Building and remodeling are big jobs to take on. No matter if your customers are moving, remodeling, or just redecorating an existing house, both you and they should enjoy the process. We want to make that possible with our list of essential questions a builder needs to answer before being hired.
Your prospective clients will have a lot of decisions to make. Therefore, the first thing they will do is in-depth research of the potential builder. Having the information they need from the builder will help them feel more secure about their decision-making process, and you as their contractor.
Simply put, if they pick the right builder, their lives will be easier. If you are a residential builder, you can help them make the right decision and pick you. Give them the answers they need before they even ask the questions, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting the contract. (Realtors: you can also help your clients by providing them with a list of questions they should ask the potential builders).
Following are several ways you can help potential customers decide to choose you as their contractor:
Itemize your bid
You, as a contractor, can give a single, bottom-line price for the project. However, this doesn’t give your customers enough information since they don’t know what you’re charging for each part of the job.
For instance, if there are wainscots in the bathroom in the original plan, but they decide not to go for them, how much lower price can they expect? If the single bottom-line price is all you give, there’s no way for them to know the answer to this question.
If, on the other hand, you do prepare an itemized bid, it will show the costs of different aspects of the job, and should include
- Demolition and thrash removal
- Framing and carpentry
- Electrical work
- Tiling or flooring
- Light fixtures
- Drywall and painting
Make it easier for your customers to compare different estimates and prices. Commonly, people want to reduce the costs of building or remodeling, especially if they’re also going through something big in their lives. If your estimate comes out too high, your prospective customers will need to cut costs somewhere. Having an itemized bid makes it much easier for them to figure out what options they have.
With all the connections you undoubtedly have, you can help your clients save money in other ways as well. For example, there are ways to relocate without breaking the bank. So, don’t hesitate to help your customers and clients get the best moving deal possible before they start trimming down the specs of their new home. Or see if there is another way you can help.
Be clear if your bid is an estimate or a fixed price
Some contractors treat their bids as estimates. While there’s essentially nothing wrong with this, it does mean that, for people who hire you, their bill might end up being higher than they expected or budgeted for. This is something they surely will not like, so try to provide a fixed price bid if you can.
Unfortunately, there are cases when you can’t give out a fixed price because there are too many unknowns and variables about the job. And in this case, you want to explain to your customers that they have to eliminate the unknowns so you can give them the most realistic price possible.
However, if they can’t clarify the unknowns and variables, describe to them what you expect to do. If there’s additional work needed, you can discuss it further or give them a mini-bid for it. Your customers will respect this kind of transparency.
Tell prospective customers how long you have been doing business in their area
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how many people forget to ask about this. Market yourself and your company by giving potential clients examples of your
previous building successes in their area.
If you’re a contractor who’s been working locally for five or ten years, you’ll have an established network of suppliers and subcontractors. Additionally, there’s a certain local reputation to uphold as well. These things make you a safer bet than someone who’s new to the business or someone who plans to commute 50 miles each day to the job site.
Give your potential customers assurance that you’re the builder for them with a business card having a local address and references from one or two of your previous clients who live in the area.
Tell prospective customers about your main suppliers
As we’ve mentioned, a good contractor will be well networked with his suppliers. This means that your customers should be able to tap into information on your reliability and level of quality by talking to owners of tile shops, lumber yards, and kitchen and bath showrooms.
Advise your clients of who they can call to ask about your professional reputation, services, whether your customers are happy with you, and if you’re reliable regarding paying your bills. All of this information will get them much closer to determining if you are a person they want to hire.
If you do everything by the book and have nothing to hide, you will have no qualms about telling them where you get your materials. They should be able to check the information you provide them without any problems.
Invite potential customers to meet your job foreman
Many contractors don’t actually swing hammers. They spend their days bidding on new work and managing their workers and business. If you’re that kind of contractor, the most important member of your team will be the job foreman since he’s the one who will be working on their project every day.
Don’t be afraid to take your potential clients to meet your foreman to see how he manages his projects and crews. This will give them insights about what they can expect on their own project.
This proves to be one of the most important questions to ask a builder before hiring them. If you’ll be managing or doing the job yourself, tell your potential clients that you’ll be there every day. This will create an obligation you’ll have to deliver on, but you’ll get the contract for sure.
Leave a lasting impact
Go above and beyond, and your clients will never forget you. When the project is successfully completed, present your clients with a Moving Day Survival Kit®. – the essentials they’ll need on moving day. It won’t cost you much, but it will mean a lot to them.