Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 42 seconds
Is it when you are promised and not a minute later? Or is it something we can come to an agreement upon? For me, when I set an appointment it means I will be a few minutes early or I will call. It also means that I expect my employees to be here and ready to work at 8 am. For my clients, it means that they want us to call the shot and not miss the mark. Sounds simple but it isn’t simple at all. Hey, they sent a man to the moon! We’ve got this.
The Eternal “On-Time” Problem
When we think about what “On-Time” means in our remodeling world it brings up all sorts of stories. If you step into your client’s shoes, as I often do, there is a terror to having your home torn apart a day longer than they are prepared for. Think of being far away from home and getting stuck at an airport late at night without your luggage in a storm while flights are being canceled. That kind of pain. I can relate, you?
For years I struggled with Project Managers who believed that completing a project on time was impossible “Joe, it’s going to take as long as it’s going to take”. Thankfully that mentality is in the rear-view mirror. The Ah-Ha moment was learning just how financially devastating it is for us to be late. That kind of pain is typically only known by the bookkeeper. I am eternally grateful for that wisdom being shared.
Calling The Shot
There is an inherent reluctance to call the shot so as not to disappoint. But without a target how can you hit it? We have a schedule and we share it at least at a high level with our clients. The latest iteration is sharing weekly goals so that despite the place being torn up, the project manager can share their confidence with the client that the weekly goals are met. It’s going to be OK!
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. The truth is that for a complex set of things that need to be orchestrated, it takes planning and execution. Ours begins during estimating. “Load the raft with everything you need or you won’t have it on the trip”. Painful to think about it but there is a very good reason to plan.
The Ultimate “On-Time” Promise
One contractor friend of mine told his clients that “The project is on time or it’s free”! (He never had to pay out) That is because his employees, subcontractors, and suppliers, were focused on the goal and helping each other to make it happen. No one was going to be the one responsible for a late project. If this is the ultimate solution, why not play the game secretly? A contractor in Seattle says On time, On budget, On purpose. She hits her schedule as a way of life and has convinced her teams that there is no option but to finish on time. I love it. Our R&D department is looking into it now.
To that end, I want to thank my sub-trade partners who are on board with our on-time mentality. There is a constant give and take to make sure we work together in a well-orchestrated dance to get us to the finish line on time.
Solving for “On-Time”, What It Means to Levco
Unlike most remodeling contractors, we use a schedule and maintain it. That tool in and of itself puts us in a position to be successful. We use several Project Managers and a single Production Coordinator to support them. These things working together make the train go really fast and stay on the tracks.
- Having a crystal clear plan.
- Not changing the plan without altering the schedule.
- Having the materials staged when appropriate.
- Having the schedule confirmed with all of the players.
- Being extremely resourceful when anything goes haywire.
- Setting a realistic schedule with some float days for the out-of-ordinary delays.
- Having the client understand our goal and that changes cost money and time.
- Having everyone involved understand the magnitude of what we are promising.
- Limiting distractions.
- Having weekly milestone goals that are communicated and celebrated.
Understanding Mother Nature
Cold weather presents challenges that we can rise to or we can wait. We cannot paint outside in winter or pour concrete or stucco for that matter without tenting. If finishing on time means tenting then tenting will be included in the estimate. If we must wait to finish those things then the finish line will be achieved before those things are done and we will bill accordingly.
Leaving A Legacy Of On-Time Behavior
As a Professional Remodeler, very little would help the industry more than elevating to this lofty goal. There are so many moving parts that this needs to be a foundational component of every project. Good intentions don’t hold a candle to the light of On-Time Completion. It’s more like seeing a rainbow than an unicorn.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.