The change order is the one document that small-volume contractors need the most but seem to use the least. This is probably because many small-volume companies tend to take on projects smaller in scope, and the smaller the scope of the projects, the greater the tendency to let certain systems and steps slide. On these types of projects, unenforceable verbal change order agreements get made every day, and when your office tries to bill for them you're out of luck. Here's a simple general-purpose change order that I've created from the Excel 2000 invoice template. It's meant to supplement your office systems by making it possible for you or your lead carpenters to get approval in the field for all those small changes that can add up to big dollars.

There is no specific change order template in Excel, so I started with one that's similar. Open Excel and on the FILE menu click NEW. Click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab, then double-click the Invoice icon, which will launch the template. You may see an ominous "Macro" dialog box. Macros are necessary for this form, so click "...

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