Remodeling contractors had the second highest ranking for consumer complaints for the second year in a row. Ouch. The industry is under assault from within. Some unscrupulous companies are ruining the good name of the entire industry. If you’re ‘mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore’, join the revolution. And by revolution, yes, that means change. We know change is a bad word in the construction industry. Get over it. If you want to change your reputation, it’s time to get busy. Change requires lots of work… and a solid plan.
Offer high quality product alternatives. Too many remodeling companies offer lower quality products in the hopes of landing the job on price. This takes you and the the whole pack of competitive bids in a mad rush to the bottom of the price barrel. When you’re bid is cash strapped before you even start the job, you have no money to cover for contingencies. There’s no money for customer goodwill and no room for errors, either.
Don’t fall into the trap. Offer better, higher quality and higher priced items. If you’d like to become more competitive, try offering better products instead of low prices. Differentiate yourself by higher quality, not lower price. Better products, properly installed, lead to fewer call backs and increased customer satisfaction. And there's more money in your budget. And it eliminates “price is the most important thing to me” clients.
"Hire" better customers. Qualify your customers the same way they qualify you, before it’s too late. And let them know it, gently. Make having a candid conversation with a potential client a part of their, and your, 'hiring' process. An opening statement is important to set the tone and tenor of your conversation. Here’s one example of a qualifying statement; “Thank you for considering our company to possibly work together with you. While we are here, getting to know each other, you’ll want to know if working with us is the right decision for you. We’ll be evaluating whether we think we’re the right fit for you as well.”
Be prepared to walk away from potentially bad customers – before you accept the job. You’ve seen this before; you know the warning signs. If your ‘Spidey senses’ are tingling - Run, Forest, run. If your potential customer has unrealistic expectations and demands before you accept a job, do you really want to work with them? What good could possibly come from dealing with the ‘customer from hell’? Likely, none. But the potential for you to lose money, time and your valuable reputation is high. The likelihood of getting a positive referral is low.
But what if the customer seemed great during the evaluation process? And then…
Make sure your contract sets the proper expectations. Setting realistic, achievable expectations is a key success factor for all business. Failure to do so often leads to dissatisfaction and hard feelings. Your credibility can suffer. Offer realistic lead times, especially on items that you do not have direct control over. These variable items often include any material suppliers and their lead times. Subcontractor lead times and emergencies are often out of your control.
The best strategy is to “Under promise and over-deliver”. Always leave enough room in your construction schedule, and budget, to allow for uncontrollable events, contingencies and unplanned events. Don’t make promises you personally can’t keep. By leaving extra time in your schedule, the worst-case scenario is you meet your schedule. A better case scenario is that you are ahead of schedule. Go ahead, satisfy your clients.
We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to use high quality building materials for your next project, here’s a few options to consider:
Exterior products to consider:
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