No one ever said that being a general contractor was an easy job. It’s a demanding profession that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s also gratifying. When you’re able to bring a project in on time and under budget, and the client is happy with the end result, there’s nothing quite like it.
Of course, as anyone who has ever worked in construction knows, things don’t always go according to plan. There are bound to be glitches and problems along the way, and it’s up to the general contractor to keep their clients satisfied through it all. Here are some tips for doing just that.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
The key to keeping any client happy is communication. You first need to let the client know when there are problems or delays. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug or hope they won’t notice — that will only make things worse. Be upfront and honest about the situation, and work with the client to devise a plan to mitigate the impact of the problem.
When communicating with clients, it’s also essential to be upbeat. No one wants to hear a negative Nelly, so try to focus on the solutions rather than the problem itself. Keep your lines of communication open, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need clarification on anything. You must also regularly update the project’s status, even if there isn’t any news to report.
2. Create a contact list.
As the general contractor, you’ll coordinate all the different trades on the job site. To make your life a little easier (and keep your clients happy), create a contact list of everyone working on the project. This should include their name, company, phone number, and email address. That way, you can quickly contact the right person if anything arises.
It would help if you also had connections with other related specialists in case your client has questions or needs something outside your work scope. For example, if your client wants to add outdoor living space and asks about professional patio installation, you should be able to recommend a reputable company in the area. You want to suggest businesses you trust and would use yourself to ensure a positive experience for the client.
3. Be responsive.
In today’s age of technology, there are few things more frustrating than waiting for a response. If a client reaches out to you, they expect a prompt reply — regardless of the time or day of the week. Of course, you can’t be available 24/7, but you should have someone on call who can field questions and concerns when you’re not around.
If you can’t respond immediately, let the client know when they can expect an answer. And if there’s a significant delay, explain the holdup. The last thing you want is for your client to feel like they’re being ignored. Of course, you also want to be responsive to changes and requests from the client. If they want to make changes to the project, let them know what’s involved and how it will impact the schedule and budget.
4. Manage expectations.
Throughout the project, it’s essential to manage your client’s expectations. If you promise them something, make sure you can deliver. If there’s a possibility of a delay, let them know as soon as possible so they can adjust their expectations accordingly. You want to avoid surprises at all costs.
Especially regarding the budget, you need to be clear about what’s included and what’s not. If there are any potential extras, ensure the client knows they’ll be responsible for additional costs. There should never be any surprises when it comes to the bill. If there are, it will reflect poorly on you and your business.
5. Follow up after the project.
Once the project is complete, don’t forget about your client. Check in to make sure they’re happy with the final result and that everything is to their satisfaction. If there are any issues, address them immediately. It’s also a good idea to send a follow-up letter or email thanking the client for their business.
A good practice is asking for reviews and testimonials from satisfied clients. These can be used on your website and marketing materials to attract new business. You can also use them as social proof to build trust with potential clients. You want them to see that you’re a reliable and trustworthy contractor who always puts the client first.
A happy client is a repeat client, so it’s in your best interest to ensure they’re satisfied with the work. Following these tips can increase the chances of a satisfied client and a successful project. If you work hard to keep your clients happy, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.