March 2009: Full Contact Project Management


March 2009

Full Contact Project Management

Masonry Magazine

project management

Can Your Camcorder Improve Profits?

Did you make it to January’s Hardscape North America show in Atlanta? Masonry had a big presence there as an event sponsor. And so did I, as a speaker. It seemed as if everyone there was looking for answers: new info, new markets and new ways to do things, which ties right into what I’ve been writing about this year.

Believe it or not, an important lesson I taught that roomful of contractors was a definition of insanity: continually doing something the same way but expecting different results. That’s why we mapped out a plan for success for this year.

My speech was entitled, “Get Paid for a Change!” Everyone in the room mentioned that the most pressing question they needed answered for their businesses was how to deal with the economy, and that’s what we focused on. We agreed that a little different thinking might be in order. What should we consider doing this year that we never did before?

Coach Gary says:

“Be proactive in 2009. Don’t wait for problems to come to you; head them off.”

Coach Gary Reminds:

“Preventative actions cost a lot less than repair work.”

Coach Gary says:

“Seize 2009 as your year. Others won’t, but you can!”

My answer was simple: Let’s stop giving away our profit! Let’s get paid for our work. That’s the Full Contact PM mindset. They left with some tools to use and a different perspective, but they didn’t get what I am about to give you right now. This is the year you finally make good use of your video camera on the jobsite.

One of the big things I try and do on every job is to create a pre-construction video of the jobsite. For full details on how to make this happen, visit For now, here is the basic idea.

Before you even allow your crew to step foot onto the jobsite for the first time, take out your camcorder and video the work area. You want to establish what the place looked like before you got there, documenting things like scratches or cracks on the walls or the walks, or things that might just have been there all along. Don’t let your presence on the jobsite be an excuse for a client to suddenly hold you accountable for problems you did not cause.

Are you thinking it’s too big of a hassle? Let me give you an example from one of my own jobs during the last year. A client came to me and wanted our company to replace a bunch of sidewalks that he thought my crew had cracked. I knew we were not the guilty party, because I saw those cracked sidewalks before we even moved onto the site. But, I had done something in addition to noticing the cracks: I documented them in a video.

Imagine how gratifying it was for me, when I asked the client to play the DVD that I gave him – labeled “Pre-construction Site Video Inspection” – in a submittal for his review. As he finally viewed the video, he saw and heard me on the DVD point out the terrible condition of the walks around the project site.

That little video, which took an hour or so of my time to make on an inexpensive camcorder, saved my project more than $10,000.

This year is a mindset change year for all of us who want to survive and thrive. Opportunities exist amongst the chaos for those strong and smart enough, and resilient enough, to weather the storms.

2009 can be the year that puts your company on the map, for keeps, or else maps out the demise of it, because you couldn’t sustain it. It’s a choice. It’s a mindset. It’s a strategy.

Coach Gary’s Corner:

Get a free report on using video to improve your bottom line at The best athletes use coaches, and continue to use them even after they’ve become great. How about you? You need a process. How about one that’s simple, but effective? Masonry readers get this for free! Visit, and click on the link near the top of the page. You also can get Coach Gary’s book, “Get Paid for a Change!”

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