So you’ve closed a $50,000.00 kitchen remodel. All of your materials are ordered and delivery dates confirmed. So far, you have a happy customer whom is probably very anxious about the coming remodel of their home. What is the next step in order for you to keep that happy client, add to your reference list and generate repeat and referral business? The answer is successful project management.
Remodeling is an invasive procedure that creates anxiety for clients. It is a process that disrupts their daily lives and routines. As project managers, we can alleviate much of this anxiety up front by being honest about the intrusive process we are about to begin. I have told more than one client before ever closing a sale that any contractor who assures them the process will go smoothly is plainly being less than honest. Due to the inherent issues that arise when remodeling a home, there is no way to guarantee perfection in the process. The successful remodeler will make the process easier by having proven scheduling and management procedures in place that put all the odds in his and his clients favor, and he will assure his clients the project will be completed to satisfaction regardless of any issues that arise.
Scheduling is the most important part of the process. Not only providing your client a written schedule, but requiring your contractors to sign off on a schedule, can be the sole difference between a successful project and a remodeling nightmare. Early in my career, I was employed by a small remodeler who did not believe in schedules. I remember his pitch, which was that it was impossible to accurately schedule a remodeling project due to the unforseen issues that arise and the number of trades involved. This was a recipe for non-stop chaos both for the clients, the trades and the sales person.
Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center provides written schedules to clients for all projects. Those schedules clearly state that they are “approximate and subject to change”. To follow, all subcontractors are provided a copy of the schedule and a sign off is required on their individual schedules. This is not to say that deviations do not occur, but a baseline is set, and the home owner is given the confidence of knowing who is coming to their home on what date, the tasks to be completed and the approximate completion date.
Additional key elements to managing a successful project include advance planning for the staging of materials, parking, dumpster placement, daily access to the home, safety, employee dress, restroom access, portable toilet location if required, expectations for daily site clean-up, security of family pets, understood hours of construction, responsibility for permits, assuring your subs are properly insured and establishing the company policy for handling change orders and unforseen job-site conditions. Handling and addressing these topics in advance with your client and subcontractors will put the odds of success in your favor and greatly increase your chances for a happy client, future business and referrals.