How to finish every project with happy clients


When a project begins, everyone’s all smiles. That’s good. Make a point to keep it that way throughout the project.

By having a well defined process you follow when you close a project, you can rest assured that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. You can also share parts of this procedure with your client, so that they are in the loop and know what to expect as the job winds down.

Record your process

Write down your completion process so that everyone’s happy at the end of the job. Write down exactly what needs to be done, by whom, when, and in what order. Closing a job is pretty much the same on every project. You have to make sure that you did everything you promised and that any known defects have been fixed.

The Project Completion outline

The list below is an outline of suggested points that you might write into your own Project Completion Process. In this process example I’ll go over the details you could include under each one of these main points.

  • Various ways to track the completion process
  • Completion of the project
  • Pre-punch list
  • Punch list with client
  • Final inspection and Certificate of Occupancy
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Final collection of monies
  • Issuance of warranties
  • Marketing the project
  • Post job follow-up
  • A mind map of the completion process

the completion process outline image

Each main point in this outline is assigned to a particular person.

Various ways to track the completion process – 3 examples

1. You could create a checklist on paper.

2. Another creative way to work off checklists is using an app called Evernote.

using Evernote for your checklist

Evernote is a digital information gathering program thats helps you remember and act upon ideas, projects and experiences across all the computers, phones and tablets you use. In this case you would share this note or even a whole folder with those involved in this phase of the project. Since it is a shared note, all participants will be able to see items as they are checked off (completed) in real time. Some people run their entire organizations with this versatile program. Click here to see an introduction to Evernote.

3.  Use a dedicated program to handle your entire business.

a dedicated project management program

In this option I’m showing you a program called JetStream. These types of programs handle scheduling, estimating, proposals writing, change orders, leads and much more. All in one integrated package. There are many programs like this to choose from – if you’d like to learn more about JetStream, click here.

A Project Completion Process Example – An example of the procedure used when closing a project

Confirm completion of all contracts and orders

a task list

Completion of the project: One week before the estimated finish date for a project, the project manager should read over the entire contract and verify that all items in the proposal have been delivered, or will be by the end of the project. Read over all Change Orders to verify that they have been completed as promised. Read over all Work Orders to verify compliance and completion. Read over all correspondence with the client, whether it was addressed to the project manager or some other participant. Verify that all details mentioned or promised in this correspondence has been fulfilled.

The Pre-Punch List

the pre-punch list

Since our goal is to have a Zero Client Punch List at the end of the project, it is the duty of the lead carpenter to note and correct defects on a daily basis. The lead carpenter is expected to notify the trade or material supplier immediately about any defect and schedule a timely repair. This is most effective when scheduled before the trade or material supplier has been paid. The above list is just a partial checklist.

The lead carpenter is to note any and all defects and their corrections in the project’s Daily Journal. The pre-punch list is vital to the reputation of a [Company name]. Make it your goal to fix any defects before the client ever notes them.

Client Punch List

the client punch list

The project manager is to set up a meeting with the clients immediately after the project is considered substantially complete (see payment schedule verbiage in the Proposal Contract template. Review each and every space where [Company name] has been working or has used for storage, etc. Inquire whether they are satisfied with everything that has been done.

If they have any defects that they want corrected, make a note of these on the Client Punch List form and have them sign a copy of the form. Review the form verbiage with them, explaining that when the defects on the Client Punch List are corrected, then the project is considered 100% complete and payment is to be made in full. Remind them of the one year warranty and that if they find subsequent defects, those will be handled under the terms of the warranty.

Deliver a copy of the Client Punch List to the lead carpenter, whose duty it is to schedule all of the corrections on the list.

It is extremely important that these items are corrected as soon as possible. Make this clear to all of the trades and material suppliers involved.

Final inspection and Certificate of Occupancy

final inspection checklist

As soon as the project reaches the stage where it can be inspected and passed, schedule a final inspection. Request the Certificate of Occupancy and file the notice at the office of [Company name].

Notify the Project Manager and the Office Manager that the project has passed final inspection, so that they can begin other procedures that are linked to a successful final inspection.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction checklist

After the Client Punch List has been fulfilled, the Project Manager is to meet once again with the clients and inquire about their satisfaction with all the work that has been performed. Note any concerns they are raised at this meeting in the project’s Daily Journal.

customer satisfaction checklist-2

The Project Manager will show the clients how to use any appliances and any other devices that were installed in their home by [Company name]. Go over all of the User Manuals with them. Make sure that they are well versed on everything in the home, including but not limited to appliances, faucets, dimmers, distributed audio, home theater, any automated systems, and thermostats.

Advise the clients about anything that they should be cautious of.

Create a Maintenance Manual that shows the client how to maintain any item that [Company name] installed and deliver to them.

Collect the final check

final collection of payment

The Project Manager is to collect the final check from the client as soon as the Client Punch list has been completed and the Customer Satisfaction step is complete. Remind the clients once again that any additional defects will be corrected under the warranty.

Issuance of Warranties

Issuing the warranty

The Project Manager will issue all of the warranties when she or he has received the final check.

Do not deliver warranties before the final check is received.

Marketing the Project

marketing the project

If the clients checked and initialed the Okay to Market clause in their contract (see Scientific Remodeling System Proposal template), then proceed with the marketing of the project. Collect good before and after pictures of the project and post them on Houzz and Pinterest.

(In some cases you may want to post an article in your blog about the project. A completed project has enormous capacity to help you in your marketing.)

Post Job Follow-up

post-project follow-up

After receipt of the final check the Project Manager will prepare a digital photo album of the project and deliver it to the client. In addition to the photo album, the Project Manager will select a gift that will be useful to the clients. This could be a lovely floral arrangement, a gift card to a kitchen and bath store, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

Always ask your clients for referrals, as these are the life-blood of the company. If you have done your job well, they will be very happy to refer new clients to us.

Don’t expect referrals if you don’t ask for them.

That’s the end of the Project Completion Process example. You can use these steps in your own process write-up. Modify them so they fit your company culture and standards. Add more details and clarify the steps. The more effort you put into the process recording, the better the results. And the pay-off will continue for many years to come.

This article was written by Randall S. Soules, writer, remodeling coach, advisor, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System. The Scientific Remodeling System will show you easier ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to learn more about this eCourse and all of the forms and contracts available to Premium Members, click here. You are free to reprint or copy this article to your blog, newsletter, staff, etc. as long as the article is shown in its entirety and has a live link to

© 2015-2017