This Expansion – This Upgrade

How Much of My Time is This Gonna Take

By Richard Denzer

A Grizzled Development Veteran

Yes, it’s true. I have 30+ years in developing with over $7 billion of projects designed and built. With all the brevity I can muster, here are the three questions you need to have the answers to.

You’re getting serious about expanding, and upgrading your your facilities. You have a general idea about how much its gonna cost, and the overall length of the process.

The real question is How Much of Your Time is Needed to get this baby off the ground and completed. Good question . . .

Here are Four Ways to Execute Your Project — 

  • One – You Do It All Yourself
  • Two – You and Your Assistant Have at It
  • Three – You Hire an Expert to Help & Do it Together with Your Assistant
  • Four – You Hire an Expert to Do It All For You

First, let’s discuss a key element of all successful projects.

For a successful project — You (ownership) needs to be present and available to make decisions. There is no way out of this one. And here’s a hint.

In All of My Years and All of My Projects the Major Speed Killer is
Ownership Being Absentee.

There is an old and accurate saying in real estate — “If You’re There You Care.”

The most successful projects have ownership there, available and ready to make decisions. Makes sense, right, you have a team and the team moves when decisions are quick and clear. Momentum is created and maintained.

And Momentum is your friend, like the wind at your back.

Pretty simple. With you there — The Project is moving and quickly.
Everyone is confident, every one is focused.
All is good.

With that in Mind, let’s review the Four Ways
You Could be Involved in the Project

1. You Do It All Yourself – in this scenario you would locate, interview, hire and manage the consultants (architects, engineers) for the design and approval process. Following that you would locate, interview, hire and manage construction contractors.

If you have experience in this area this approach is something to consider — IF.

Here’s the big IF — the business you are expanding for runs like a systemized machine.
In short, can your business(es) afford your absence during this development period.

If it can I would consider it — with caution.

Here’s why, construction or development projects are time consuming and a distraction from your money making businesses.

As an example, a number of developers that have successful businesses developing, building their own home — lose focus on their business — you guessed it — tanked, losing millions. This lost focus on their core business and suffered the consequences.

Painful — and they develop for a living.

Below is a list of the people you would be managing for your project if it was a ground up expansion:

  • Surveyor
  • Civil Engineer
  • Architect
  • Structural Engineer
  • Mechanical, Plumbing & Electrical Engineer
  • Interior Designer
  • Landscape Architect
  • Permit Expiditer
  • Loan Consultant
  • Project Manager and or
  • General Contractor
  • Sub Contractors, (7 to 20+)
  • City Relationships (politics)
  • Neighbors (politics)
  • Outreach Consultant
  • Renderings
  • IT & Data
  • Website Postings

You May Have These Consultants in your mix too —

  • Kitchen Consultant
  • Factory Machine Consultant
  • Water & Power Consultant
  • Planning Consultant for an EIR

I think that makes the point — lots of people to manage, before construction and during. And you have financing to look at and execute too.

And you have an additional opportunity I suggest you take advantage of — Marketing.

This is a great opportunity to let your clients, vendors and supporters know about this exciting project and how they are going to benefit too.

With this Method Expect to Use This Much Time Per Week.
Each project has a different size of scope and complexity. Yours might be a simple office expansion. Non the less, you go through the same process no matter the size or complexity. In this design and build (development) process the beginning requires an intense period of effort that allows you to get to the milestone of a designed project. This designed project that you want to build allows you to price, and confirm you can build the project your desire. Big deal getting to this point.

And it takes that focused effort to get there.

In this Method Where You Do It All expect to spend most of your hours – 30 to 40 hours per week in the beginning to get your project designed, priced and confirmed it can be approved by the governing agencies. Once you have accomplished this first large milestone your required hours can be cut down to 16 to 24 hours per week.

I know this sounds incredibly intense and it is. If you decide to take the slow route and spend half the time, it will take you three or four times longer. This is because the slower longer method doesn’t build any momentum – so weeks go by with little to show for.

The more complex your project the more months of time are required. If your project is a simple one, its shorter.

So, if your gonna take it on all by yourself, lean into it and create the momentum..

2. You and Your Assistant Have At It and Do It Together. When you have a two man team to lead the way you can get some great momentum. And momentum makes all of this effort easier.

Can you assign someone in your company to assist or even better lead this Development Effort from the Ownership Side.

Let’s remember your “Big Gotta Do” — you have to “Be There.”
You’re the leader — its your business, share your enthusiasm — build excitement.

Ok, what I wrote in the previous, Do It All Yourself Section, your most intense time period is the beginning and its here that the project gets set up for success. The big hint here is to do this very well and allow the construction to be executed with speed, quality and efficiency. The big mistake is to plan poorly prior to construction. Poor or weak Planning prior to construction makes for a longer, more expensive construction period and a ton of pressure on you.

In this Scenario you and your assistant are a two man team. And this is a good thing. Because there are two of you, momentum can be created and action is always occurring.

Now, you can create a plan and your assistant can keep it in motion. Get the follow up going for you. Making sure the items you need are being provided and achieved. Its a lot. a lot of phone calls, research, interviewing, meeting, thinking and documenting. It takes time and having an assistant in this method is a blessing.

With this Method Expect to Use This Much Time Per Week.
Here, in the beginning where you are working to achieve your first milestone a, designed project that is approvable — you can expect to spend 16 to 20 hours a week for you. Your assistant will have the same amount of time required, 16 to 20 hours a week. Once you get your project designed, cost estimated and confirmed you can approve it from your governing agencies you can drop the required hours per week down to 4 to 8 hours a week for both you and your assistant. This will carry on through construction. I know it sounds like a ton of time. And I will stand on my well earned experience here — “Being There” is the key to a smooth and efficient project. By “Being There” you insure your project stays on track and all the people that are helping you do too.

3. You Hire an Expert to Help and Collaborate with is a great way to go. After all the Expert has the contacts, knows the fastest process for design, entitlement, permitting and construction.

You and your assistant get to take the shortcut to success and get there quickly and easily.

And you still have your hands in the meat of it.
If you like having control and want a short learning curve, this process could be the one for you.

Sure the expert costs money up front, yet saves big in the end.

With the Expert in place you have good things happening –

  • Shorter length of the process,
  • Less time spent on your part,
  • Less worry about doing the right thing,
  • You get to spend more time on growing your business

This Method is a good one when you are time constrained. Maybe its that time when family time is at its most important. Your kids are in Little League, Dance or Basketball camp. Your family is your priority and you sure don’t want to miss out. This Method does a lot to save your quality family time. With an expert in place your worry factor drops and your confidence grows – things are being taken care of quickly and properly.

Your major efforts are attending scheduled meetings and making decisions with information that is prepared for you vs. having to do all the prep work too. Your assistant is now tracking the progress for you and you can see the progress as the invoices are coming in from the consultants and contractors for progress payments.

Now, you’re are able to focus on growing your business and even working on Marketing. Letting your clients and prospects know you are expanding and improving to serve them better.

With this Method Expect to Use This Much Time Per Week.
Here’s the good news. In the beginning with your expert in place you can cut your time in the beginning to 8 to 12 hours per week. Your assistant will be about the same 8 to 12 hours. And the time it takes you to get to the designed, cost estimated and assured approval milestone is half the length of time. Say, from 6 months to 3 months. You will be moving swiftly, your progress will be fresh in your mind and your decisions will come quickly and easily. Having an Expert in place is pleasurable. You are confident of your decisions and your progress.

4. You Have An Expert Do It All for You — experts have teams to execute this work and this method can be very effective and time saving for companies and their CEO’s. Less distraction, more time for growing the business. Your Expansion and Upgrade is still a project that requires oversight and time, however its the least time consuming of the four methods.

This method does require you and your companies time up front. Once that heavy lifting is completed you are able to see the progress week to week and just stay abreast.

So, what happens up front. The designers and architects need your goals, desires, and requirements to make the project happen. This takes time and energy on your part and probably on your teams part too. Depending on your project and the complexity of it, your time commitment could be a month or a few months of heavy thinking and involvement.

Once that’s done, the project requires overview on your part, that’s it.

In the beginning once a week meetings do the trick and a lot gets accomplished. With momentum and the major decisions made and committed to, your meeting time is reduced to meeting every two weeks. And these meetings can be done via conference call and or “Go To Meeting” or “FaceTime.”

I know I’am being redundant, your job will always include —
“Being There Because You Care.”

All of these projects are a lot of work and your support, and your inspiring presence makes it go quicker, smoother. Its a great opportunity to show off your leadership and build the ever profitable team unity, loyalty, trust, and motivation to do incredible things.

With this Method Expect to Use This Much Time Per Week.
In the beginning you have weekly meetings that last 2 hours each. After these fun and intense design meetings these weekly meetings become 1 hour meetings. Your homework before and after each meeting is minimal. So, your time expenditure in the beginning where the heavy lifting is — is 3 hours per week and your assistant would be about the same or less. Once the project design is under way and refinements are being made your time requirement will drop to 1 to 2 hours per week. Your assistant will be 2 hours per week or so, as she will follow up and pay the incoming bills for the project.

In a couple of months the weekly meetings will become twice a month meetings and those will take an hour each. These meetings can be had via conference call, Skype, Go to Meeting or FaceTime. No doubt about it this Do It All Method is the most time efficient method.

Ok, so those are the Four Methods of how you can execute your project. From here you can choose which method is best for you and your style.

Before we go, lets chat about a huge opportunity — Marketing Your Project.
Your clients have a vested interest in your success. They count on you.

So, when you’re doing well, they’re doing well.

For example, your facility expansion and upgrade can have a very positive impact on your Client Retention. Could it mean a 5% even 10% improvement in this category.

Yes, it can . . .
And it can increase your business too, as more people talk about you and your improvements and how these improvements will help THEM!

There are many simple ways to assemble a successful campaign using Direct Mail, Email, Video and special events to show off your new and improved digs. Consider a multi pronged marketing effort — they’re highly effective. Its my hope you act on one of the greatest business opportunities you can have.

Ok, I hope you’ve enjoyed this article as much as I have putting it together for you.

Your time is valuable and making the right choice on how you spend it is a critical decision. Our goal here with this report was to assist you in the decision of which method works best for you.

If you would like to schedule a free call to discuss your project and collaboratively put together a Development game plan, just shoot me, Richard Denzer an email at rdenzer72@gmail.com. In your email, just let me know a bit about you, your company and your project.

From there I can do some research, and schedule our call.

To Great Projects,


Richard Denzer
Grizzled Development Veteran