“We really liked the consultant who first came to see us to discuss our renovation. But after he left, the project manager took over and we felt like promises the consultant made weren’t kept.”
Many successful construction companies use the salesman/project manager approach. A salesman (or “remodeling consultant”) is the first point of contact for new clients. He meets with the clients to discuss the project, puts a proposal together and then asks the clients to sign the contract. After the clients sign the contract, a project manager (PM) takes over to perform the scope of work specified.
The problem with this approach is that the consultant is a salesman whose goal is to get a signature on a contract. Though the salesman may have the best of intentions and may have done his due diligence to provide an accurate estimate and submit a great proposal, sometimes the commitments he makes to the clients are more than the PM can fulfill. This often causes the clients to get caught in the middle between what the salesman promises and what the project manager can deliver.
During my time at L & L Contractors, we have always conducted client business with a one-point-of-contact approach. Every project manager is the single point-of-contact for his clients. After a client's initial call, a PM will contact him or her to set up an appointment. The same PM will arrive and discuss the project face-to-face during the initial consultation. After the scope of work is determined, the PM will personally write the estimate and contract for work to be performed. After the client signs the contract, the PM then initiates the work and manages the entire project. The project manager will continue to work with the client through the end of the project.
The biggest advantage to this approach is that the project manager alone is responsible for every commitment made to the client, from the initial meeting until the final walk-through.
Which approach do you prefer; working with a salesman first and then with the project manager or dealing with only the PM through the entire project?