Many remodeling companies do a handoff process shortly before a project starts. If you don’t, here are the basics. Sales, Design and Production meet to go over the job. The purpose is to get the Production staff acquainted with the job and free up Sales and Design to focus on more sales.
The meeting can be as long as several hours or as short as half an hour, it depends on the content and the details a company wants to discuss. There are common elements that go into handoff meetings:
- Plans and the scope
- Trades that will be included and their contracts for the job
- Items that are selected and — most importantly— ones that are not
Too often, known problem areas get no attention. But this is probably the most critical topic to discuss. The Lead Carpenter or Project Manager can read all the other information during a separate planning time, but what invariably causes problems is the information that’s not written down.
There are three main areas that are essential but aren’t discussed with production enough, and one more that I’d like to see become standard.
1. The Clients
Not just their names, but how they make decisions, who cares the most about the kitchen, what seems to be their biggest driver for this job, and what about family life? The Salesperson has usually discovered all of these and has tried to incorporate into the project. If they’re not shared, the on-site manager will invariably make a mistake that will violate something the client assumes is known.
2. Problem Areas
There are always problem areas hidden in the plans and scope. We know they’re there and Sales and Design knows. So talk about them them up front — get it out of the way so the job manager knows the Sales and Design team has thought about these things. The alternative is the Production team discovers them later, and will almost always have a negative reaction.
3. The Budget
We’re always messing with the budget to “get the job.” The reality is that in some cases we feel we have to, and in other cases we just do. So in the handoff it’s good to alert the site manager about any places that Sales or Estimating thinks are tight or simply have been cut to get the job. This gives the site manager has time to prepare, and it develops trust for their team mates.
4. The Visuals
Recently I worked with two companies that were doing things I thought were very cool during the handoff meeting. Both were centered on visual cues.
We know that the Sales process is visual — clients look at pictures, samples, and often 3D drawings. But then we hand production a 2D set of plans and a written scope.
One of these companies shares the “Inspiration Pictures” that led the client to actually do the project. This gives the site manager an idea of what the client expects. Now, they may have had to tone it down to a budget, but at least there is a real vision for what the client wants.
The other company is sharing a 3D rendering the client sees as part of the Sales process. The site manager now can imagine what the product should look like. If there’s anything that reality deviates from the 3D vision, it can be addressed before the client sees it in place.
The main idea to remember about this handoff meeting is that the job details are a little incidental. The most important aspect is getting the site manager ready to interact with the client. If you can effectively set that stage, you’ll have no trouble building the thing!