5 Ways to Keep Your Project Budget in Line
Don’t let poor project planning blow your company profits and client satisfaction.
Home improvement projects have a way of taking on a life all their own. Whether it’s a kitchen redo that starts with a simple appliance upgrade and blossoms into a full-blown renovation, or a media room makeover that suddenly has you gutting an entire basement.
Anytime you work in someone’s home there’s a good chance that the budget you set out with will be stretched as the project progresses. ConnectWise understands the impact of good project planning to a budget, and offers the following five tips to keep your bottom line on the straight and narrow.
It’s important not only for the health of your company but also for the satisfaction of your clients.
1. Be clear about change orders.
Change is inevitable in the home systems industry. The second a new technology is introduced, there’s another, hot on its heels, that’s faster, more reliable, and just plain better. Your clients expect the best that technology can buy, but at what price?
Be clear in your contract that changes in the original plan will likely add to the budget and explain what those upcharges will entail. Be sure to spell out that changes to the proposal could include anything from a bigger TV or a fancier light switch, to the relocation of an equipment rack or additional programming of a home automation system. Many clients may not realize that their requests are expensive, so explain this from the get-go.
ConnectWise Pro Tip: Create a plan A, B, and C for your clients so they can compare prices on paper. Plan A might include no changes; Plan C could account for several.
2. Design and program systems off site.
You can save time and money by building clients’ systems at your office. The savings multiply, as you’ll also be able to test the equipment and remedy any problems before installing the equipment into the customer’s home or business.
By ensuring the integrity of your design off site, you’ll minimize time spent on site: Fewer truck rolls, fewer employees required on the job, and less scheduling conflicts with clients.
3. Collaborate with contractors.
Many home systems installations will include the input and handiwork of many different contractors: architect, builder, interior designer, landscaper, etc. Jobs run smoother and stay on schedule if you all work as a team.
Collaborate at the beginning of the project to explain what your project will entail and suggest effective ways to work together for the common good of the customer.
ConnectWise Pro Tip: Suggest weekly meetings with key contractors to keep the project moving in the right direction.
4. Be a stickler to the schedule.
Time is money, so stick to the schedule you have set—and make sure that your customer is on board with the timeframe. They might be surprised to learn that rewiring a house can take weeks instead of just a few days.
Big projects can seem to drag on with no end in sight, so maintain momentum by setting specific milestones. Dividing a large project into smaller manageable chunks will keep employee morale high and demonstrate continual progress to your customers.
5. Establish post-installation remote access service plans.
Technology can be finicky; be proactive about system snafus by setting up a service plan that allows you to monitor, manage, and rectify minor issues remotely. You’ll roll fewer trucks and keep your customers happy ensuring that the technologies in their home operate reliably at all times.
You’ll be able to fix problems—often it’s a simple a system reboot—before your clients even realize that there is an issue.
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Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
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