How to Establish Trust as a Home Improvement Contractor
Your customers come home to relax and unwind after a long day at work. Home is where they entertain friends, make memories as a family, and celebrate life’s simple pleasures. So when they need a contractor for home improvement, they’re going to take their time finding the perfect person to do the job right.
Approval rates for home improvement loans matter.
But, now more than ever, approval rates really matter. With the recent economic downturn, some finance companies have been turning down more home improvement loans, leaving contractors and their customers high and dry. Not only that, but contractors are finding that they’re being removed from some lenders’ loan programs, leading home improvement professionals to correctly conclude that they were not working with a stable and secure banking partner.
How do you make sure you’re the one who gets hired? Establishing trust is a key component in building your clientele as a contractor. Check out our tips for how to build trust with your potential customers.
1. Offer In-Person Interviews
People want to get to know the person they’re trusting to renovate their home. Start out the process by eagerly offering in-person interviews, no strings attached. While many contractors offer free consultations, offering interviews will set you apart because it will give customers a chance to get to know you as a person before the shop talk even starts.
2. Create a Portfolio
Do you have a distinctive style or signature flair? Or do you consider yourself a chameleon, who can match any customer’s personal preferences? Either way, your customers will want to see what you can do. Build a professional portfolio of your work to assure your customers that you’re the right match for their needs. Make sure to provide high quality literature to showcase your best projects. Customers will be impressed with your preparation, and reassured when they see the quality workmanship you’ve done on other homes.
3. Build Your References
When just about every industry is becoming more competitive with every passing year, social proof is one important way to set yourself apart as a reliable contractor. You’ll really wow your customers if you offer them testimonials and online reviews from your raving customers before they even ask for it. Build this reference list by using an automated system to ask every happy customer for a review.
4. Be on Time
As with any job, being on time is an important way to show you’re a serious professional worthy of trust. No one wants to be waiting hours for their contractor to show up, so start the relationship off on the right foot by always being on time to appointments, consultations, demo days, etc. Better yet — impress your customers and arrive a few minutes early.
5. Stay Updated on Licensing and Permits
Smart customers will know to ask for your licenses and permits. Stay one step ahead of them by knowing which permits you might need for the project and making these available before they have to ask. Make note of when your licenses and permits expire, and be sure to renew them well in advance. Customers will be skeptical of a contractor who is in between licenses, and you might lose out on important work opportunities.
6. Use a Trusted Lending Partner
Along with buying a house and car, home improvements are one of the biggest investments the average person will make in their lifetime. Naturally, they’re wary about putting such a large chunk of money on the line. Ease their worries by using a trusted lending partner. Companies like EnerBank offer flexible payment options, allowing you to build trust, close more sales, and increase average job size.
7. Build a Detailed Contract
Contracts are an important part of any business. They’ll ensure you and your customers are on the same page as far as expectations, timelines, and payment plans. Make sure the contract is easy for your customer to understand. A contract can also keep you out of hot water if you were to get involved in a lawsuit or other legal trouble. Make sure you always build a detailed contract before you start any renovation project.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to build a trusting relationship with each and every customer. Once you’ve established that trust, maintain it by following through until the end of the project. Do what you say you’ll do, show up on time, and hold up your end of the project. Doing so will help you build a flourishing business with a steady flow of repeat customers and referrals.
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