Backlog Calculator

Track project earnings, billings, unexpected costs and more
Bryan Bush
November 20, 2018
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : GLAZIERS' TOOLBOX

Accurate backlog calculations are critical to every glazing contractor. Backlogs provide a clear picture of current profit margins and available resources for ongoing and future projects. They help a company determine whether it has the resources to take on new jobs and help estimators produce better bids. They help direct a company on everything from when to hire new employees to when to invest in machinery to when to purchase a new truck.

Backlogs are also closely reviewed by a company’s financial partners. Surety companies look to backlogs to ensure a business has an ongoing revenue stream. Banks rely on the calculations when approving lines of credit. 

Companies that don’t adequately or accurately track backlogs—or those that don’t take seriously the profit and loss numbers found within such calculations—can quickly run into cash flow problems. The industry has seen many companies fold after taking on work with little to no margins in an effort to secure work. 

Tracking backlogs—and keeping them updated—requires constant attention. But the risks of not doing so are too great to ignore. Companies should develop a standard system of tracking projects and backlogs, so owners and financial managers are aware of current cash flow and cash flow projections at any given moment. This information guides investment and bidding decisions and makes a company a more attractive financial partner. 

City Glass Co. developed such a tracking system, which is presented in this article. The detailed spreadsheet allows management to see at a glance everything from billing status to profits on individual projects and collective jobs. The spreadsheet presented here provides real world examples of three City Glass Co. projects to show the various calculations. 

Download a version of the backlog calculator here.

Click on each image below for larger versions.

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Bryan Bush is the owner of City Glass Co. He can be reached at 402/593-1242.