How Long Will My Project Take?

by | Aug 14, 2011 | Levco Builders Process, Remodeling Budget | 0 comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I had a crazy realization the other day. No one has ever gotten pissed off at a contractor for finishing a project too soon.

Finish Line

The Finish Line Ta-Da

How important is it for the client to know when the remodeling is going to be done?  I would say VERY! important. What does “DONE” mean anyway?

I despise getting negative feedback on how long any particular remodeling project might, or did take. Essentially, nothing takes the excitement and pleasure out of a creative project’s completion than unhappy clients. (Which I take personally)

Inexperienced remodeling clients only have what I tell them to base their expectations. Traditionally new clients enter into the process with unrealistic expectations. Rapid completion notions are prevalent because of DIY TV shows that use time lapse photography.

Quoting a realistic timeline comes from experience and focusing on all the little things that add time to a project. To be brutally honest, I have always just put my head down and done the work not paying much attention to how long I quoted. When were done, we say TA DA! we’re done! Yes, just like kids doing gymnastics.

I have never felt much pressure to complete by a certain moment in time. I keep the clients abreast of progress and rarely reflect upon the projected completion date. Most understood, however those days are long gone. The pressure is on to be on time. My Project Manager, Tracy is now focused on getting  projects done On Time & On Budget.

As a salesman it is in my best interest to quote a short time. As a client, it is important to know when the project will be done. As a business, Levco had better get those two dates close to each other.

Nearing the finish line

“Done” to me has always meant:

substantial completion & entering the punch list phase. Unfortunately, “Done” to my clients means “When do I get to relax?” and there are no more contractors calling to say “Hey can I get over there to fix a (fill in the blank)”. No wonder we have problems.

Realizing this false dichotomy has made all the difference. To use a racing analogy…The finish line has just moved.

Rather than being a happy joyous occasion to look forward to, project completion has turned into a bogged down, paperwork filled, nightmare of phone calls, visits, and notes that just won’t end. I am going to fix all that, if it is the last thing I do.

As a contractor my clients must understand that when the vendor tells us “The windows will be in in 2 weeks”, what we need to hear is “The absolute soonest the windows will arrive is in 2 weeks”, & there is a possibility that the windows will be late, or wrong, or they may never show up.

Fortunately I deal with reputable suppliers, but let’s face it, there are delays for so many reasons they are too long to list.

Action Item List

Finish Line Action Item List

The Finish line Action Item List is the key to part of this solution. The list is all the “Stupid Little Things” that are mutually agreed upon that need to be addressed before the final payment is due. “HINT” Many of these S.L.T. can be taken care of while the project is ongoing or as soon as they are noticed.

Like my dear friend Howard Olivier says, “numbers that you watch consistently are the numbers which improve”. I believe this to be true. Therefore I am confident that I created a world class system for my clients.

My multi-pronged approach to a solution involves:

  1. Quoting a window of time for completion that is realistic. ( just like pizza delivery at) (DONE)
  2. Clarifying what completion means to all parties.( DONE)
  3. Incorporating a Client Portal for my web site that improves communication and schedule adjustments and keeps everything in one place. ( DONE)
  4. Using time management tools to express scheduling graphically.(DONE)

Slow Down



  • Scheduling, I own and operate a small general contracting company and I am at the mercy of my subcontractors.
  • Things need time to dry and set up.
  • Clients schedules are a factor because they often are living in the home during the project
  • The weather is often a factor
  • Lead times for ordered items can cause delays. Let’s face it, inventories are low at showrooms specialty items are occasionally weeks away.


Speed Up


  • Regular communication during the project
  • Regularly referring to the Description Of Work (DOW)
  • Having great subs that do it right the first time.
  • Not making Change Orders or saying “While you’re at it…”
  • Understanding that different phases take different amount of time, i.e,. drying time
  • Having the DOW written clearly.
  • Having access and having questions answered quickly with a phone call or e-mail.

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.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

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