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Perception is Powerful, by Corinne Maddox, CCM, CFM

By the nature of what we do, a project manager's value is often unappreciated by our clients, or in some cases we are viewed as a trouble maker for our efforts to get the client the best price, best quality and fastest completion. In many cases, clients do not recognize that our techniques are saving them money and it is often a matter of managing expectations. Some project managers "prove" their worth by documenting project cost savings. Here are some suggestions how to do it:
  • Get a preliminary cost estimate from a construction contractor. Make sure the estimate includes all possible costs and a contingency. Compare this with final project costs to show savings.
  • Do value engineering as a special team meeting to create awareness. Document the team's cost reduction suggestions and the estimated savings.
  • Anytime you save money and time, add this to the savings list, such as negotiating or rejecting change proposals/orders, space reduction ideas, higher than normal discounts on furniture/equipment, etc.
  • Give the client choices to save money, such as Opt. 1 to do a proprietary contract or Opt. 2 to competitively bid.
  • Track actual project costs against budgetary costs. When doing the project budget, be sure to include all possible project costs, including an allowance for client changes, construction change orders and contingency (5-10% new projects, 15-20% for renovation). Estimate on the high side: clients are happy when costs are less than budget, but are upset if costs go over.

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