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Usually I take to this space to speak directly to homeowners. I do my best to educate them about the best practices when it comes to renovating, buying, or selling their home, as well as offer tips on finding good contractors and home inspectors. I take my job seriously because, unfortunately, too many unsuspecting homeowners have fallen victim to shoddy remodels, or contractors who were in over their head.
And when that happens, I get their emails. I like to think that by doing what I do, I can help previously burned homeowners regain some of the trust they once had in our industry.
With all the home-renovation disaster shows out there, sometimes I think contractors as a whole have got a bad rap. The good contractors out there far outnumber the bad ones — but when each homeowner approaches the good ones with suspicion, what can we do?
It becomes up to the good contractors to win over their homeowners and show them why they are worthy of working on their homes. But how do you do that? Here are my tips for winning over your homeowners, and establishing a great relationship with them.
Times are changing — adapt!
It used to be that a homeowner and a contractor could strike up a deal for cash, shake on it — and the work would get started. The days of the handshake deal are over. In this line of work, it’s so important to keep records of everything. Why? It provides clear guidelines and expectations for the homeowner, and helps reduce miscommunication.
Good contractors get this — and will insist on outlining everything clearly in a contract, and keeping record of the payment. It protects the homeowner, and it protects you. I often recommend that homeowners walk away from contractors who don’t insist on including a contract — but the reverse is true as well. A homeowner who doesn’t want written records of your deal is a huge red flag for any good contractor.
We have so many ways to communicate these days — text, email, and phone. No matter how you communicate with your homeowner, keep records of those messages! If you speak in person, send a follow up message to confirm so you have everything in writing.
Stay true to your word
My dad always said that the one thing that sticks with you for your life is your word. A good contractor will do exactly what they say they’re going to do. That means if you say you’re going to show up at 8 a.m. to look at their roof — I don’t care if it’s snowing, hail, or sleet, you should be there at 8 a.m.!
This line of thinking extends to your work. No contractor is perfect. Sometimes we all mess up and make a mistake on the job. What will separate you as a great contractor is the way you respond to those mistakes. Do you communicate with the homeowner quickly? And most importantly, do you address and correct your mistake? Like I said, it’s all about sticking to your word.
It’s why the phrase Make It Right has stuck with me for so long. As contractors it’s important for us to stand by our word — and make sure we’re giving the home our best work.
Respect and teach
A big passion of mine is educating homeowners. As a contractor, you have a great opportunity to teach your homeowners WHY you do things the way that you do. Why is this important?
When you help walk a homeowner through the “why” of your job, you’re helping establish trust. They understand what the job entails (and why some higher-end building materials may be worth the extra cost), and will feel more comfortable putting their trust in you. A good contractor always explains the “why.”
Finally, good contractors go the extra mile to ensure that you’re keeping your job site clean and tidy. Especially if you’re only doing a small section of a home.
When my team goes in to renovate, we do our best to mitigate the spread of construction dust by covering vents, and placing plastic dividers over doorways. No matter what you do, dust during a renovation is inevitable — but do your best to minimize mess. And do a thorough clean once your work is finished.
Mike and his family are back! Watch their new show, Holmes 911 on CTV Life Channel.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019