Everyone likes to say that they run an honest business, but sometimes customers just don’t see it that way. Among field service professionals, contractors are probably viewed with the most suspicion in popular culture. You see plenty of jokes on T.V. about contractors never showing up or raising their estimates for no reason. Cliched depictions like these are horribly unfair to the hardworking people in the profession, but they may color customers perceptions anyway.
Earning a reputation as a sterling-quality contractor isn’t easy. Most people without building experience have loopy ideas about how much time construction can take and how much it can cost in the first place, so you can expect to take some unfair blame as an occupational hazard. However, there are some small ways that you can make your clients confident in you.
Be Easy to Reach
Nothing frustrates customers like not being able to reach someone they’ve hired. Obviously, there are very good reasons for not answering a phone—talking to a different customer being among them. However, calling people back as soon as possible is a habit you should try to develop if you want the trust of your customers.
Many business managers fall into the trap of meaning to return the phone call after lunch for example, and then ultimately pushing it back until the next day. The same goes for emails, of course. Always answer as promptly as possible.
Stick to the Estimate No Matter What
This one is a tough one. Changing an estimate always looks skeevy to customers, but there are times when you just can’t afford not to. Everything from the weather to your team’s health can throw what seemed like reasonable cost projections right out the window.
The best you can hope for is the experience to know when changing an estimate is the right move. If the loss is a small one, you may be better off just taking it if you can afford it. Being known by word-of-mouth as someone who changes estimates can be very disruptive to business even if the change was justified.
Use Your Experience to Go the Extra Mile
If you’re an experienced contractor who has a “third eye” for solutions, use it whenever possible. Don’t assume every client is going to be dismissive of unconventional ways of doing things—especially when it’s coming from a seasoned professional.
Also, use your experience to spot additional problems that may exist around the client’s home or business. If anything desperately needs repair or looks unsafe, you should bring it up. Don’t try to hard-sell it, just treat it like a moral obligation. Customers remember when you save them from worse problems down the road.
Last modified: December 13, 2016