As discussed in my previous article ‘Why construction companies should be concerned about their reputation’, it’s important for construction companies to have a good reputation.
So what impacts a company’s reputation? Below are some of the more important points:
1. Delivering projects on time
Clients will often pay a premium to employ construction companies they know will deliver their construction project on time. For many clients time is money. The sooner a project is completed and they can start operating the facility the sooner they can earn money, or the sooner they can move into a new house or office so they can stop renting their current property.
2. Do not over-promise and under-deliver
I’ve had managers and Project Managers who continually over-promised and have committed to dates and requirements which were impossible to meet. When these dates weren’t met, or requirements weren’t delivered, the client became unhappy, disillusioned with the contractor and eventually didn’t believe anything the Project Manager said.
3. Acknowledge and rectify your mistakes
Unfortunately mistakes happen on projects. As much as you’ve planned and staffed your construction project properly, and done everything correctly, problems will and do occur. When a problem arises the construction company is often judged on how the problem is resolved, rather than there being a problem in the first place.
4. Honesty and integrity
The construction company and its personnel must be seen to be honest. This is more than just not over-charging the client. It’s about conducting yourself and the business beyond reproach. It’s also how you deal with suppliers, subcontractors and your employees.
Quality workmanship and materials are essential, not only to prevent the company from incurring additional costs, but also so that the company has a reputation for delivering quality projects. Many clients are prepared to pay a premium to obtain a quality product and efficient service.
It’s essential that construction companies take safety seriously. I’ve known contractors being barred from working for certain clients because of their poor safety record.
Some clients pay their managers bonuses which depend on their safety record and the safety record on their projects. Therefore these managers won’t tolerate unacceptable safety practices from their contractors because it will adversely impact their bonus.
In addition, accidents create work. Incidents have to be investigated, reports written and explanations provided to management. Nobody likes additional work — especially the client’s team! Serious accidents may even result in people losing their jobs. Consequently most clients will go out of their way to ensure that the construction company they pick has a good safety record.
Also, don’t underestimate the poor publicity a company gets when there’s a serious accident on one of their construction projects.
Construction companies need to be responsive to clients’ demands. I don’t mean do work without charge, but rather try and accommodate the client’s changes and additions where possible. The nature of most projects is that the client will change the schedule, their milestones, as well altering structures, buildings and finishes. These changes can often be frustrating and take up the contractor’s management time. It’s frequently easier to say no to the client since the additional variations may barely cover the cost of doing the work. But, by always saying no the contractor will quickly get a reputation of being uncooperative.
Being responsive also means returning the client’s phone messages, making yourself available for meetings, responding to queries promptly and submitting prices and revised schedules on time.
Always be professional and courteous in your dealings with the client. It’s easy to say things in the heat of the moment which could upset clients. Some clients can be unforgiving and bear a grudge for years, jeopardising the chances of winning work from them.
Professionalism also extends to how you dress, that you’re polite and respectful, appear organised, and arrive at meetings on time and prepared. It includes the way you are seen to treat your employees, suppliers, and subcontractors, and generally carry out business.
9. Service after the project has been completed
Unfortunately a construction project doesn’t always end when the contractor hands over the keys to the client and moves off site. Most contracts have a warranty period during which the construction company is responsible to repair defects due to defective workmanship. In fact, in many countries when new structures are build the contractor may even be responsible for defects for several years (five, ten, or longer).
10. Meeting the client’s expectations
It’s important that the contractor is able to meet the client’s expectations. This means that they need to understand what these are, and furthermore ensure that they are reasonable and that the contractor can deliver on them. However, it may be necessary to discuss these expectations with the client, ensuring you both have the same understanding of what the finished product will look like and what it will cost.
It’s important for construction companies to build and protect their reputation. A good reputation will help you win more projects. As important is to ensure that your Project Managers and other employees understand how important a good reputation is to the business and what impact their actions have on this reputation.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it useful. Please add your comments to share your knowledge and experience. Share the article so your connections can also view the article.
Other useful and relevant articles by Paul Netscher:
Will your construction project be completed on time?
What you need to close out your construction project successfully.
Who is responsible for safety on your project
10 Reasons why a construction schedule is useful.
(Paul Netscher is the author of the acclaimed books ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ [a required text for Bachelor of Construction Management at some universities] and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’. Both books are available in paperback and e-book from Amazon and other retail outlets. This article is adapted from information included in these books.)