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How Do You Measure a Project’s Success?

Is profitability the measure of a successful project? If not profitability, then how do you gauge a project’s success?

Clearly not just profitability. Success is all parties involved are pleased with the project from start to finish. And, of course, no job is a success until it is paid in full.


Profitability is one aspect of a successful project, albeit one of the more necessary aspects. Customer satisfaction, pride in completing a project on time and on budget, and top notch craftsmanship are also proper measures of a successful project. Without adequate profit, however, the other measures will suffer. If too many projects fail to turn a profit, the other measurements won’t matter, because the business cannot afford to continue.

—Patrick Harvey, President, Patrick G. Harvey & Sons Contractors, Inc., Orange County, California

Profitability is measured by the fruit of the project. For us it is not just that the job has produced a financially profitable outcome. The most important variable is whether or not it has inspired the client both to use us again as well as tell all their friends. A successful project will produce one or more successful projects and so on.

—Craig Favors, Owner, Inside Expressions, Dallas, Texas

Profit is only a part of the successful project. Also included is a happy customer, safe site and a project you will be proud of. This formula insurances new project for more profits and continued business.

Yes absolutely! But a satisfied customer is equally important! Was the project performed in a timely manner, and did your company produce a quality product? Will your company be recommended and/or used on other projects?

—Jason Welch, Estimator, Talsma Companies

Profitability is only one measure of success. Since most of our projects are outdoors, they tend to have high exposure to the public eye. We think of each of our projects as a model. If the project has straight lines, good attention to detail, uniform finishing technique, a high level of visual appeal, work was done safely, and there was profit involved, then it is a successful project.


While profitability is the ultimate goal it is not the lone criteria in determining the success of a project. A profitable job that leaves the client unhappy or that has questionable quality, both of which could sully one’s reputation, may not always be viewed as successful. A non-profitable job that was extremely difficult or received rave reviews that enhanced the firm’s reputation or opened up new avenues for work can be viewed as successful especially if the goal at the outset was to do just that.


On time, on schedule, minimum punch list, satisfaction of the customer and bottom line profits. That’s how I measure a successful project.

—Alan Castro, Advanced Drywall Services Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Bottom line, what else matters, right? Wrong. Is the owner happy? Did you further your relationship with the GC? Did your suppliers respond well to delivery dates and changes? Will you do more work for either the owner or GC? On the internal side, did the field make productions? Did everyone involved learn anything? Did we work together as a team? More factors than these go into the measure of a job, but “yes” answers to most will ensure success.


Profit is why we work. A project can also be deemed successful when it enhances our reputation for timeliness, quality, reliability and aesthetics.


I have several pictures of jobs hanging on the wall in the office. They are some of the best looking jobs we ever did, but they were bungled jobs that cost a lot of money—basically we had to pay to go and do them. I have never walked by them and said they were successful … a job is only successful if it comes out “exactly or better” than was intended, and that means “specifically profit.” Regardless what the profit might or might not be, all the other aspects such as the quality, materials, labor, safety, supervision and management, etc., etc., still need to be exactly or better than what was originally intended. The only successful part is making the intended profit on it.

—Jeff Muller, Vice President, M&O Exterior Applicators, Inc., Frederick, Maryland

I think the measure of a successful project involves three elements: 1) Profitability. 2) Happy customer. 3) Great design.
—Ted Muller, President, Ted Muller Plastering, Inc. Paso Robles CA

I think profitability is very important, but I believe that equally important or maybe even moreso are quality, integrity and completing project on time, with no issues.

Profit is everything. Who needs the practice?


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