MSP Project Rework kills growth

MSP Project Rework kills growth. Avoid it with our tips today!

Written by Ian Richardson

April 29, 2024

MSP Project Rework kills growth

By Ian Richardson. Principal Consultant & Managing Partner. Fox & Crow Group

I speak with a lot of MSP owners each week. Some want to grow their MSP. Some want to sell it. Some are sick of running it altogether.

Feelings aside, I’ve yet to meet an owner who hasn’t struggled with project rework at some point or another. When a truck rolls back to a client site, the project margin evaporates. The relationship between client and MSP gets a good rattling on top. Profit starts to decline, first from the job, and then at the company.

Rework is not completely avoidable. Mistakes happen. People are only human, after all. Rework can be minimized.

That’s what we’re going to explore today.

What causes MSP project rework?

I’ve found that two common sales issues cause the vast majority (but not all) of MSP rework.

  1. Sales has an issue with overpromising outcomes.
  2. Expectation management is poor.

Let’s talk through each of those issues.

Overpromised Outcomes

If a sales team is overpromising at a MSP, I look at two things. Sales process and accountability. I’ve found that I’ll see a lackluster documented and adhered to sales process. There won’t be guidance or enablement around the stages of the process. Documentation will be sparse. CRM is usually an afterthought for these organizations.

That leads to the second issue of accountability. Generally, the sales team will “report” to the owner of the MSP. Said owner does a very lackluster job of managing and coaching those resources. The MSP owner usually has other priorities than existing account management. They might not enjoy sales at all. Because of this laisse faire approach – sales resources fill the blanks.

That causes promises that are fantastic sounding because they’re fantasies.

Expectation Management

Poor expectation management almost always stems from a sales discovery issue. One of the most important jobs your MSP sales team has is to assess what the customer is looking for. Whether project or managed agreement, discovery is mandatory.

Your MSP sales process must assess timeline and client criteria. MSP sales teams should ask when a project needs to done. What criteria are there for success. Presentations should include a timeline for the project. That timeline should be specific. If there is a delta from the client’s timeline expectation, it must run through. Likewise with criteria: every detail is looked over and understood by the client. Any outages or hazards get and agreed to before proceeding.

MSP Project Rework Guidance

MSP project rework tends to stem from the issues we ran through earlier. When you eliminate those underlying causes, rework tends to fade away. There are some simple steps you can take today at your MSP to start fixing your rework problem:

  • Document the sales process. Train your team to do it.
  • Define your offers. Document them. Reject opportunities that don’t align to your standards.
  • Start having real accountability conversations with your sales staff. Focus on process adherence and standard enforcement.
  • Be willing to coach up, or coach out.
  • Train your sales team in proper discovery techniques. Ensure that training includes expectation management.

There are no silver bullets in business. The above list won’t end project rework at your MSP, but it will help. If you’re struggling with it, or at your MSP in general, we can help.

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You may also find value in our MSP Project Kickoff call article. Read more here.

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