Manage Your Homeowner Relationships – The Work Will Follow

November 18, 2012by David Lupberger0

The remodeling business is a relationship-driven business model. As homeowners invite us into their homes, we don’t just deliver a successful project, we also engage with every member of the family. Very personal and close interactions can take place on longer projects. We have the ability to create special relationships with the homeowners we work with. No other tradesperson or supplier has this type of “up close and personal” experience with their customers. This personal dynamic separates what a general contractor does from most other professional service providers, with the exception of the family physician. They too, get to know their clients in a very personal way.

In the remodeling industry, homeowners work with contractors they know, like, and trust. Building trust is at the core of a successful project. Understanding this key building block is the basis of a profitable remodeling business, and good contractors understand this. There can be a powerful bonding energy that comes from a successful project. Remodeling professionals help homeowner make their dreams come true. Successful contractors want to develop this relationship to nurture additional work.

One of the reasons I was a design/build contractor was because of the relationships I got to develop with my clients. As a contractor, I had a lot of influence on the decisions that they made for their homes. I would typically steer them to the plumbing supply house I worked with, the lighting store I worked with, and the fabricator shop I frequented. I would direct them to professional suppliers that would help them complete their projects in a professional manner. As the general contractor, I directed these interactions with specific trade contractor and suppliers, managing their remodeling experience as part of managing their remodeling project.

Here is a key point. You have a unique opportunity to build and expand on these relationships after the job is over. When the job is done, will their home still require care, upkeep, maintenance, and improvement? Don’t you know more about that home than even the homeowner if you have completed a project there? Is there anyone better suited for this job than you?

How can you optimize this relationship? When the project is over, your relationship should just be beginning. Make sure that at the end of each project that you return to the home 3, 6, and 12 months later to review your work. Call this a warranty visit. I can guarantee you that since your last visit, the homeowners have discovered additional tasks that they want done in their home. While you may not be fond of small projects, you never know where your next big project is coming from. Build on your relationship by assisting with these numerous small projects, becoming a 1-call resource.
You can help them identify and prioritize what needs to be done. Use your professional expertise to assist them with this. Refer them to professional service providers so that they can be assured that the work is being done correctly. In this down market, begin to think about diversifying your product and service offerings. Create a business that can meet all of your client’s home related needs. Become their home advisor.

You have an opportunity to maximize the relationships you have developed with your past clients. Stop thinking about your next job, and where it’s coming from. Start thinking about managing your client relationships and helping them take care of their biggest asset. If you manage those relationships well, the work with follow, I guarantee it.

Doctors and dentists have been doing this for ages. Most people have a family doctor and dentist, and even a family car mechanic. When a problem arises, they go to their trusted advisor to get the help they need. If work is required, they don’t go out to find someone who can do it for less money. They trust their advisor, trust the work that they do, and they let them do the job.

Why aren’t we doing the same thing with our client’s homes? The work is waiting. Starting December 3rd, I will be leading an 8-session online coaching program to introduce this proactive business concept into your own business. It is simpler than you think! Drop me an e-mail if you would like to know more:
I look forward to hearing from you.