Tips for A Long-Lasting Client and Contractor Relationship
The first step to building a long-lasting relationship with your clients is to provide outstanding service during your first project together. Below are some tips to follow.
Clear communication is very important and you want to be upfront to your client so that more trust can be built between you. The more transparent you are with them, the more communicative that they will be with you too so that there is clear expectations for everyone.
Establish payment terms and conditions early on
The budget and cost can be the number one deciding factor about this project, including the materials they hope to have installed and your labour. Establishing payment terms and conditions is essential, so no one is blindsided by cost or invoice dates. It’s also best to keep in mind the fluctuations of material costs, especially in this current economy.
Choose one point of contact
It’s always easier to speak to one person while completing the project from both your and your homeowners’ standpoint. Designate one person from your company (you, crew lead, or someone from the office) for your client to call and designate one person from your client’s household to communicate. This step helps keeps communication clear and concise without anything becoming lost in translation or miscommunicated.
Have a primary means of communication
How do your clients wish to communicate? Is it easier to talk on the phone, text, email, video or face to face? This might depend on your client's age and what they are most comfortable with doing. For example, younger clients might prefer to talk over email or text, whereas older clients may prefer phone calls or emails.
Communicate with your clients with visuals
When talking about the design and scope of the project, it would be beneficial to show a visual representation of the project. It’s not common for non-industry professionals not to know what certain areas of the home are called or make sense of home plans. The more visual information you provide for them, the more they can understand what you’re doing to their home, and they can see it for themselves whether they like the plans or not.
Be very organized
Staying organized will help you stay on track but will also give peace of mind to your client about how the project is going and if it's on schedule. Before the project even starts, you can give them a detailed scope of the project.
Detailed scope of the project
Give your client a very detailed step-by-step written process for them to read through. It will give them a thorough idea of the complexity of the project and insight into what your timeline or milestones will be.
- What does this project include? Roofing, siding, eavestroughing, soffit?
- How much will you need of each product?
- Where are you purchasing your products?
- Do you need to hire subcontractors?
- What are your milestones?
- When would you like to finish each milestone of the project?
- Include the cost and payment terms and conditions
- What is the timeline for the overall project?
These are some of the questions you should ask yourself to include in the scope of the project.
Regular project updates and milestone wrap-ups
Updates to the homeowner about the project are beneficial because it also helps with your communication. Talk to your client to see how often they require updates to feel comfortable with the project and your work. Try suggesting how often you think is right for the size of the project you’re doing to conclude.
- Is this a whole house remodel? Maybe weekly updates are more beneficial.
- Is this a small, fast-paced renovation? Maybe daily updates are required.
Updates are another way to provide information to your client, such as unexpected delays or back-orders on materials. Keep your client up to date and more at ease by being upfront with them.
Milestone wrap-ups are critical for each project. It helps keep your client aware of any timeline delays and if they should expect an overall project delay. This is also a point where you can let the client know what went well or could have gone better during that stage of the project.
Make sure your clients feel like they are apart of the project and your team
Making your clients feel like they have input in the process will connect your client to the project and your company in a positive way. The more information and input they have will make them feel like they are a part of your team, even if they aren’t wearing a tool belt.
Other areas to stay mindful are:
- Be positive throughout the project. Don’t show negativity to your client or at the project site.
- Be open-minded
- Be patient as your clients might re-think ideas or might not like the colour after all and decide to make quick changes to the scope of the whole project.
Keep these steps in mind to have a great relationship with your client. This could result in great feedback for improvement (if necessary), positive reviews, or recommendations to people your client knows or over social media.