The turnover of information from sales to production is a tricky maneuver. In some cases the meetings are too long. In other cases the focus is wrong. Here are 10 questions that a lead carpenter should ask before the turnover is finalized, and the thought process behind the questions.

1. What commitments have you made to the clients that are not represented in the written documents? “The more I know about these the less I will be surprised and potentially say something inappropriate.”

2. Is there any budget item that you think is really tight or already over-budget? “Tell me now so I can be especially careful about how I approach that item.”

3. What are the personality types of the clients? “And probably more important, What should I watch for and how should I respond?”

4. Who is the decision-maker? “It’s always nice to know up front who the primary contact point is for the job. It saves a large amount of time on the job.”

5. Who writes the checks? “I sure don’t want to assume on this one. It could be very insulting to someone!”

6. What is the overall intention of the clients with this project? “The more I know about what they want, the better I can help them make decisions and realize their vision.”.

7. Are there any details that have intentionally been left for me to figure out? “I know that during the planning of this job there could be things that are difficult to think through until walls are removed and the building skeleton is exposed. If I know about it now, I will be less likely to think you simply ignored it, and it will make us more of a team.”

8. What are the client’s primary fears or hot-buttons? “Every client has some fear going into the remodeling process. If I know now what that is, I can avoid committing some error that puts them on edge.”

9. What are some of the site difficulties? “As I plan the job, this helps me know how much time needs to be allotted for trash removal, moving lumber, and such.”

10. Are there any decisions that are in flux that I should finalize before materials are ordered or installed? “I know people change their minds as they see the new space. If I know that they might change their mind, I’ll confirm items before they are installed.” 

—Tim Faller is president of Field Training Services and author of The Lead Carpenter Handbook.

More related articles:

Pass the Baton: Sales to production hand-off form

Talking Points: This project start questionnaire helps make the hand-off from sales to production as smooth as possible by covering key points with clients

: Key traits a production manager should have, based on the DISC personality assessment tool The Ideal Production Manager