Knowing your stuff isn’t the only vital part of a contractor’s job skills. Unless a contractor knows how to sell himself or herself to potential clients and GC’s, they will never reach the level of career success they deserve. To stand out from the crowd, make sure to have the following five issues handled before clients and GC’s start calling.
1. Have Recommendations. Getting good exposure is key to getting work as a contractor. Ask your satisfied customers to post reviews on Yelp, Angie’s list, etc. Register with the local chapter of your local trades specialty to make sure you are included on all of the association’s press materials. Strike up friendships with the managers of your home improvement store and lumberyard, and let them know that you’d love for them to send folks your way. Develop a positive relationship with your local code enforcement office, so that when potential clients call asking for a contractor with an excellent track record, your is the first name they mention.
2. Sharpen up your phone skills. Make sure you have solid responses to the more common questions that potential clients or GC’s might have. Know exactly what size of projects you are comfortable taking on, be able to provide a list of previous clients, be ready to provide financial references from suppliers or banks, know exactly how many other projects you wold be working on during the time period marked out by the client, and be able to vet all of your subcontractors.
3. Perfect your face-to-face pitch skills. Cultivate a confident, informative, collaborative demeanor that clients will find inviting and reassuring. Build good habits for clear and effective communication. Know exactly what you can, and cannot deliver for the client and don’t be shy with asking questions about your client’s lifestyle, finances/pay schedules, and professional life. You will be in this person’s home for hours at a time and it is crucial that you feel comfortable with each other.
4. Keep your personnel in-the-know about “drop-ins.” Many potential clients may wish to drop by one of your active job sites so they can know as much as possible about how you work. Let all of your labor, subcontractors, and personnel know what is expected of them when potential clients drop by. Keep extra safety gear around in case potential clients want a tour of your job site.
5. Contracts and legal paperwork prepped in advance. Many contractors are content to use pre-made forms from companies like Nolo and LegalZoom and the write-in the pertinent details. It’s better to have your firm’s attorney draw up forms that are specifically tailored for each client. Make sure to include the payment schedule, completion date, responsibility for clean-up, and agreed-upon materials are enumerated in the contract, as well as the names of the subcontractors hired to complete parts of the remodel.