When it comes to managing projects and contractors, efficient and productive management are important. At the same time, micromanaging someone who is not your employee is a recipe for disaster. Contractors should be treated with respect and knowledge for the unique experience they bring to the table. But for you to mutually reach the desired objective, a certain level of management is required – especially for large construction projects.

While you cannot tell your contractors how to do their job, you can and should communicate what you want their job to produce. This is the crucial distinction. But the real secret to successful contractor management is managing by goals.

Goals
Goals are outcomes – not behaviors or techniques – that move the project one step closer to being done. When a contractor has a goal to work towards, be it a monthly or even weekly goal, that independent party now becomes an invested team member. Create a series of minimum goals, milestones, and incentives for contractors in order to give them the best opportunity to succeed on the project and impress you as a client.

Minimum Goals
These should be manageable but lofty enough to demand productive work practices on the part of the contractor. Minimum goals should be completed on time every time for the contract to be in good standing and ensure milestones are met. Example minimum goals include submitting weekly photographic reports, updated schedules, and weekly area or volume placement targets.

Milestones
Milestones are those achievements that earn special notice or recognition. Recognition can include a public acknowledgement or announcement, certificate of accomplishment, or a call to the site superintendent commending him or her on the efforts put forth to keep the job on track. A simple recognition of a job well done goes a long way. Milestones allow you to more effectively track progress and gauge completion timeline. Example milestones typically include signified cant accomplishments such as completion of foundation, complete interior finish-out, and commissioning of power plant and should be noted as such in project schedule.

Incentives
Incentives are optional and usually given out for work performed above and beyond expectations and can include additional compensation – small gifts like concert tickets or vouchers, or a more substantial sponsored BBQ lunch or dinner. Incentives are a great way to encourage exceptional performance.

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