As you all know, you may have gotten into the remodeling or home improvement business, but ultimately, you’re in the customer service business. Without your customers, your business wouldn’t succeed. That is why it is of the utmost importance that you give your customers what they want, before, during and after they come to you to discuss a project. We deal with customers that are remodeling their homes or businesses all day every day, and after speaking with so many of them, we have a pretty good idea of what they love and hate in working with contractors. If you can apply these qualities to your business, you have a much greater chance of success in the short and long term. Find out what they are below!
From the first time a customer gets your contact information and reaches out to you for a quote, they are paying close attention to the time that it takes for you to respond. I don’t think that expectations are too high here. They understand that you run a business, but they also understand that they’re trying to give you business. Taking days (or longer) to respond to an inquiry could easily loose you a job. If they still give you a shot, it could be harder to win the bid. If you’re busy, simply give them a quick call or email, letting them know that you got their information and please give them x amount of time to get back in touch. They will appreciate this, trust us.
Reliability is a top priority at all stages of the process, but it starts in the estimate/quoting stage. You don’t know how many times we’ve heard about contractors that are coming out to do an in home estimate, that give a 1 pm-4 pm time frame that they’ll be there. That is a very large window and in the busy world we live in, could prove difficult for your potential customers to keep that time frame free. Our suggestion? Schedule quotes during times that you do not have other jobs going on. Early in the morning, over a lunch period, or at the end of your day are all great times. Schedule a time, and show up for it, on time.
That being said, reliability is even more important when you get the job. Your word is your bond. If you say you’ll be here from x – x on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, you need to be there. Emergencies happen, yes. But good business owners do everything in their power to keep their commitments to their customers first, and work the rest out around them.
We get it, unforeseen issues often arise. There is no way around that sometime. Outside of these circumstances, however, your pricing should be transparent. Make sure the client understands the breakdown of the quote and they have a copy of it. If more work arrises in a certain area, they will feel comfortable knowing how those costs relate to your original estimate. The worst thing you can do is to under quote to get a job, and then increase the price after you’ve started. First of all, that is just dishonest business. Secondly, they will tell their friends. Third, collecting payment could prove more difficult. Get a solid pricing structure built to eliminate any confusion. Let them know the process up front of what will happen if unexpected problems do arise. Transparency is key.
Do you want to properly communicate? Then I suggest you over communicate. When your dealing with peoples homes or businesses, there is typically no issue too small to double check on. For example, if you need to put a new outlet in a bathroom, but the wall they want it on prevents it from going in, don’t just stick the outlet somewhere else. Give them a call and see where THEY would like it to go. Facetime or Skype are great tools to video chat if you need to show something specific. Taking this time up front to double check with the customer before making a decision could save you rework and frustration in the future. If they don’t like the choice that you made, or if it won’t work with other design or furniture choices that they’ve already made, you could have to redo it, which we know you don’t want.
If you’ll be running late, let them know. If you need to reschedule, call as soon as possible and not 30 minutes before you’re scheduled to arrive. If a product is out of stock and you need to make a substitution, let them know. What may seem trivial to you may not be trivial to them. Following this guideline leads to happy customers, positive reviews, repeat business and referrals. That leads to more money and a long lasting business.
This goes without being said (for most) but we want to say it anyway. Do your best. Always. Don’t cut corners to save time or materials. Don’t expect that the customer won’t know the difference. Handle their products with care. I’ve heard many times that a contractor chipped or cracked a cabinet during installation but didn’t share it with the customer, or fix it. Only later did they see and they were not happy. If you accidentally cut into crown moulding or a baseboard, fix it. Again, you may think it’s trivial, but to a customer, it says shotty work. Lack of pride in work. Don’t be that person. Handle things with care. Accidents happen, but take responsibility if they do. Almost anything can be fixed. If it can’t, then do the right thing. Trust us, it will pay off in the long term.
Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are one of the leading providers of kitchen cabinets, tile, flooring, windows and doors in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design comes as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients, home improvement pros & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!