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Purchase Orders Are Critical – Here’s Why…

My friend and colleague, Bryan Kaplan of Construction Consulting, recently sent an email about his experience with Purchase Orders that was so insightful, I asked him if I could share it with you. This quick read will provide you with a handful of Quick Wins!

It was 11 pm on a random Saturday, and this text came in from a client.
“The rads look great but they’re the wrong ones!”

Instantly, a knot formed in my stomach, knowing I was staring down the barrel of another potential project delay and conversation about money.

You know those projects where no matter how hard you try, something always seems to go sideways, and your client keeps pinning everything on you?

This was one of those projects.

When you get a text like that from a client, you naturally go into research (or panic) mode to figure out where things went wrong. I…

  • Scoured BuilderTrend
  • Checked the original estimate
  • Scanned through a few hundred emails

And then, I found what I was looking for to keep us from paying to replace those radiators.

A few months earlier, the construction manager on this project (who had since left the company) had given me some opposition to a new process I put in place.

It was an extra step in the workflow, and despite my best efforts to explain the WHY we need to do this, he viewed it as unnecessary.

Until this moment.

That process was the Purchase Order.

Sample Purchase Order

Looking back through all the documentation for this project, I found the original Purchase Order signed off by our HVAC trade partner.

The Purchase Order had the correct radiator specification and even had a cut sheet of the Stelrad attached to it.

It was clear that the HVAC tech was sent (or ordered) the wrong rads. And in the end, we ended up negotiating a slight discount for the client instead of delaying the project.

That’s WHY a Purchase Order is critical. It:

✔️ Provides clarity into the Scope of Work
✔️ Documents a formal sign off on the exact products supplied
✔️ Gives everyone a place to re-visit for the “truth” when our memory fails us

It’s a simple process that can save you from eating thousands of dollars of cost.

If you’re not doing Purchase Orders right now, how would YOU protect yourself from replacing these rads?


About Bryan

Bryan Kaplan is a residential building coach who helps residential builders create a highly profitable and efficient business by integrating proven systems and processes in a one-on-one format.  He's spent 20+ years in the residential renovation and custom new home building space as a red-seal carpenter, site super, project manager, and general manager.

Bryan has seen a lot of what does and doesn’t work and has developed proven systems to help residential builders manage the workload and scale their business.

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