Perhaps one of the first questions that clients ask contractors is “Could you finish it by this date?” In fact, being able to commit to a deadline is one of the major factors when deciding which contractor they choose. When you’re not able to meet the deadline, it can affect the trust between you and the client, and can eventually leave a bad stain on your brand’s reputation. Not only that, but there are cases wherein the client may even be able to sue the contractor and pursue claiming damages.
Why Delays Happen
It’s important to be aware of factors that can cause delays in order to avoid them. One of the biggest mistakes your firm can make that can cause delays (or shutting down the project altogether) is misquoting, i.e. providing inaccurate estimates with regards to materials and manpower. Next would be labor-related issues, such as not having enough manpower for a project you committed, either due to unexpected resignations and lay-offs. Another common reason is due to issues with subcontractors, which could range from mismanaging them, to subcontractors simply not being able to deliver. That said, let’s take a look at tips on how you can further minimize the risk of project delays.
First off, never make promises that you can’t keep. To avoid missing a seemingly-impossible deadline, don’t agree to it. You have to be aware of your resources, the scale and difficulty of the project, and the timeline your client is imposing. If, after a thorough analysis, you’ve concluded that you won’t be able to meet a client’s deadline, try to negotiate a more reasonable timeline — don’t just say “yes” in commit just to avoid passing off an opportunity. Remember, if you’re not able to meet the deadline you agreed on, it can cost your company more than what your client’s paying.
Secure Your Manpower
As mentioned earlier, labor-related issues are one of the common reasons behind project delays; obviously, you won’t be able to finish a project if there’s no one to work on it. That said, you should avoid stretching your workforce too thin by taking on too many projects and clients. If you have a limited workforce, don’t overbook and overwork them, you’re better off partnering with a manpower agency to fulfill your workforce deficit.
Always Have a Plan B with Subcontractors and Suppliers
If you’re a general (main/prime) contractor, chances are, you’ll be having subcontractors do certain tasks of the project. However, there’s always a risk that your subcontractors won’t be able to deliver or are simply nonperforming, so it’s important to always have a plan in case that happens. You could either supplement them or terminate them; having a list of possible replacements in case you decide to do the latter. For suppliers, it’s best not to depend on only one, and have a ready list of suppliers for various materials that you need. There are even those that supply steel online, allowing you to get quotes, order, and pay for any steel materials and steelwork online.
Never Sacrifice Safety
When you start to notice that you’re lagging behind your timeline, it’s only natural for a contractor to find ways in order to get back on schedule. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of your workers’ health and safety. Imposing overtimes and longer work hours can lead to a higher risk of over-exhaustion, illnesses, injuries, and even fatalities among your workforce. Supplement your manpower with additional workers and shifts, instead.
As a contractor, a lot is hanging on the line when it comes to meeting project deadlines, which is why it’s important to be aware of what’s at stake, to look out for factors that can cause the delays, and to have some ideas on what to do to stay on schedule.