While my goal on this blog is to help your construction, architecture, or engineering practice thrive, sometimes it’s best to demonstrate by example of what *not* to do. This list is good for any business, not just those in the construction field.
Don’t bother running a credit report, Google check, or otherwise investigating who you will be doing business with. If you do check references, only call the cousin they listed, because a credit reporting service might cost money. (Can you say penny wise and pound foolish?).
Don’t talk about costs, estimates v. fixed fees, and extras up front. Wait until they get the bill and complain to have that conversation. (It’s much less awkward then!).
Don’t bother to train your staff or even tell them who the important clients are– let them treat your most important customer like an annoying telemarketer.
Don’t bother to keep organized documentation on projects. Only lawyers worry about those details. (And you, when you get sued or audited).
Don’t answer written communications in writing– a phone call or handshake is all that is necessary. (Who needs “proof” when you go to court? The jury will believe you over the written documents, right?).
Any other big mistakes that should be added to the list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! (And as always, if you enjoy these tips, please sign up for email delivery of my blog posts so you can be sure to see them all).
Photo “Failing Street” by Chris Daniel via Flickr via Creative Commons License.
Don’t worry about defining exactly what the project entails. Change orders are a good way to build business, right?
Exactly, Darin. Bid low, then nickle and dime them later for stuff that should have been in the initial proposal. Great business marketing idea! 😉
Since we’re talking to contractors…how about: “Don’t preserve and utilize your lien rights.” Liens are so effective at getting a contractor or supplier paid, it’s just a pity when folks don’t take the steps (notices) to preserve those rights, and then execute them timely when needed.
Of course! Should have made it 6 ways to ruin your biz. (And your lien service looks great, btw)
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I like it. It is so easy to be penny wise and pound foolish as Tim Hughes latest post at Musings points out!
Thanks for the comment, Chris.