How to Successfully Manage Client Expectations in the Early Stages of a Project


CCS Construction Staffing

In the beginning of a project, construction firms often hear their clients exclaim, “I’m so excited to get building!” However, as time goes on, unexpected miscommunications and changing timelines can be frustrating, stressful and even emotional.

Sometimes clients get so wrapped up in the outcomes that they forget underneath that mound of building materials is a human being leading a team working hard to create a quality product. However, if you take the time to set your client’s expectations in the early stages of a project, you can reduce the stress that can pop up down the road. In fact, at CCS Construction Staffing, we’ve seen many construction firms boost profits and productivity when they create a strategy to manage client expectations from the get-go.

Managing client expectations early on sets the stage for a project’s progress, which builds trust, encourages honesty and supports growth. Taking the time before the contract is signed to address the questions and complaints a client may have six months in definitely takes more time and energy, but it also saves you from major headaches when you’re in the thick of it. By putting in more thought at the beginning, you will gain clients that refer you to others or come back to you for other projects.

Setting clear expectations in the beginning gives your client a frame of reference for the reality of a new building project. When a client changes their mind, complains about time or hassles about costs, you can come back to this moment when everything was laid out on the table. Below are three ways to manage client expectations at the onset of your project.

  1. Give them the home field advantage.

Take the time to give them a tour of the site, read through blueprints and introduce them to managers and skilled crew members. Don’t just do this once, but periodically throughout the project. When they’re on the site, be transparent and make them feel welcome. By interacting with them at the site, they can see the progress and better understand any challenges your crew is facing and how they are solving them.

  1. Explain common setbacks and your contingency plan.

It’s been raining for a week straight – your town has even made the national news. You’d think the client would understand that you can’t ask your dry wall installers to take a boat to the job site, but, alas, not so much. Be clear early on about the kinds of setbacks that can occur, like weather or supplies shortages, that can impact progress. More importantly, explain how you’ve handled these situations in the past.

  1. Paint a clear picture of how a job site works.

When a client has unrealistic expectations about your workforce, it’s like because they don’t understand how construction projects progress. Take the time in the beginning to verbally walk them through the milestones that must be met in order for the job to be completed. When they get a glimpse of the project deliverables, they will be less stressed or confused during peak work times.

For some clients, you might never be right, no matter how much you prepare. In these cases, it’s up to you to manage your own expectations. Continue to nurture that relationship in three simple ways:

  • Engage them with thoughtful conversation.
  • Encourage them with detailed updates.
  • Support their goals as a partner, not a customer.

At CCS Construction Staffing, we specialize in helping construction companies satisfy client needs by providing robust staffing solutions. Whether you need temporary skilled laborers to get a job done on time or a direct-hire for a new project, our recruiters will give you the competitive edge you need to stand out from other firms. Give us a call today we’ll start on a customized plan to address your workforce needs.

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