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Thread: Rigors of private planning practice #14

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee

    Rigors of private planning practice #14

    How do you handle this:

    1. You are partnered with another firm on a major project for a high profile client, municipality #1. You have been selected to do the project but the contract is not yet executed. it is a three year deal worth mid-five figures for your firm, and well in to six figures total.

    2. Your firm grows organically. You do not poach clients from competitors and expect the same in return.

    3. You are cold called by a municipality #2 to present a proposal to update their land use map. You submit a response and they request an interview. You know their current planning firm is the one you partnered with in #1 above.

    4. The interview morphs into a full blown planning services interview, and you discover in the process that they are disgruntled with their current conslutant. the reasons are personality related and in reality not resolvable.

    5. The long term value of #2 exceeds the value of #1. You expect to be hired before the high profile contract is inked. You did not go after their client to steal their business, but need to explain the circumstances at some point.


    so.... what to do

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Chet, I think you answered your question. Explain to your partner that you were approached by the municipality, that the municipality was not going to continue to use their services (maybe even why?), and that it is not your policy to try to poach their clients. If they are professional about it, they will accept this. If not, perhaps you lose municipality #1. Then again, maybe municipality #1 chose your team because of you, and you could end up with the business of both clients. I know most of the engineering and planning firms in your area, and who has a good reputation. Even among the good ones, other department managers and I have said that we did not want a particular person working on our projects, or told our principle firm that they would have to partner with someone we felt had greater expertise. At other times, we did not include our usual consultant in a search for political reasons. They always understood.
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