In the world of real estate investment and development there is plenty of discourse concerning client and tenant relationships, but less care and attention given to how to effectively manage communications and expectations with contractors.
As a key part of the development process, contractors can make or break a project. In turn, learning how to communicate with and supervise contractors is an indispensable skill when it comes to successful project management.
With decades of experience in the field, Craig Nassi understands the importance of managing contractors to meet expectations and deadlines. A large part of his success can be attributed directly to his negotiation and planning skills, clear communication methods, and sharp business sense. Here, he outlines several key tips for managing contractors in order to successfully complete a real estate development project.
Before Hiring, Define the Project’s Purpose and Scope
According to Craig Nassi, effectively managing contractors starts even before the hiring process begins; the project manager must concretely identify the job’s purpose and scope in order to determine what kind of contractor will fit that purpose.
When the hiring process begins, you must be able to verbally and concisely relay precise requirements, taking care to make sure any prospective contractors show distinctive evidence of suitability as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the project’s goals and purposes. You cannot expect a contractor to meet your expectations if you have not expressed those expectations in explicit detail.
This initial communication will form the basis of effective management and set the precedent for all future communication and expectations. Without straightforward, clear communication in these initial stages of the process, the project will surely fail.
Make the Contractor a Part of the Team
Monitoring a project’s progress and performing routine inspections is an essential part of keeping the development process on track. Unfortunately, these routine check-ins can strain the management-contractor relationship and cause communication problems regarding the project if there is no positive, personable relationship between the project manager and the contracting team.
By creating a positive and personable relationship with the contractor, project managers will be able to more closely and more effectively conduct inspections and keep closer tabs on the project’s progress. According to Craig Nassi, these routine inspections should be aimed at making progress and catching problems and should be done with a light-touch process rather than aggressive over-the-shoulder management methods. This will inspire a sense of trust and foster a comfortable, productive relationship between project management and the contractor.
Allow for Flexibility in the Project Timeline
Each step of the project should be concretely planned, with each step outlined firmly and shared in detail with the contractor and team members. That said, when constructing this detailed timeline, it is important to build-in flexibility measures.
As explained by Craig Nassi, including wiggle room in your project timelines is the best way of expecting the unexpected; progress does not always go according to plan, even for the best and most efficient contractors. Creating space for flexibility in the project’s schedule and anticipating potential delays and hang-ups is essential to minimizing stress and keeping the project moving forward effectively despite any potential delays.