Which Clients are More Likely to Waste Your Time?

Filed in Business Management, Remodeling by on November 30, 2015 2 Comments

Construction Deal XXLThe horror-movie marathons typically featured on television throughout the Halloween season are now over. But even though Freddie Krueger and Michael Myers have pretty much gone away until next year, some builders may still experience sleepless nights for a different reason: Do-it-yourself (DIY) TV programs.

It’s not that the Property Brothers are that haunting. But they – along with countless other DIY TV personalities and an endless supply of online how-to videos and mobile apps – are fostering a home owner mentality that’s more impractical and demanding than ever before.

“Expectations have become unrealistic for many,” says Vince Butler, owner of Butler Brothers Corporation in Northern Virginia. “At the same time, they’re being bombarded with lower, grossly misleading bids from an endless supply of ‘competitors’ who don’t fully understand the scope of the specific project and the broader business.”

The evolving industry of remodelers now involves combating against the Hollywood-driven standards that result from distorted costs and idealistic timelines. Determining the client’s personality and the true scope of the project will help save you time in the long run.

Butler strongly suggests taking the time to thoroughly evaluate the client’s needs and expectations as far in advance as possible. It will also help the consumer better understand the process.

Start evaluating from the very first client interaction by asking specific questions, such as:

  • How did they find you? Did they see simply do an online search? Or were they referred by a previous client? A referral is usually the strongest lead, and it’s an indication of how interested they are in your work.
  • Where is the client located? If they are near any of your current or previous projects, those can be used as strong examples to reference throughout the conversation. If they’re located out of your normal range, make sure the project is worth the travel time.
  • What are their goals and expectations regarding the project timeframe? A reasonable timeframe will increase the likelihood of a successful project and a satisfied client. This can also lead to discussion of communication preferences and how involved the client wants to be.
  • What level of quality do they want in the materials used? Many clients are initially hesitant to openly discuss budget, or they may experience price shock if the first quote they see includes only the highest quality materials. Providing an estimate range of similar projects with varying levels of quality will help the client determine if they need to make compromises.
  • Are they talking to other remodelers? When clients are seeking out several bids, many will simply choose whomever will do the job at the cheapest rate. This can indicate their level of investment in the home.

There isn’t a universal message that will address the widely varied needs and personalities of all clients. But there is added value in devoting enough time to thoroughly evaluate a client, which will help you determine if the project is worthy of your time.

When all else fails, go with your gut.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Great points!
    It is also important to set expectations about how you work too!
    It is always interesting to get a reaction from the prospective buyers from which you can react and prepare your next series of open ended questions!
    ONwards and UPwards!

  2. wwrech says:

    This is right to the point .I find these comments true even in the Plumbing business. The DYI shows make the cost look so less then reality . That it can be done in a hour . Pricing and reality are becoming to different things . It’s become very hard to make a dirty word Profit . It takes a profit to keep help and offer they Item works need to be productive workers

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