Richard Hamilton of Hamilton BIG, a creative retail and brand consultancy, considers whether going solo is worth it in shop-fit project management

Project management, in all honesty, is a thankless task. It really does take a special breed of person to want to run a job, whether their own or on behalf of a client, sitting between a rock and a very dull place namely, accounts.

If you’re trying to save money on project management bills by doing it yourself, then you must have an incredibly reliable shopfitter who will listen to what you’re telling him and deal with the pitfalls before they even arise. Experience for many will show through greying tufted hair, as ensuring that materials turn up on time from different suppliers, hitting the right dates to tie in with an overall programme and sticking within budget is an exceedingly difficult task. If it’s your own business, then there may be greater financial benefit to this, but there are many project management companies who run jobs for a percentage of the overall build cost, which is the standard structure and this, of course, can always be negotiated.

What a project manager should also do is manage the legal process between shopfitter and client. A JCT contract is regularly used as part of the process; it’s straightforward and is the simplest binding contract that deals with most build projects and covers real world budgets.

The purpose of the JCT over a gentleman’s agreement is to protect clients from very ungentlemanly behaviour, which happens far too often, so if you have a good trustworthy shopfitter, hold on to them, as they’ll save you money by being reliable and hitting the programme, getting customers through the door and hitting your budget. On the flip side, if you’re a good shopfitter and have a bad client, get rid, as nothing is worth the hassle of bickering over every penny and your reputation and recommendation will be promotion enough.

So in this case I can only recommend you not to cut out the middle man and resort to DIY. If you can afford it, a good project manager is invaluable and will save you more than just time and money in the long run they will save your sanity.

l Next month: how hard to crack the whip and efficiencies in the shopfitting process.