Job Close Out – Make it snazzy for you and your employees

This is the third in a three-part series of articles. You can find part one here and part two here.

A great Job Close Out system without documentation is only a rumor about the way your company performs the job close out process. If you don’t “get it in writing” then you don’t actually have a system. What you have is wishful thinking.

Think of your construction contracting Job Close Out system as a set of rules, policies, and procedures that trained individuals can repeat as your construction company grows, a standard they can use without your direct involvement.

Creating your system will entail two parts – the simple checklist and the detailed written specifications supporting the checklist.

We’ve never done it that way before

Perhaps in the past you’ve depended on the checklist stored in your head. Or, it could be you have a Job Close Out checklist you expect your employees to follow but have never provided the supporting documents.

Whatever your set of circumstances, if you’ve come to the conclusion that in order to see your business scale you need to add a Job Close Out checklist and Job Close Out procedures to your company’s standards you may find you have some resistance from your employees.

This article from Entrepreneur has a set of steps which I recommend reading and following if you are concerned about getting your employees to come on board and be a part of the new system you’re building on your way to scaling your construction contracting business.

I would emphasize step two when creating the Job Close Out system. Getting the employees involved in this crucial aspect of “leaving a good impression” with your customers helps them see how important this phase of their job is and allows them to input steps you may have overlooked.

Building the checklist

Whether you prefer your checklist be on your digital device or on your clipboard there are options for you.

For instance, you may want to check out the mobile app form from canvas.

As a part of their package, bridgit offers a product simply titled “closeout” which may suit your needs. (BTW, I had a brief chat with one of their representatives and was impressed with her knowledge and willingness to help me with my questions.)

Another option you can look over is Smartsheet which includes in their many construction documents one titled “Project Closeout Checklist.” You’ll have to scroll down quite a way to find it, but it is there.

If you prefer a clipboard over a digital device an option for you might be the Project Closeout Checklist from ready built forms.

As far as I can tell, each of the above options offers you a prebuilt form or a way to design the form you would use for the checklist portion of your Job Close Out system. By starting with the form of your choice you would then be able to prepare the backup documentation in order to complete the system.

One more option

Our good friends at Knowify have within their system a way we can help you design and build your checklist as well as the supporting documents that would then be integrated within your Knowify data base of information. If you’re interested in finding out about how we can work with you through Knowify give us a call 480 -442-4032 or Toll Free – 866-629-7735.

 

Job Close Out – Map a superior customer journey

This is the second in a three-part series about using a Job Close Out system to enhance your construction contracting business. If you missed the first part, you can go here. You’ll find the third part here.

Start at the finish line

Rather than getting close to the end of your project and finding you have an Easter egg hunt for what’s incomplete or unacceptable (including the dreaded punch list) working from the beginning of the project through the completion with Job Close Out in mind makes better sense for both you and your customer.

Speaking of punch lists: There has been a lot of talk lately about striving for a zero item punch list. When I first heard of the idea, my reaction was “that’s impossible.” Then I began researching the ideas and thoughts associated with the concept and discovered it is not only possible, but actually the industry as a whole is moving toward that reality rather rapidly.

So, whether your particular segment of the construction industry typically relies on a punch list or not, there is still that moment in time when you reach the finish line at each of your jobs and you close out with your customer.

Who benefits from a well-planned, systematic Job Close Out process?

Your customer

Your team

Your bottom line

Whether or not your particular customer has ever heard of the language found in the American Institute of Architects’ AIA A201-2007 document is beside the point.

“Substantial Completion is the stage in the progress of the Work when the Work or designated portion thereof is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for its intended use (2007).”

Think like your customer

The fact that your customer can “move in” isn’t enough. No matter how much they’ve enjoyed your company for the past few hours, months or years they wish to fully occupy and fully use whatever you’ve built, installed, or repaired for them.

No matter where you are in the contractor, subcontractor chain you still answer to your particular “customer.” Your ability to scale your contracting business is greatly enhanced when your reputation is for closing out your job without repeat call backs, for monitoring even the “little things,” and for finishing your project with no loose ends.

A well designed Job Close Out system will keep your team from missing vital yet routine tasks which can sometimes slip through the cracks because you or someone else on the team assumes they’ve already been carried out. Another important benefit of using a good system is that by assigning close out tasks to a specific person and having the tasks verified by different team members sets up a communication path which often leads to more information, therefore better close out.

Your Job Close Out system is an internal checklist which in reality is a customer service tool.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, makes an excellent point when he says, “We’re not competitor-obsessed, we’re customer-obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.” Making your Job Close Out system customer-centric is a wise investment of your time and is important to scaling your construction contracting business.

The next article in this series will discuss how to create a useful Job Close Out system which will serve you, your customers, and the members of your team.

Job Close Out – Why it is important

What difference does it make?

Whether your job lasts a few hours, a few months, or a few years there is still always a Job Close Out to deal with before the final payout arrives. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to please a general contractor, a home owner, or a building inspector there is still the bottom line – is everything done, finished, complete?

I’m not talking about a punch list, although a punch list will sometimes be a part of the process. I’m talking about the moment when all parties involved in the construction contract or service agreement are satisfied with the finished work. Closing out the job means your work is complete and you get paid.

Both the negative experiences (change orders, nasty weather, supply delays, and the myriad of other things which pop up during the cycle of completing your project) as well as the positive experiences will fade in the memory of your customer. Yet, there is a psychological tool you can use to enhance your chances of leaving a favorable impression on them.

How does it work?

Here, let me explain. Have you ever been given a list of items to look at for a few moments, then been asked to remember all the items on the list? Chances are you’ll be able to remember the first few things as well as the last one or two items. All the words in the middle are often lost to your short term memory.

This article explains why that happens.

Understanding this psychological circumstance makes it easy to see why not only the first impression you make on your customer, but also the last impression you leave them with are both important for the well-being of your company. And, it is best to not leave Job Close Out to chance or even to a good memory.

Putting this information to use

Systemizing your procedure for closing out your projects augments your customer satisfaction rate as well as saves you time and hassle. Whether you’re a one-man-show or have a large number of employees, making a Job Close Out procedure a priority is a must for scaling your construction contracting business.

This is the first in a three-part series. In the next part we’ll look at the importance Job Close Out plays in mapping a superior customer journey, and in the final part discuss ways to make the process work for both you as well as your employees.