As a responsible business owner, you always have one eye on your bottom line. But lately, one of your projects keeps eroding your profit margin due to the problem of scope creep. While you are committed to keeping your clients happy, you realize that you must draw a line somewhere.
Just how did you wind up in this conundrum? What led to the difficulties you are now having to bring this project to a close?
Scope creep appears innocuous but becomes insidious
All projects need a degree of flexibility to accommodate weather problems and other unforeseen circumstances that can delay or derail a project that’s full steam ahead. The problems begin when clients request or demand changes to the agreed-upon parameters of the project. If allowed to continue unabated, scope creep can easily triple a workload and put you in the red.
What is reasonable and what is not
Your client tours the job site and is dismayed that the morning light into the kitchen is insufficient and asks for the addition of two windows to brighten the space and open it up. That is likely doable with few major changes. However, if the same client decides the kitchen is just way too small and insists that you knock out a weight-bearing wall to expand it, you are going to have a big problem.
Cut scope creep off at its knees
The best way to fight back against scope creep is to cut it off at its knees. To do that, you need ironclad contracts and work orders. This also applies to any subcontracts that might affect your project. Each and every change — and the resulting costs for same — must be initialed by all parties. Then, if you want to toss in a couple of window slots gratis, your client is fully aware of this.
The same goes for all costs, consequences and delays associated with the dismantling of a weight-bearing wall. Leave nothing to chance.
Loop in your lawyer
Your business law attorney can draft work orders and contracts specifically to prevent scope creep from draining your company’s resources. Don’t hesitate to keep them in the loop!