Be Honest with Your Clients About Supply Chain Issues
I am always in favor of being completely honest with your clients - it really saves you problems in the long run. And that includes heading problems off at the pass. Communication is key to a successful project. (Yes. It's my mantra!) That is especially true when you know there are going to be problems from the very beginning.
The pandemic and shutdowns around the world have caused major supply chain issues. And we can't hide that from our clients. They need to know exactly how these issues are going to impact their projects. Because as much as we assume they already know, they're really in their own bubble and may not understand ALLLL of the implications! So here are the things I think you should be discussing with your clients ASAP:
Delays & Rising Costs in Construction
Yes, you have got to be honest and upfront about this one! Our clients don't get that the lack of toilet paper on store shelves is related to construction delays. Both are a direct result of timber shortages. It isn't that wood is in short supply. It's the workforce that's missing as the world deals with quarantines, distancing at work, and complete shutdowns. And then there are the tariffs on wood coming from Canada. It's a perfect storm for construction issues. Talk with your clients about how that may increase the timeline on a project. And it will definitely increase the budget. Some areas are seeing construction costs go up as much as 20%, so your client needs to plan for that.
Furniture Delivery Issues & Price Increases
Most furniture has a certain amount of wood in it, so the same problems will hit deliveries here, too. Be sure you're communicating with your customer service reps and the companies you work with most. The more information you have, the better. Furniture and accessory vendors are doing their best to deliver as quickly as they can, but they are also at the mercy of suppliers. One issue in a supply chain can knock every single point of service out of whack! And then there's the issue of pricing. At the recent High Point Market, there was a lot of talk about price increases. It isn't a matter of IF, but WHEN. As if all that wasn't bad enough, if the furniture is coming from overseas it will hit even more delays. Containers are at a premium, and ports are overwhelmed and understaffed. You need to be on top of your orders more than EVER before. And you may have to deliver more bad news to your clients each time the delivery date is pushed back. But if you have talked with them from the beginning about what is going on, at least they won't be surprised.
How Your Client Can Help
Your client actually CAN help make the process go smoother, so talk about that with them! They should be open to other ideas if things are backordered or delayed. And they should make decisions as fast as possible so you can move quickly to new options. You can help them, too, by going over the budget carefully and talking with them about being as patient as possible. Their project can still move forward and look fabulous, as long as everyone is communicating!
To help you do that, download my FREE Client Communication Log. It will help you keep up with consistent meetings to have honest talks with your clients!
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