon signing up for a new network cable installation factors like setting for the job are often skipped. Ever worked in New York or center city Philadelphia and parked a few blocks away? Sure, loading docks are great but what about the time lugging gear and cabling to the client’s. Ever factor in the parking tickets as you scurry to get back to the work van with a ladder or cart?

How much time does it take you to set up for the job?

How much time does it take you to set up for the job?

2 – What is behind the wall? Sure everyone likes a typical office layout of drywall and drop ceilings. However we do not have x-ray vision and perhaps some fun double sheet rock is awaiting for the crew? Older buildings might not have followed the same logic as the next building. Does your work van carry crowbars? It’s standard with us after all these years, don’t ask. Projecting a budget for a installation takes a strong stomach until the walls are actually worked on. Personally, a network cabling should take about 5 minutes to drop into the wall……personal worse time…..3 hours. Techs or project managers never know what is lurking behind some walls.

Word of advice, stud finders are not 100% correct all the time.

Word of advice, stud finders are not 100% correct all the time.

3 – Uniformed Managers. That took a bit to write those two words, this is a company blog and this might rub some people the wrong way. What Bridge Cable does is skilled. We are not really the local cable guys that drill holes into walls and call it a day. We offer skills to install a company’s backbone, the foundation of business. We just do not slap wires into walls and see if the lights blink. We keep wiring away from electrical lines to avoid surges. We keep wiring away from pipes to avoid fires. We certify the wiring to ensure the proper or maximum amount of speed for your network. The cost of fixing a network out weighs the price of a proper installation. So what does a grumpy or “uniformed manager” statement mean? Sure, hire some folks off craigslist for a project you do not have money for. I guess what I have learned is stop working for free. A client in Philadelphia with various locations left us last year. Why? We started charging for our work, appropriately. Of course budgets are set but skill and a proper installs are what we strive for. Let’s move on, I think I am getting long winded on this!

One client said he did not trust us completely and placed portable IP cameras on us. I pulled our guys from the site, it was nerve racking as every move was being questioned.

One client said he did not trust us completely and placed portable IP cameras on us. I pulled our guys from the site, it was nerve racking as every move was being questioned.

4 – Cleaning Up, we try not to be messy. Who would even talk about this? Us. Your office or home just had some work down to it. As a project manager I factor in time to run the vacuum, three years ago our vans never carried them. We sure do now, why let our clients clean up after us? 🙂

We are OCD with projects as our clean up as well.

We are OCD with projects as our clean up as well.

5 – Technicians Health is a factor we lost money last year. Simply put as humans as can only work so much. Imagine crawling around ceilings and warehouses, imagine “stacking” a quick project under a short deadline? Last year we serviced a handle of high priority jobs that took a toll on our guys. Sick days or even down time costed Bridge Cable money. When quoting certain jobs, I the author, am reminded of a cabling warehouse job. I was onsite with a crew and took the place of the lead tech as I thought the job was going to slow. I jumped on the lift 30 ft in the air and started pulling grounding cable. My speed and strength was exhausted after 30 minutes and my forearms were jelly for 2 weeks. The point? Deadlines come second over our techs.

As a standard our techs follow OSHA guidelines.

As a standard our techs follow OSHA guidelines.

6 – Cabling Reports. The last major lost of revenue caused last year was time to run reports on the finished projects. Quick example, a New York client had a electrician run CAT5e cable and jacks for their new office. Loss of connections and slow speeds brought us in, 25% of the terminations were not proper. Lose wiring on the jacks and at the patch panel was dragging the network to a crawl. After running reports on the cabling we were able to fix the bad ports. The finish of every project, no matter what network cabling company you use, is to have reports. Reports do take time, recently a small job of 12 drops took 3 hours but we had to add on 45 minutes to run the reports. This does not factor in the back office time to record and present the reports as well. Do the reports.

Network cabling reports ensure your wiring is running at MAX speeds!

Network cabling reports ensure your wiring is running at MAX speeds!

So why do I still have job? Why is Bridge Cable still in business? Experience and a great team. Over this last year we gained from our losses and pushed forward. Factoring in the above and providing the best work at a fair price we got the job done. Fortune 500 companies trust us and expect nothing less than a professional installation and they get it.

Also to “redeed” myself personally, this year we welcomed more clients and our teams were completely scheduled out last year. We grew with repeat business and new clients like below.

Clients-Network-Cabling

We hope this omission of items we learned over this year might help you on your next computer or telephone wiring job as well.

We serve New York, New Jersey and the entire Philadelphia area, call us 877-832-1206.

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The author was one of our Project Managers Paul Wallace and a principle on BridgeCable.com, reach out to him at paulw@bridgecable.com 

 

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Working with network cabling since 1999 and still loving the work as well as the people I meet.
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