Top Four Things Your Client Needs to Understand

By on December 5, 2018

From Procore Jobsite:  If only smooth and easy client communications was a project tool you could pull out and use at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, that’s hardly the case. For contractors serving owners, there is often a breakdown in communication that leads to disputes and bad feelings. Some of that is simply poor communication skills. However, there is a larger list of culprits best described as misunderstandings.

Vagueness causes misunderstandings since it leaves things open for interpretation and assumptions. If you tell a client you think something’s possible without explaining why it might not be possible, there’s a good chance the client will assume you’re going to deliver it. In spite of all the present evidence to the contrary, people usually tend to expect to get what they want. Assumptions become their expectations; unless you tamp down wishful thinking, you’ll have to deal with the fallout when things don’t work out as assumed.

Taking control of these misunderstandings requires you to be coldly realistic about your abilities. Maybe someone else can do what they want. If so, you’re usually better off to let “someone else” do the project. If you’re not sure you and your team can pull it off, there are going to be a ton of misunderstandings. Here are some suggestions for preventing them.

1. Establish a Clear Owner Channel

Some owners provide strong leadership for their projects, ensuring there is one person who coordinates with the contractor. They provide clear direction, coordinate design, oversee selections, and make sure that everyone on the owner’s team makes decisions timely.

Unfortunately, such a strong owner presence is often lacking. This is often acutely evident in residential projects where a married couple is acting as owner builders. If the two aren’t expecting the same outcomes for the project, you’ll be hard-pressed to deliver something that pleases both. Begin by asking dual owners to decide who will be their leader.

You want the owner’s leader to engage with all the owner’s team, acting as the liaison between the owner’s people and you. You should also set up information protocols between the owner’s leader and yourself, or one person on your team.

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About Dede Hance