Even a great contractor has ebbs and flows in their business. Keeping the “ebbs” at a minimum is all about having loyal customers who love your work. These customers are the ones who only want you as their contractor and return again and again for every project. Because of this, a great contractor always has work, even in a down market or in an unprecedented global pandemic. After all, homeowners always have needs. From leaking roofs to clogged toilets, the projects do not stop.
As a great contractor there really is no better feeling than being in demand. Having a satisfied and deeply loyal customer base is what will put you at the top of your industry. The following are ways to be the best in the business and get more referrals.
A Great Contractor Gets Return Customers
Return customers are different than repeat customers. Yes, they sound similar. But a return customer is one that had a project done and has come back again. Usually, they are returning only for the first or second time. But a repeat customer is someone who calls on their favorite contractors again and again for every project. These are loyal customers that often make up the bulk of your work. As a contractor, you want return customers because they will (hopefully!) eventually become repeat customers.
The following are ways to get customers to return:
1. Redefine Customer Service
When you offer consistently great service, you will find that you retain and get more clients. You will win over the competition every time when you go above and beyond with excellent customer service. And remember, customers are 4 times more likely to choose the direct competition if their discrepancy is service-related. This is opposed to any issue being project oriented.
Perhaps worse, studies show that an unhappy customer will tell approximately 15 people about their negative experience. This can be costly for your business. Even in a downturned economy, it has been proven that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for great customer service.
One of the best ways to be a great contractor is simple, be available. And, when you can’t get to your phone, be sure to call customers back within a reasonable amount of time. It can be very frustrating for the clients hoping to hire the best contract, when they want to reach you but cannot. Use all form of communication such as text, social media, and email to make it as easy as possible to respond to your customers.
2. A Great Contractor is Unforgettable
Whether a promotional t-shirt, a keychain, magnet, or other promotional product, leave something with your clients that helps you stand out. Great service is not always enough. You need to keep yourself top of mind with your customers. If they see the magnet on the fridge with all your information, they are more likely to call you first. After all, they won’t need to look up the information, which is already a huge time saver.
With the right promotional materials and brand message you will boost brand recall. This works better than any extra advertising you may be tempted to spend money on. By actively engaging customers you encourage them to remember your brand and reach out when they are looking for a great contractor.
3. A Great Contractor Actively Fosters Loyalty
Simply hoping or expecting your clients to return is not enough. You need to foster customer loyalty by regularly following up, staying in touch, and even creating a loyalty program. It does not have to be sophisticated. A simple, “10% off your next project” can keep them coming back. Some customers are motivated by price. But most are motivated by a job well done. When they know they can count on you to do the job accurately and expertly, they will come back for more.
4. A Great Contractor Offers Their Clients Choices
Homeowners tend to get flustered when they have too many choices. But not enough choices can also be frustrating. A great contractor guides homeowners to make the best decisions. At the same time, they help to keep the entire process the least stressful as possible. As the expert, a great contractor will share their opinions and experience while guiding the homeowner appropriately.
Fairmarket contractors have connections to the best brands and products in the business and will always offer the best choices. Choices based on price and helping the client choice the best option for them will help you stand out. Showing that you have the client’s best interest in mind, will make you stand apart from other contractors. That said, a Harvard Business Review study found that simplifying the decision making process for clients and enabling them to weigh their options, creates the best bonds with customers.
5. A Great Contractor Goes the Extra Mile
Doing a great job and keeping customers happy, means going above and beyond. For example, being kind, respectful, and helpful can go a long way. Additionally, cleaning up any and all messes, wearing booties inside the house, communicating throughout the whole job, and ensuring the client is happy are all important. Doing these things will ensure clients return again and again. It is not enough to simply do the job. Leaving your client satisfied and completely happy about the project will make you the most memorable.
6. Be Professional at All Times
Remember that although you are not in an office setting, you must remain professional at all times. That means not using bad language, eating outside of breaks, checking social media, or smoking on the client’s property. Being professional also means responding to voicemails and emails in a timely manner. The more professional you are, the more likely that you will be hired for more projects. You will get more referrals this way, too.
7. Be Proactive and Responsive
At all times be proactive and responsive. If you are the contractor who returns calls the fastest, you will be hired for the job time after time. Homeowners like to work with someone they know they can count on for all their projects. Be it small ones like a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Or, large jobs like finishing the basement or adding an addition to the house.
8. Set Reasonable and Competitive Rates
Know your worth and charge appropriately. Determine if you are going to be a premium service provide and charge more, or a low-cost provider with budget rates. Keeping your prices fair and competitive – whichever path you choose (budget or luxury). Let long term customers know before you raise your rates. It is fine to raise them to stick with the industry and to stay competitive but communicate the reason to your customers. Do not add fees on to projects. Always be upfront with all prices prior to starting the job and get the contract signed.
9. Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Feedback
Asking for and being receptive to feedback can help you grow as a contractor. At the end of the job ask for feedbacks and reviews. More often than not your clients will write rave reviews. By asking them for feedback you are inviting them to publicly share how much they love your work. You will know if a client is not satisfied and you can do your best to rectify any issues. By going above and beyond and ensuring your client is happy with the finished product, they are more likely to use you again. Homeowners want a passionate and hard-working contractor.
10. Make Them Want to Recommend You
You can make it easy for your client to recommend you by sharing your card with them. Other promotional swag also helps you stay top of mind. You may even offer a referral incentive or discount for new customers and clients who recommend them. You do not need to be shy about asking your customers to spread the word about your services. A great contractor is hard to find so chances are they will willingly share your info anyway. Also, ask your client for more business by regularly following up.
Check in a few weeks after you’ve finished a project and follow up ever few months. Keeping customers loyal and getting referrals does not have to be difficult. This is the bulk of your business so keeping clients happy the first time can go a long way. When you are hired, the customer expects the job to be done right. When you are courteous, professional, and do a fantastic job, the customer will be beyond satisfied.
Putting the customer first for every interaction – whether they are your current client or a prospect, will prove that you have their best interest in mind. Offering the best advice, giving a fair amount of choice, having affordable rates, and getting the job done right will keep customers coming back. New customers will become return and then repeat customers. Grow your contractor business on Fairmarket today!