When Andy Haste started his design/build company, Riverside Construction, in West Lafayette, Ind., five years ago, he didn’t have a system for keeping track of his work in progress, leads, and budget. But he knew that to reach his goals he would need to do that. He engaged the help of remodeling business consultant and Remodelers Advantage facilitator Judith Miller, who created this “probability matrix,” an Excel spreadsheet that offers Haste a glimpse of where his company is at any given moment.

Haste likes this chart, he says, because “It gives me hope that we’re heading in the right direction. It gives me a snapshot and lets me know if I’ll reach my yearly goal; what we have to do in the next few months; how much we have to sell to reach our goal for the year. It keeps us on the year-end budget.” And it seems to be working: “We’ve projected a growth path of 20% each year until we get to a feel-good spot in three or four years from now,” he says. The company handles about 48 jobs a year and did $1.2 million in 2012. It’s on track to do $1.4 million this year.

A. Meet Your Goal
This is a key line. It’s calculated by adding total income to date, total value of work to produce, and total value of probable work and then dividing the sum by the annual volume goal. It shows that, six months into the year, Andy Haste has already met 70% of his goal. That’s valuable for decision-making. “With 70% in, he’s not desperate,” says consultant Judith Miller. “He might even decide to raise his prices.”

B. Can We Do It?
After considering his sales history and seasonality, Haste can decide if it will be easy or difficult, Miller says, to sell this amount to reach his year-end goal.

C. Future Possible
Just looking at what’s currently in production (actual numbers) only lets you see what is true today and not what might be true two months from now — the probability of work. “That’s important,” Miller says, “because most remodeling jobs take at least six weeks from initial lead to signing a contract and then a few weeks to get into production.” If you know that only 25% of people will buy a project, and you need to do $1 million, then you know you need to look at $4 million to make your mark.

D. On Your Way
This column tracks the probability of winning the bid. It gets updated after meeting with clients. Miller cautions you to be conservative. This number will change the Percentage of Goal Met figure.

E. Be a Leader
Enter historical visit-to-contract rate here. “Estimate if you don’t know it and be conservative,” Miller says. Haste entered a 35% probability that he will get each of these jobs. “Not until you visit with them, look them in the eye, do the rapport-building do you attempt to make a more logical estimate of the probability of getting that job,” Miller says.