Friday, August 14, 2015

The Importance of a Good Beginning and End to a Construction Project


“Light At The End Of The Tunnel” by Sura Nualpradid from freedigitalphotos.net
“Light At The End Of The Tunnel” by Sura Nualpradid from freedigitalphotos.net

My husband, who is a very smart guy, made a very wise observation last week. He said, "It seems to me that most of the problems with construction projects occur when a job is first starting, or at the end."

I thought about it and realized that he is absolutely right. A project can go along smoothly, but then problems occur at the end that leave everyone with a negative impression of the experience.

I think about my most recent client, who spent over one million dollars renovating his house. He and the contractor are in a dispute about the last $6000.00. I have not made a mistake with the zeros.
So, for contractors and construction companies, I offer the following advice:

1. Tell your clients at the beginning if you are finishing up another job. Let them know that you will be starting at a slower pace in order to do justice to the previous project. Promise them that you will afford them the same courtesy.

2. Reduce anxiety by letting your clients know how often you will be on site. If it's two days per week, show up two days/week.

3. At the end of a job, tell the owner that you will be tapering off in order to start the next job, but that you will complete the punch list by a certain date. Again reduce anxiety by committing to a certain amount of time on site and following through on that commitment. In addition, if the completion date needs to be extended, fess up and admit it rather than cutting corners and rushing through the finishing touches.

4. Make the client happy! It totally amazes me how short-sighted some builders can be. Your clients are your best source of referrals. You want them to be thrilled with the work you've done. Buy them a bottle of champagne when the project is finished. That's the last thing they will remember about you, and it will more than pay for itself in new work.