Every now and then a project estimate is way below the actual time spent on a project. While it’s important to continually improve our estimation process, going over budget does happen on occasion. We usually cap our projects with a not-to-exceed figure, so unless the scope of a project changes, we eat the costs when going over budget.
When we do go over budget, I don’t focus on the budget at all. In fact, I don’t focus on the financials of a deal once the deal is signed. From that point forward, the most important thing to me is delivering what we agreed to deliver at the highest quality and with the friendliest service no matter the cost. If scope happens to change along the way, then you can renegotiate the original deal, but it does you no good to cut corners or cop a negative attitude toward a client because you underestimated the work. Doing so is only going to sour a relationship that could have been a fruitful one over the long term. And for what? Over a few hundred or maybe thousand dollars? In my experience, the potential return on investment by keeping the client relationship positive is much greater.
So the next time you feel the pressure of going over budget on a project, don’t sweat it. Stay focused on getting the job done and making your customer happy. After the project is complete, take the time to evaluate your estimating process so that you can improve upon it. Maybe the next time around you will exceed your customer’s expectations while budgeting the work accurately.