How to Save Time and Money With Project Planning Meetings
How many of your projects end up wasting time and money because you or your team skipped out on the planning stage?
You’ve probably had to stop work on something to go back and fix a mistake, or take time to get better familiar with the project, or reschedule a customer’s appointment because the right equipment or materials weren’t ordered in time…
Planning ahead of time means less problem solving and more productivity.
If you want to free up extra hours in your week and help your business run more smoothly, planning has to be a top priority.
Here’s my best advice for strategic project planning!
Start With Proper Customer Questions
Before you can even put together an estimate or plan your project, you’ve got to know what your potential customer is expecting.
A good planning meeting starts with understanding those expectations.
So at each interaction with the customer (initial phone call, scheduling the appointment, site visit, follow up calls or emails, etc.) you or your team need to ask questionson that clarify their goals, objections, and pain points.
The more information you have, the easier it will be to build a solution that meets their needs.
Gather information by asking:
What are the specific problems you want help with?
What is the goal of the project?
How do you envision the end result?
Is there anything you specifically don’t want us to do?
Do you have a budget in mind?
Do you have any pictures you could share of what you would like?
Who else will be involved?
Have you visited our website and looked at our project page/portfolio/case studies?
Why did you decide to choose our company?
By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to determine whether or not there’s enough information provided by your customer to start the project.
If not, ask for more clarification. It’s better to ask your questions now than do something the customer doesn’t want later.
Scripts are a great way to gather the best info from customers. Don't believe me? Read this: Why Your Home Service Company Needs Phone Scripts
Now let’s talk about planning...
When To Have Your Meeting
A project planning meeting should happen immediately after a customer pays their deposit, but before you start ordering materials, renting equipment and scheduling labor.
You probably won’t need more than an hour to go through the details with the team. If you need more than one meeting, consider dividing them up over a few days or weeks so each person can focus on their specialties within in the project and come back for another meeting later when progress has been made.
Just remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Taking just one hour in the beginning ensures you’ll be able to start work when scheduled. This gives you more control over the project and keeps you on track to meet all deadlines.
What To Cover
A good project planning meeting should include the person who met with the customer and wrote up the estimate, and anyone who needs to be involved, like the foreman, installers, and even subcontractors you’ll be working with.
Review any notes from previous conversations with the customer and revisit the scope of work.
At the meeting, dedicate that hour to discussing:
The scope of the project
Start and completion dates
Any important deadlines (job walks, inspections, etc.)
Customer expectations and vision
What materials will need to get ordered and when
How long it will take for those materials/equipment/permits to come in
Who will deliver them to the job site
Where people should park while on-site
Where materials and equipment should be stored when not in use
Mark any section of the project you don’t have a clear idea about yet.
These areas may require more info from the customer, research, meetings with your techs, or consultations with subcontractors before moving forward.
Post Meeting Process
Once this is done, create a task list and delegate each item to the right person with a deadline, instead of leaving critical details to chance.
Send a follow up email to recap the details for everyone so that they’re prepared and no stone goes unturned.
Communication and clear expecations are key if you want to save yourself headaches and keep your projects running smoothly.
Nothing should ever be left to chance — even if it seems pretty straightforward.
If you’re not prepared, there will always be something that pops up and interrupts your workflows.
A planning meeting is a time-saving measure that you, your employees and your customers will benefit from.
Feel like there are never enough hours in the day? Read this! 3 Time-Saving Tips To Make Your Day Easier As A Contractor
Working smarter is always better than working harder.
Careful time management is something that every contractor in the home service industry needs to learn and stick to if they want their day-to-day lives to become less hectic while keeping their clients and employees happy.
You have to employ smart ways to save time throughout the week if you want a profitable company that operates efficiently and effectively. And a project planning meeting is one of the best ways to do this.
Did you find the article helpful? What else do you cover during a planning meeting with your team? Tell me below!