Competition among contractors is getting stiffer year on year. According to data, there’s been an increase of 2.5% in construction businesses in the U.S. between 2022 and 2023, bringing the number to 3.78 million.
Therefore, delivering exceptional work that exceeds your client’s expectations is crucial to remaining competitive.
When working with a contractor, homeowners want to work with a business that’s prepared, communicates clearly, has little inventory and supplies overhead, and has a streamlined sales process. This will improve your chances of securing future bids and improve your reputation in the industry.
Here’s what you need to do to ensure you deliver the best job for repeat clients.
Earning the customer’s trust is an uphill battle for most contractors. It requires changing a few things and processes that you use to manage your contractor business daily and teaching your crew how to handle clients and client projects more effectively to improve trust and earn more referrals.
Typically, you’ll want your business and crew to be proactive, maintain open communication lines, and use technology to streamline project management and other processes.
This helps manage the customer’s expectations and earn their trust, making them most likely to refer to your business the next time they or someone they know wants a similar service.
Here’s a look into the specific things you should do to maintain a positive relationship with clients and exceed their expectations before, during, and after a service request.
Having clear expectations is the cornerstone of any successful contractor project. The particulars of your arrangement should be well-defined so that you have a common reference point for judging the progress and deliverables of the project.
You should write important logistical details for the project, such as duration, expected hours per week or month, and the final compensation. You also need to provide an accurate estimate considering the desired quality of the project and the available parts, labor, and materials.
Clear expectations will give you a concise goal to work towards and raise your chances of delivering beyond what the customer expected.
Most homeowners are used to contractors being late to work. Therefore, you have an excellent chance to be different by ensuring your crew is always early and on time. Technology such as field service management software can help you schedule and plan your crew’s routes better, improving punctuality at the job site.
Your crew should also arrive at the job site fully prepared, packing all the tools, equipment, and materials they need to complete the job or deliverable for the day. This can include simple things such as a change of gear kept in the car, where the crew can swap dirty boots for clean ones if they’re coming from another job.
Being punctual and well-prepared shows the client that you’re a professional contractor business that takes its projects seriously.
It is crucial that before you start work on the client’s home, you sign a clear and binding contract between your contractor business and the customer. A contract helps keep things documented and clear for both parties, thus playing a crucial role in managing expectations and tracking deliverables.
A contract also helps protect you against overbearing and abrasive customers who can have devastating financial and reputational impacts. It helps you prove that you delivered work as per expectations and agreement and justify why and how much you should have been paid for the project.
Streamlining your sales process is crucial in maximizing the value of pre and post-sales calls and delivering the project according to the client’s vision.
Before starting to work on the project, you can have several pre-construction meetings to iron out as many details as possible about the project. If you have a designer or subcontractor, they should also be included in this meeting.
You should avoid overwhelming the customer with too many options and choices in a single meeting. Have your sales process split into several small meetings that go through each part of the project individually and pass the crucial information needed.
This way, you’ll be well aware of the customer’s expectations and work better towards achieving them, with the customer fully aware of what to expect and how to communicate with your in-office team and crew about new changes or the project’s progress.
Good communication is crucial to having a good working relationship with clients. Since you’re not usually face-to-face with the client, you can easily lose track of communication and fail to provide updates on the project’s progress, leading to frustrations on the client’s end.
Clear communication also applies to your suppliers. You should consistently monitor inventory movement within your business to ensure your crew is not wasting time waiting for a resource, which will affect the pace of work and deadlines.
Using field service inventory management tools is crucial at this stage to ensure suppliers and your crew are aware of the movement of equipment, tools, and materials and can adjust their schedules and deliverables accordingly.
Challenges are bound to arise when working on projects. The building market is volatile, making flexibility crucial in delivering projects beyond client expectations.
Apart from sourcing inventory, one of the most prevalent challenges for most contractors is fluctuating prices. While estimates will help give the client a rough figure of how much the project will cost them, being transparent about these fluctuations will help prepare them financially for any changes during the project’s execution and adjust their budget accordingly.
You should also be prompt to communicate changes in schedule due to labor challenges, such as securing subcontractors or bad weather, such as storms, that can make your crew unable to access the job site.
Don’t close the relationship with the client once you’ve completed the project and received payments. Check in a month or so after completion and ask them for a review of your crew’s work. You can also ask for a referral if they know someone interested in your services.
Asking for a review will show that you care about the quality of work your business offers and will boost the client’s loyalty.
Contractor businesses must exceed customer expectations to remain competitive and build strong customer loyalty and referrals. Using technology such as field service management software will help streamline most processes in your business and help you reach these targets.
Garrett Wilson is the President and Co-Founder of FieldBin. FieldBin is a field service management software designed for trade business owners. The software allows professionals in the fields of Plumbing, HVAC, Electricians, Roofing, and Commercial Cleaning to solve their back-office nightmares quickly. Garrett has expertise in Marketing and Project Management, with experience in multiple industries, including cyber security, healthcare, and manufacturing.