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Keep Jobs On Track With Client Sign Off
Have you ever been asked to do more than you were booked to do when you get on the client site?
Scope creep is not just a common occurrence for trades businesses, it is something that if left unchecked, has the potential to seriously eat into your profit margins, set other jobs back and even cost you money.
Of course, having a small job grow into a much bigger job isn’t always a bad thing – if you were originally only asked to rewire a lounge and then kept on to rewire the whole house for example, you’ve suddenly secured a much bigger job and will make more profit without the hassle of having to find new clients.
The problem comes when the original job requires lots of additional time and materials and the client doesn’t believe that they should pay more for the work.
If you’re hired to retile a bathroom and discover a leak for example, putting that right could seriously eat into your profit if your client simply expects it to be covered by the original agreed fee.
Clearly, when jobs do change and extra requests arise, there needs to be a logical, traceable system in place which tracks those additions and sets out very clearly any additional costs.
More importantly, there needs to be a fixed and accurate record, time-stamped, which shows the customer agreed to those costs.
What Should You Do When Changes To The Agreed Job Crop Up?
If you cast your mind back, you’ve probably been asked to deviate a little from the agreed quote by doing extra work or carrying out unexpected remedial work dozens of times already this year.
That in itself is no bad thing. If your jobs grow and clients ask you to undertake more work, it’s all the better for your bottom line.
The problem arises when there is a lack of clarity or a misstep in the client communication process.
When that happens, no matter how timely your presence on site or how quickly you were able to quote with your job management software, the client relationship can break down quickly.
To avoid this happening, use your jobbing software to get the customer to acknowledge the amendment to the job and formally recognise the increase in cost.
Provided you have done your due diligence and chosen a solution such as ServiceM8, with plenty of in-built capability, you can simply have the client sign on your tablet to confirm any time or cost increases and then move on with the job.
Have A Default Form Set Up
Changes to job scope are totally to be expected in the trades business, no matter what your specific profession is.
Rather than let these be a thorn in your side which require extensive manual processes and new paper-based quotes to accommodate, the smart digital trades business will have a form ready and waiting on their jobbing software, easily accessible via smartphone or tablet on demand.
Use It To Your Advantage
There are other advantages too to having a client sign off process established and read to deploy at a moment’s notice on the job – it shows the customer your true worth.
While there is the potential for major new additions or requests to throw a job, of course, having a PDF form ready to go and sign demonstrates that you are organised and capable, with a system in place for a change.
No matter how many years you have been in business, requesting extra money at the end of a job can create friction with a client and leave you feeling uncomfortable.
A signed agreement made when the change was requested makes things less awkward and, in the case of a dispute, is easily emailed to the client with the job card to show it wasn’t originally quoted for.
Lisa Knaggs Hunter has spent 25 years helping small, medium and enterprise clients as a software consultant, Lisa now assists clients with software strategies, online training and one to one consultancy to improve efficiency and profitability.
Today Lisa manages the Software Buddy Team sharing her knowledge helping business just like yours overcome the trials and tribulations of managing projects and clients. Lisa also is a partner in her husband’s small trades business Service Buddy, so she work with trades, staff and job queries every day.
You can connect with Lisa on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaknaggshunter/