Like we’ve said before, Contractors Reporting Services is here to help with everything you need to obtain and maintain your Fl contractors license; but we also want to see your business succeed. In Part 1 of “How to Get Your Customers to Say ‘Yes’,” we offered a few foundational tips to help you gain your clients’ trust. The tips in Part 2 will continue that thread and keep you on track to building a positive report with prospective clients and fellow contractors alike.
Be Clear, Specific and Realistic with Your Bids. Whether you are competing for a home renovation or a commercial contract, it is always a good idea to present a thorough (written) bid. If you try to compete solely on price and present an unrealisticly low bottom line, you could be perceived as inexperienced and discounted for fear of “hidden costs”. Present an honest bid with a detailed breakdown of your project costs (i.e. man hours, materials, etc) and your prospective client will see that you are doing your due diligence to be thorough in planning their project. Today’s consumer is more likely to hire someone they believe to be thorough and trustworthy over someone with the lowest bottom line. Many people realize that they “get what they pay for” and by outlining your costs in detail, they know exactly what to expect.
Along the same line, it is also advisable that you provide every client with a detailed contract. Things come up, everyone knows it, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Contracts protect your clients AND you!
Be Flexible with Payment. That doesn’t mean that you should let people take advantage of you, but those who bend don’t break. Decide on your comfort level before you start your business, and then see how it works. It is not a good idea to ask for full payment in advance as it can give the impression that you are not financially stable and it tends to make people very nervous. With lengthy or in-depth projects, the standard practice is to ask for a deposit (25-50%) at the start and then lay out a payment plan in the contract, based on the timeline both parties agree to. Checks and credit cards allow both you and the client to keep track of their payments to you and they allow for a consistent cash flow back into your business. More options create a more comfortable working relationship.
Create a Portfolio. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this internet age of instant gratification, today’s consumer is heavily swayed by the proof of before and after shots. Let this work in your favor. Whether your client is residential or commercial, having a portfolio to show your caliber of work will certainly be a benefit. Your options are plentiful when it comes to compiling the pictures (in a binder, online website gallery, phone album), but clients will want to see your finished product, as well as some of the stages along the way. It gives them a “virtual” idea of how you work and what they can expect.
As you continue to work in the industry, your gained experience will increase your ability to accommodate the unique demands of prospective clients and gain the respect of industry peers. Furthermore, the longer you work your business, building on the foundation of honesty, integrity and flexibility, the more established you become and your reputation will preceed you. Today’s consumer is smart and they are diligent in researching before they “buy”. It is your job to ensure that they like what they read, trust what you tell them and love what you do. Then they will tell their friends!
At Contractors Reporting Services, we have been helping contractors dot “i”s and cross “t”s since 1965. If you have questions about obtaining a FL Contractors License, license renewal, corporation set-up or anything else related to the industry, please give us a call. We are here to help you.