Letter from Editor- February Edition
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Posted by: Kevin Wood
Last month I discussed training of staff. This month I will touch on other direct means of profits. Proposals and relationships with clients are equally as important. The relationship with clients begins with our proposals and ends with the accounts receivables.
The life of a project starts with the proposal and discussion about needs of the client. The surveyor must listen and understand what the client wishes to gain out of the project. Sometimes we listen to a project discussion with the idea of how we think it should be completed before we listen to what the client considers important. Creating a proposal that is closely tied to what the client discussed shows that you listened and want the project to move in a similar direction. Once the surveyor convinces the client he understands what is needed on the project, it is easier to discuss how it will be completed. The proposal should be complete, and the fees should match the work. Certain clients will offer additional future work with the understanding that this project is held to a certain budget. Once the fee is provided, a reduction in scope is an answer to less budget. If clients are not willing to pay for quality survey services now, then the next job will not be any better. The surveyor needs to decide if more work with less profit is the route they wish to follow. Move forward with the client or decide the project is not right for your company. The surveyor/client relationships builds from here.
The proposal should be detailed and contain contingency. A good proposal will define the scope in simple terms and create a timeline of how certain parts of the project will be completed. Once the proposal is put into action and a project begins the contingency should support unexpected issues. Part of that contingency may be extra staff or a percentage of fees.
The project is complete, and your team’s performance was great. Now the client does not pay. This is another part of the relationship. Good clients want everyone on the project team to be successful. A client that does not pay is another bad sign. There comes a time that the surveyor needs to fire the client. Each time a client holds your money then it is more credit from the bank to make payroll and other necessary functions. Talking to the client before the project begins about billing is important. Understand how the client’s billing works. Many missed payments are due to incorrect methods of invoice. Each billing is important and deserves equal attention from the client and your office.
Attention to detail during the proposal and billing stages will create a bond with the client. Do not back away from the tough conversations. A valuable client understands the need to have these conversations. Hopefully, these practices will lead to better profits and better clients.
Kevin B. Wood, LS
VAS Second Vice President