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10 ways to manage client relationships in residential project management…


The principles of residential project management have guided Project Managers in a journey to deliver quality projects for decades. These are well known and documented, with tons of productivity apps and helpful templates. But how can you ensure that residential project management is a unique experience for a client, a journey that you both plan and enjoy together?

It boils down to a personal relationship with the client. Remember – clients don’t know about best practices and in many ways, it does not concern them at all. So what should motivate us to include our clients as a valuable member of our project team? And, what exactly are its effects on the project?

We will discuss:

  • The significance of the client relationship in residential project management strategy
  • 10 practical ways to work with clients
  • Key takeaways


The significance of the client relationship in Residential Project Management strategy

Collaboration, participation, teamwork, leadership, interpersonal skills…success when building, refurbishing or even ‘salvaging’ a challenging residential project always involves managing a good relationship with the client.

Put simply, your relationship with your client can either make or break your project work. And while all projects and clients are different, our experience has taught us that clients want to participate in the success of the project and take an active part in the process. But, what involvement does the client expect and how can we ensure that they are an asset to the project and there is no conflict of interests? This is a delicate balance.

In all of our Residential Projects, establishing an open relationship with the client results in creating a better understanding for them and of the problems the project is encountering, plus we gain the insights of the client in problem-solving. This contributes both to the success of the outcome and the satisfaction of the client. It’s a win-win situation for all.

Recently, during the refurbishment of a luxury property located in the south of London, we struggled with a very tight project schedule. To aid this, the client’s team participated in the brainstorming sessions that explored alternative ways to simplify tasks to reduce time. Several good ideas were developed and put into place and our client was delighted to have contributed to the project’s success and was emotionally engaged.

Is the client part of the Revolution Projects – Residential Project Management team? 

Yes. We strongly believe that having an inclusive client relationship based on openness and trust successfully aids the quality and outcome of the project and the performance of the team. Furthermore, residential project management becomes a more pleasant and successful experience when clients are conscious of the project dynamics and have visibility of the project plans and progress.

But what does this mean for high-end, residential projects and trying to manage these client relationships? Here are the top 10 tips from our experience.

Residential Project Management - Client Communication

10 practical ways to work with clients

  1. Always collaborate – have open discussions with your clients and their extended team in which your views are shared. Plans can considerably improve if everyone is involved.
  2. Make it flexible. It might make it more challenging but also more interesting.
  3. Innovate and be creative. We use our expertise working with regulated industries to deliver unique residential projects seeking a balance between innovation and functionality. Think about how you can get creative!
  4. Delight your clients with visibility. Ask yourself: Does s/he know what is going on?
  5. Pay attention when a client talks about small details – they may complicate and present further challenges, but are as important as the big picture/restoration of the building itself. These details can create a unique and personal living space with a real sense of belonging.
  6. Deliver on your promises and create a client relationship built on trust
  7. Be a better listener. The old adage of 2 ears, 1 mouth has never been truer.
  8. Be mindful and understand your customers’ needs. What your clients think they want, may not be what they need. Communicate with your client to ensure that what your residential project management team is building matches their needs.
  9. Ask for guidance when needed. We found that clients respect honesty and appreciate you asking for advice.
  10. Know when to exit the project. The Project Manager’s style changes with each phase of the project from one that is open to any new idea at the start to a more task-oriented style during implementation or a more demanding style during closeout. Your client will notice the change.

“Two thoughts in particular captured my attention in relation to how we interact with people on our projects. The first thought is that every interaction with others is an opportunity to either increase the connection with them or to break the connection. The second thought is that people become difficult when their needs are not being met.”
Susanne Madsen – Project leadership coach and author


Key Takeaways

Accommodate the client if your residential project management strategy is to succeed. Client participation in high-end residential projects will have an influence on decisions, but this is offset by the enthusiasm of the client and the insights the client can offer.

Understanding how to work with different client personalities will set you apart from the competition and keep clients coming back again and again. We have a range of different nationalities in our project team at Revolution Projects, which gives an incredible richness and depth. We don’t always understand each other perfectly, but our relationship is a universal language!


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This blog is based on our own client experiences. Written by Emile Malaney. 04/02/2022.