What Does it Take to be a Good Construction Contractor?

In a Nutshell, the Problem is…There is No Clear Answer to the Question

Last week I wrote about what’s missing when rebuilding after a disaster. It turns out that it’s the same thing that’s missing in everyday construction.

There’s simply a lack of good construction contractors.

So, what does it mean to be a “good construction contractor”?

As I was searching for ideas and answers to this question, I found very little and I mean, VERY LITTLE about it. Apparently, either nobody knows what it takes, or everyone assumes everybody already knows.

In my web search I found one article that spoke to it and one that kind of spoke to it.

The one that kind of spoke to it listed the following…

Signs of a good contractor –

  • Clean record, within reason
  • Responsive and punctual
  • Listens to your ideas
  • All hired work is accompanied with written contracts
  • Provides written estimates

Are you kidding me? Doesn’t this go without saying. And what about a clean record, within reason. This is a little concerning.

Signs of a bad contractor –

  • Licensing abnormalities
  • Habitually late or doesn’t return calls
  • Avoids permits, zoning and building codes
  • Speaks poorly of clients and associates
  • Many lawsuits against them

These are definitely signs of a bad contractor.

The better of the two articles spoke about construction workers, not contractors. It listed 12 skills, several of which would also fit for a good contractor. Those were…

  • Skills specific to “actual construction” – Need to know the things required to do the job they’ve been hired to do.
  • Problem-solving skills – Every construction job has unexpected problems that pop up. It’s important to be able to find solutions to keep production moving forward.
  • Reading and analytical skills – Contractors need to be able to read blueprints and scopes of work and understand them.
  • Listening skills – Talking is easy, but listening is critical to comprehending what the customer wants and what they don’t.
  • Communication skills – Being able to communicate both verbally and in writing are important to successful construction projects.
  • Decision making skills – The problem-solving skills will be no good if no decision gets made. It doesn’t mean that every decision is going to be the right one, but no decision is definitely the wrong one.
  • Organizational skills – This is one of the most important (and often most lacking). Time spent looking for missing tools, materials, papers, etc. leads to an unfocused project and cost time and money.
  • Technological skills – This is a newer skill that is becoming more and more important. The day of the fax is about gone. Computers, tablets and smart phones are how information is being shared…and it’s only going to increase.
  • Skill of working well with others – We need to remember that we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing. Working together as a team rather than fighting and not getting along is not productive or healthy.

This list is a good starting point, but it’s the lack of information on this topic that’s so concerning. It’s no wonder there is such a huge divide between construction customers and contractors.

A “good construction contractor” seems to be a rare and undefined treasure.

I’m going to continue digging to uncover what it takes to be a “GOOD CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR”.

If you have any thoughts about what you think a good construction contractor is, share your thoughts in the comments below.

What’s One Thing Missing from Disaster Response?

More Important, What Do We Do Once We Find It?

It’s tornado season here in the mid-west. A few weeks ago, a tornado went through Andover doing a significant amount of damage.

I’ve been involved in disaster response through the United Methodist Church for several years. A couple of the bigger ones I experienced were the Greensburg and Joplin tornados.

Greensburg, Kansas

Unless you’re directly affected or involved, people forget about it once the initial excitement of a disaster wears off.

The recovery and rebuilding after the disaster happens, is a slow and painful process.

I was reminded of this on a much smaller scale with the recent situation of my truck being totaled in an accident that was out of my control. Working with the insurance, determining what I should do, then the process of replacing the truck, has been going on for weeks and will continue for a few more before I’m back in a truck.

These two separate instances reminded me of a problem with rebuilding after large scale disasters and a blog post written by Andy Andrews regarding his personal disaster experience with Hurricane Ivan.

They lived in three different rental houses during the two years following the storm and this was more fortunate than most. The destruction caused by large storms can affect hundreds of miles and thousands of buildings.

In his post he refers to this experience to be like living in a third world country.

Few are wise to the fact that after the initial “clean-up” was completed and homeowners turned to the task of rebuilding, the competition for construction crews began. Oh, there are plenty of construction companies. But in this situation, it is tougher than one might suspect to secure competent, honest, crews who will continue to actually work on your house until it’s completed. Then, there’s the question of “fair price”.

After a hurricane, there is a scent of money in the air and even the companies who agree to work for somewhere close to normal wage rates, usually sign contracts to rebuild or repair twenty, sometimes thirty or more homes at a time.

Individual homeowners are rarely clued into this gambit, however, never knowing they are merely a “ball” to be kept in the air by a skillful juggler. Best-case scenario for a hurricane victim needing extensive home repair? If a partial crew is working on your house one day out of ten, consider yourself fortunate and keep your mouth shut.  Seriously.

Remember, the lure of more and easier money is everywhere and there are any number of homeowners willing to offer your construction crew two or three times the dollar amount you are already NOT getting from your insurance company.

After Hurricane Ivan, there were thousands of homes and businesses in desperate need of rebuild or repair. Thousands. And even with the flood of labor that came in from out of state, there were less than two hundred small and large construction companies working in the area…and not nearly all of them were legitimate.

…when we were in that situation, why do you think it took us more than two years to get back in our house?

Finding legitimate, qualified building contractors in a normal situation is hard enough.

This is a big problem and it needs to be addressed.

I’m going to look into this more over the next few weeks to see if we can figure out a solution to this problem.

What’s Most Important as You Consider Doing a Construction Project?

Isn’t That a Question That Everyone Would Like an Answer To?

Whether doing a construction project yourself or hiring it done, there are some questions you’ll need answered. These will include things like…

What is the problem(s) or issue(s) that need addressed?

  • It may be as simple as a door not latching or a window sticking
  • Maybe it’s some damage or wear i.e., rotten floor framing or water damaged window sash.
  • Could be the need of something to make life easier i.e., a ramp for a wheelchair, or an enlarged shower with a bench to make it easier for someone with physical restrictions.
  • Might be needing more space for a growing family i.e., a second bathroom, extra bedroom, or larger kitchen.
  • Possibly it’s a combination i.e., your existing deck is in bad shape and didn’t get used much because of the sun in the afternoon so a covered deck to replace the existing one.  

These questions are the starting point of a construction project.

The question about these questions, is where do you get the answers?

With the ease of access to information on the internet, people use this as their go to professional. The problem with this is, more often than not, that information is generic…and your project isn’t.

Every construction project is specific and unique.

With the exception of cookie cutter new construction, which is like going to a car lot and buying an already built house. Which there’s nothing wrong with but is not what most construction projects are.

I’m currently working with multiple customers asking the questions listed above. Let me give you some examples of why you need someone to help you find the solutions to your specific question.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a project where a customer was looking for a contractor to repair some floor/wall framing damage and couldn’t find one locally. Currently we’re working to find the best solution. They probably wouldn’t find a solution to this specific issue on the internet.

Another example of the need for having a professional’s help is a window project that I was asked about.

This customer had a window that was put in in the early ‘90s and the bottom frame of the wood sash is rotting. They contacted the manufacturer’s retail store and met with a sales representative. The rep. told the customer that the problem was hail damage and all the windows needed replaced.

The customer received a quote for over $36,000 to replace these windows.

Having done other work for this customer before, they asked my opinion.

I agreed to give the customer a proposal for replacing the windows using the same windows previously quoted. My price was almost $10,000 less for the same work with the same windows.

This was before I even went to look at the project.

Having installed a lot of these windows over my career, I found it hard to believe that all of them needed to be replaced. So, I scheduled a meeting to look at the project.

After looking at it, I determined that of the thirteen windows originally quoted…only one needed replaced. All the others needed was some interior wood refinishing.

I haven’t got the proposal for this completed yet, but it’s going to be considerably less than $36,000. (I’ll let you know what it is, once it’s done)

This was a simple one size fit’s all solution that did not have the customer’s best interest at heart.

It takes experience, knowledge and a desire to help the customer find the best solution. To go beyond one size fits all.

The problem is…I can’t do this for everyone. There’s not enough of me to go around.

Just like a construction problem…

I’ll keep looking for the solution.

An “Out of the Box” Solution to Get Your Construction Projects Done

Finding the Right Contractor for the Project Can Be a Problem

This is a construction industry issue…and it shouldn’t be.

We’ve all heard horror stories where someone either couldn’t find a contractor or hired one that later they wished they hadn’t.

I’m currently discussing this with someone in the middle of one of these situations.

After recently buying a home, they found a soft spot in the floor next to an exterior wall. With some further investigation they discovered some moisture damage that includes subfloor, floor joist and exterior wall problems. Some of the issues are structural.

The first hurdle was, having recently moved to a new location, they didn’t know anyone. They began looking for contractors, finally finding a few. After contacting them, only a couple came to look at the project. Of those who did, one never followed back up and the other said they wouldn’t do the structural work.

They had reservations about these contractors. It didn’t help that they had previously had issues with a painting contractor on a different house.

If this water damage is not fixed it’s going to lead to more significant problems in the future. Finding himself in this spot, the homeowner began to consider doing the work himself. He has done some small construction projects previously, but it didn’t take him long to realize this one was more than he could do.

Not knowing what else to do he contacted me.

Theses homeowners used to live closer and knew me through a family member. The first question was, would I come the 2+ hours to do the work?

We’ve done work further away than this before, but they were bigger projects. 

My biggest concern was finding qualified sub-contractors willing to go that far for a project of this size. It will be harder with everyone currently being so busy here close to home.

I felt his pain and really wanted to help him!

It’s a problem to find qualified construction contractors, especially in sparsely populated areas. There are too many people who call themselves contractors, but really are just a guy with a hammer.

Having run into this problem numerous times throughout my career, I have given a lot of thought to possible solutions to this problem.

One of the options that continually came up in these situations is long distance construction consulting.

What exactly would this long-distance construction consulting consist of?

This is the real question, isn’t it?

The customer’s issues come down a lack of construction experience and include things like –

  • Questions to ask the contractors
  • Communication to expect from contractors
  • Construction processes, standards and codes

What if there was a way for construction customers to have an experienced contractor in their corner? Someone to explain the process and support them through the process.

I’m working on this as an option for this customer. Providing the support and insight needed to get their repairs done. Giving them the comfort of a professional they trust that has their back through this process.

This service would include –

  • Me going to the job site and evaluating the project
  • Preparing a scope of work that could then be presented to less experienced contractors, giving them the expectations for the work to be performed.
  • Preparing a budget for the customer so they would have a price to compare to prices from contractors
  • Me reviewing pictures and reports from the customer as the onsite manager

This would be similar to what a general contractor would provide with the exception of actual construction work.

Now I’m going to get to work on figuring out what this service will cost them and preparing a proposal for it.

I will let you know how this construction customer consulting goes as we move forward.

Why It’s Important to Measure Twice and Cut Once

Having a Good Plan is the Best Way to Avoid Mistakes

The importance of planning became evident this morning while working on a project at home. I mis-figured and cut two boards the wrong length. Fortunately, the cut was too long rather than too short. The boards were salvageable, it just wasted a couple of 3” pieces.

My wife had been wanting some chickens and the opportunity came up a few weeks back. My sister had more chickens than she needed as well as a small (3’ x 6’) chicken pen/coop that she didn’t need.

The goal or purpose of chickens is to have fresh eggs as well as reducing bugs. (Also, my wife loves hearing a rooster crow.) We can’t let the chickens out because the dog and them wouldn’t get along. If we leave them in one location for more than a few days, there won’t be any grass left in that spot.

It’s up to me to find a solution…

The best solution is a mobile pen that can moved around, otherwise known as a “chicken tractor”. The difference between our pen and a “chicken tractor” is the ease of portability. Our pen needs some wheels.

My problem solving/builder brain kicked in.

The pen is two separate units attached together which allows it to flex in the middle when moved. The more flexing done when moved, the weaker the attachment of the two sections will get. Okay, this means we need a frame that will prevent this from happening.

The next thing is wheels. We need to keep the pen down tight to the ground so that snakes can’t get in and get the eggs but make it so it can be rolled when it needs moved. They need to be able to be raised and lowered.

Back to the plan and minimizing mistakes.

An important part of a plan is knowing the cost upfront. Most ready to go chicken tractors of a comparable size are between $350 to $500. So, one question a plan can provide, “Can I modify the one we have so that it will do what we need for less money?”

I found a 2x4x16’ rough cedar board in the shop, left over from a project, that will work for the frame. I’ve got an old push lawn mower that doesn’t work… it has adjustable wheels. I think those will work. I have plenty of screws, etc. for fastening. So…zero cost for material.

Now comes the design and engineering phase.

I neglected to put any of my ideas into a drawing and this is where the mistake that I spoke about earlier happened. It was a simple mistake. One that was easily fixed but could have been avoided with a simple drawing. It was a miscalculation and dimensions on a plan would have shown this.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re modifying a chicken pen or building a multi-million-dollar building, both turn out better with a plan. The same is true for your life. The end result will be better having a plan and being intentional about implementing it.

The two boards that I cut too long because I didn’t have a plan on this little project was an easy fix. A new home or your life might not be so easy or inexpensive.

I will let you know how the finished project turns out!

What is “Business Clarity” and How Do You Find It?

A Lack of Knowledge and Inexperience Threatens Your Dreams

Once again, John was alone at the office late on a Saturday night working to get at least one more proposal done, before going home. He had promised four different customers their proposals this week. If all goes well, he’ll have this second one finished before midnight.

As John crunches numbers hoping he hasn’t forgotten anything, he asks himself, “Why am I doing this? I could go to work for somebody else and make more money and work less hours. This sure isn’t how I pictured it five years ago when I started the company.”

“I had no idea that running my own business would be this hard!”

John rubs his eyes and stretches his back and thinks, “I must be doing something wrong. When I was working for Gene at XYZ Construction he made things look easy. I wonder what he was doing different.”

John has been working like crazy all week long. Between production help not showing up, materials not being delivered on time, cost overruns and computer issues…projects are behind schedule, he’s losing money and even if he works tomorrow he’s going to have to disappoint at least one of the customers waiting on a proposal.

“How am I ever going to turn this around?”

When John finishes the proposal and looks at the clock, it says 12:40. It’s already Sunday he thinks and he still needs to proofread it, print it and sign it. Something has got to change! “I’ve been leaving home early and getting home late all week. I haven’t even spoken with my wife for days. I’m calling Gene Monday to see how he did things.”

First thing Monday morning John called Gene. After a few minutes of catching up, John asked Gene the question that he couldn’t quit thinking about. “Gene, I’ve been working day and night trying to keep up. When I worked for you it seemed like you had everything figured out. You weren’t stressed and when things didn’t work out as planned. Your customers understood what to expect with their projects and were happy when they were finished. What am I doing wrong?”

That’s the question that almost every business owner asks themselves.

“Know this,” Gene said, “When I started my business, I was just like you. I struggled to keep up, worked too many hours, neglected my family, was mad at myself for letting down my customers, my family and myself. I kept asking myself that same question. What am I doing wrong?”

“By the time you were working for me, I had figured some things out. It’s amazing what you can learn when going to the “school of hard knocks”. Keep in mind this is the most common process but isn’t the most effective.”

“What really turned my business around was when I found out about Solution Building’s, Blueprint for Building a Better Business.”

Think about how much easier and better a construction project goes when you have a plan. The same thing is true for a business. A plan gives you direction, keeps everyone involved working together and improves the odds for a successful outcome.

“John, if this is something you would be interested in, I would recommend starting with the, ‘Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal’. This is the most important and most neglected part of construction communication. If you’d like I would be happy to meet with you and go through the process and answer any questions.”

“If you know of any other construction companies that you think could use some help doing proposals share this information with them and they can meet with us too.”

“There’s a lot more to the ‘Blueprint for Building a Better Business’, but starting out, you should focus on the proposal system. After you get this part implemented, we can discuss which part of the business blueprint system would be best for you next.” After talking with Gene, John thought, “I’m sure glad I made this call. For the first time in a long time I feel like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t an oncoming train.”

Focus is Hard When There’s No Revenue

How to Determine When to Stop or Keep Going

What the heck am I supposed to be doing? Should I quit spending time trying to develop a coaching/consulting business? When there’s no revenue generated from it, the time spent working on it, takes time away from the current revenue generating construction.

I knew from researching, that it would take some time to develop this new business. I’ve been posting a weekly solution every week for almost four and a half years, that’s over 230 posts. During that time, I have attracted less than forty subscribers. Not to mention there is almost no interaction with the few subscribers that I have.

This raises questions. Is the content relative to our target audience? Maybe the low connection is a lack of writing ability? I started as a builder after all. Maybe it’s just a matter of how busy and overwhelmed everyone is? Maybe this isn’t the best format to reach them?

Uncertainty results in inaction.

I’ve always been a cautious person. I tend to overthink and analyze things to death. This process often leads to slow or no action. As I have considered whether to continue with the coaching/consulting, I’ve come to some conclusion. This was reached in part thanks to my wonderful Kingdom Builders Mastermind group and Andy Andrews book, The Travelers Gift, The Seven Decisions for Personal Success.

I include these seven decisions as part of my daily routine. After reviewing the input from the mastermind group, I realized these Seven Decisions paralleled the groups input and what I already knew.

Here are those Seven Decisions and how they pertain to this decision:

The Responsible Decision

My success or failure is up to me. Where I am is no one’s fault but mine. Where I end up is no one’s fault but mine. I have control over what I will do and how I will move forward. My past cannot be changed. My future is my responsibility. The buck stops here.

The Certain Decision

This is a tough one for me. I have spent too much time second guessing myself. My lack of certainty makes moving forward hard. How do I know if this is the right thing to do? I know this, because God has given me the knowledge of the need, the skills and experience to help others find solutions and a passionate heart for this task. I have a decided heart.

The Compassionate Decision

Forgiveness has never been much of a problem for me, as it relates to others. I forgive easily which often results in people taking advantage of me. Where forgiveness is an issue…is forgiving myself. I get stuck in the rut of replaying all my mistakes, failures or lack of achievements. I can’t let my past dictate my future. I will greet each day with a forgiving spirt. I will forgive myself.

The Guided Decision

When wondering what to do I seek direction from God and His Word, my friends and family, books, podcasts, blogs, etc. I’m constantly searching for wisdom. Too much of the time I’m seeking wisdom and not putting it into action. I’m looking forward to honest feedback from the mastermind group. I will seek wisdom.

The Joyful Decision

My attitude is a choice. How I respond or react to a situation is a choice. These choices affect my outlook. I can approach things with a discouraged, depressed, ungrateful heart. Or I can remind myself how fortunate and blessed I am to have been given the insight and skills needed to lead others in way to build better businesses, construction projects and lives. I will choose to be happy.

The Active Decision

Action is out of character for me. Concern that something done wrong will cause problems, leads to inaction. This inaction leads to nothing being done. Nothing being done helps no one. God is waiting for me to do something. Slow decisions lead to failure. Fear of failure keeps me from action. Just because a decision is made doesn’t mean it’s permanent. Failure only exists for the person who quits. I will not quit. I am a person of action.

The Persistent Decision

Not quitting or giving up is the cornerstone to these decisions. It is the one decision, if removed, causes the whole thing to crumble. Many times, I’m tempted to quit. By persisting, my outcome, my success, is assured. In Jeremiah, God says, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Failure only happens if I quit…I will not quit. I will persist without exception.

After running my coaching/consulting question through the filter of these Seven Decisions, I’ve determined that I will keep going.

What exactly this will turn out to be, remains to be seen. I want to know now, exactly what it’s is going to be, down to the smallest detail. I need to shift my focus from so far out, to the first next step. Writing this week’s solution is that first next step. We’ll give some thought to how to reach out to those who would benefit from our help in finding their solutions and take the first next step.

The New Website Is Here, The New Website Is Here

“Things Are Going to Start Happening to Me Now”

Just like Navin R. Johnson in the movie, The Jerk, we all want to be somebody. Being somebody is more than just having your name in print in the new phone book…

or having a new website.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be excited about the newly rebuilt Solution Building website…because we are! It’s been a long process but totally worth it. Thanks Stacey with Custom Internet Services, for another fantastic job. This site is every bit as good as the Timber Creek Construction site.

Like Navin, we all start out wanting something but aren’t sure what it is or where we’ll find it. Navin’s search is filled with up and downs, successes and failures. He could have avoided some of his heartache if he’d only had access to a website where someone was sharing what they had learned from similar experiences.

Struggles are a part of life but can be reduced if we’ll some get help.

My hope for this new Solution Building website is twofold. First it is to help prevent construction companies who are struggling with a lack of business knowledge and understanding from becoming overwhelmed and unprofitable. Second is to help their customers avoid disappointment and frustration by knowing what to expect from the construction process.

We will do this by providing businesses with systems and training to make them more efficient and profitable while educating customers in what to expect through the entire construction experience.

When construction companies have the tools they need and customers know what to expect, both can achieve their dreams.

The first tool that we’re offering is the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal. This tool consists of templates, samples and instructions on how to use the system. We are also offering a day long live workshop coming up on March 13th, where you will be given more in depth teaching and training.

You can find out more about this in these posts:

This is designed to help companies in the construction industry prepare consistent, clear accurate proposals for their customers. If you or someone you know would benefit from this Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system, send them this link so that they can build better proposals.

What Should Be Included in A Contractor’s Communication

 

 

 

 

The Nuts and Bolts of a Construction Agreement

 

The last two weeks I wrote about how to prevent your construction project from falling apart and the high cost of no communication


In the first post I focused on –

  • The fact that bad construction experiences are way too common
  • The most frequent reasons that it happens
  • The number one reason it does


Last week’s emphasis was on –

  • The high cost of this bad communication
  • Reasons communication is avoided
  • The results that can be expected when it doesn’t


What can you, as the customer, do to avoid having a bad construction experience?


It’s not as difficult as it initially appears. It will require some time, effort and education. Reading this week’s solution is a good start.


Communication needs to be thorough and understandable. If it’s not, then it really isn’t communication. When considering a construction project, it is even more important because you have a lot at stake, i.e. time, money, finished project, etc.


Before you start your project, you should expect a written proposal. This proposal should include:

  • Information pertaining to customer and job – Customer’s name, project address, what the job is, who the proposal is going to.
  • What is going to be provided by the contractor – Labor, services, material, equipment, etc.

  • Scope of work – A written-out description of what the project is going to include, specific work to be done, dimensions, materials to be used, etc.
  • Price – Amount for each specific element of the project in addition to a total for the complete project.

  • Payment arrangement – When the payments will be made (at specific time intervals or at completion of specific portions of the project).
  • Project duration – The amount of time the project will take to do after starting.


Now you have the important pieces you need to make an informed decision about your project. You should be able to determine if you and your contractor are in agreement about what the project includes, the price to have it done and how long it will take. One piece of information that is still missing, is when will the project get started. This information will come in a contract after the proposal has been signed.


If your contractor is qualified to do your project, they should be busy doing other construction projects as well as preparing other proposals. This means they can’t realistically schedule your project until the proposal has been signed.

 

Then they can follow up the signed proposal with a contract. This contract should include:

  • Information pertaining to customer and job – Same as on the proposal including any additional pertinent legal information needed.
  • Reference to any additional documents – This could be drawings, specific information about materials used, requirements of the governing body, etc.
  • Construction funding – Pertinent banking information if money is being borrowed.
  • Property specifics – Location of boundaries and/or need for surveying.
  • Start time – The time for the project to be started and the duration.
  • Terms and conditions – More in-depth explanation of project specifications, expectations, requirements and permissions.

 

This amount of communication can lead to information overload, but don’t let it. If you don’t understand something, ask your contractor. If they’re unwilling or unable to satisfactorily explain it to you, this may be another indication that they aren’t the right fit for you.

 


This construction project is your dream don’t let it turn into a nightmare.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time on the communication reason construction projects fall apart. Next week we’ll look at the second half of the list.

  • Poor quality
  • Cluttered and unorganized job site
  • Left hanging part way through an unfinished project
  • Lack of scheduling or poor time management

 

Share your construction nightmares in the comments below.

One of the Biggest Issues in Business Is Over Promising

 

 

 

 

Why in the World Do We Do This and What Are We Going to Do About It?

 

 

I received a phone call from a gentleman asking about a problem he was having with a leaking metal roof on his shop building. As normal when confronted by a situation like this I began asking questions.

 


Early in the conversation I found out some important pieces of information. First, he thought he had called his contractor neighbor. Second, they live almost a hundred miles away. I pointed out the distance and unlikeliness of my coming that far to do a project.

 


This didn’t stop him from needing answers to questions.

 

 


As the conversation continued, he shared about his problem and I (being the solution seeking contractor that I am) continued to discuss his situation with him. Then I found myself looking for ideas to solve his problems, all the time thinking to myself, why are you doing this when you know he’s so far away and you’re already doing too much.


Near the end of the discussion, I agreed that if he would send me some pictures and a written description of what the problems were, I would give him an estimate…strictly from a consulting perspective of course.

 


You know you have too much to do. Why did you do that?

 


As we ended the conversation, I told him that I was busy and would get him something as quick as I could. He proceeded to tell me a story about several experiences he had with people in the construction industry that had made promises and then not kept them. He asked why this happens? I’ve asked myself this question many times.


The question of over promising is rampant. I know that in my business it raises its ugly head daily, whether it’s sub-contractors, suppliers, IT people, mechanics or my own schedule. I certainly believe that most of the situations of over promising that I experience are not done from a place of malice. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still being done.


Why does over promising continue and what am I going to do about it?


 

Maybe this isn’t the right question. Andy Andrews says that “The quality of your answers is determined by the quality of your questions.” I’m thinking that maybe my question isn’t very good.

 

 


This is a big issue, as you can see from these previous posts.

Over Promising Is Easy When You Have A Servant’s Heart
5 Ways to Stop Over Promising and Under Delivering
How to Create Realistic Expectations for Customers – Part 1
Honesty Is the Best Policy – I Don’t Care How Hard It Is

 

 

I’m not going to stop looking for an answer to this question.