As you already know, running a contracting business means keeping current clients happy while also bringing in new ones. Focusing on both of these goals can be a challenge. It comes with a lot of responsibility. This is particularly true if you have a small business. Often a contracting business is just one person or one contractor and a partner. That means one or two people need to play the role of both contractor and sales team at the same time. The unique challenge of customer acquisition is tough for any business. A contracting business is no exception. For that reason, one of your long-time goals should be to generate repeat customers.
Of course, the first challenge is to get a customer to make a purchase at all, for you that means using your contracting business services. Based on reviews, referrals, or a simple leap of faith, this person will hire you with full trust to take on a project that means a lot to them. Whether that project is to reinvent a client’s game room, redesign a bathroom, repair a roof, or really any other type of maintenance or renovation, they are hoping for an exception job.
Growing Your Contracting Business on Fairmarket
The good news is, Fairmarket is one of the best ways, if not the best way, for you to grow your contracting business. When you create a profile on the site, anyone looking for a professional and licensed contractor can easily find you. The more detailed your profile, the easier it is for homeowners to make a decision to hire you based on your qualifications. As in any industry, finding new customers is notoriously challenging. Many contracting business owners spend considerable resources advertising, marketing, and time attempting to reach new clients. All of these aspects pull contractors away from what they do best in attempt to achieve clients. Attaining new clients is a serious investment both financially and labor intensive. That is why maintaining repeat customers should be of upmost importance in your contracting business marketing goals.
Higher Customer Lifetime Value for Your Contracting Business
The good news is, when a customer is satisfied, they will make note of it and contact you next time they have a project requiring your services. Often, these are the clients that will consider you for even bigger projects. They may also recommend you to their friends and colleagues. A satisfied customer becomes like a walking billboard for your services. The work will also speak for itself. If you did a particularly stellar job or added unique detail, anyone that sees it will become interested in your work.
The value of repeat customers is priceless and even more significant to your contracting business than it may seem. That is why achieving a higher customer lifetime value for your contracting business can greatly help your bottom line. The question then becomes, how does one successfully get their customers to return time and time again? How can you get you keep your contracting business top of mind for your customers?
Achieving Long-Term Relationships Your Contracting Business Clients
You’re not alone if you’re wonder how to keep customers coming back every time they need a contractor. Repeat business, also known as customer retention is now considered very much a discipline of its own. It’s why some extremely large construction companies actually hire customer retention managers. Some may even hire large teams of people to ensure that a long-term relationship with customers is cemented. But as a single contracting business owner, there are plenty of ways for you to achieve long-term relationships with your clients. You can keep your customers coming back on your own with the following tips.
Make Your Contracting Business Available
Too often, contractors don’t answer their phone. They don’t check their voice messages, texts or emails. Essentially, they make themselves completely unavailable to their clients and potential customers. This may sound apparent, but you need to answer your customers’ calls and be available when they need you. Of course, you don’t have to drop everything when they call. But if you can’t answer, be sure to text them and let them know you will call back, or simply call back within the hour. This is particularly true for those with an HVAC, electrician, plumbing, or repair contracting business. Many clients that call may have an emergency that needs your attention as soon as possible. If you want repeat customers (and you do!), you need to take calls.
If you’re too busy to handle calls, then make a point to hire someone who can do it for you. From there, this person can look at your calendar, schedule appointments, etc. The Fairmarket dashboard makes it easy to connect and chat with your clients. So regularly check in with your dashboard to be sure you haven’t missed a message. If you have an assistant, be sure they are checking it regularly. In a world of instant access and with smartphones at our sides almost all the time, if you don’t make yourself available customers will seek other contractors. Even if you meet all the other criteria for service, they will still go elsewhere. You don’t want this to happen so be sure to constantly remain connected.
Follow Up with Your Clients
In addition to being available, you should also follow up with your clients a few days to a week after you’ve completed the job. Check in with them to see how everything is going, working properly, etc. Ask them immediately if they need anything else. Because you are still on your customer’s mind, they may ask you to do another job. This is especially true if you need an exceptional job. Furthermore, keep track of your clients in a spreadsheet and follow up with them every six months. By communicating with your clients you are letting them know you care about them, which makes them less likely to seek out other contractors.
Have a Reliable Contracting Business
Doing what you say you are going to do goes a long way. To build long-term trust and years of great relationships with your clients, you need to build trust. This begins by unfailing doing what you say you will do – every time. This goes for everything from the time you say you’re going to call them and meet at their house to the quote you give them for the job and to completing the project. It is understandable that things come up unexpectedly that are completely out of your control.
Good communication skills can help your clients trust you. Make a point to do whatever you can to eliminate unexpected issues. For example, if you were 20 minutes late because of traffic and then let your clients know the parts they need won’t be in for a month, then this could leave a bad taste in their mouth. While known of those are your fault, they may blame you. The way you handle a situation like that can make all the difference. Stay calm, respectful, and reassuring to your clients.
Always Be Courteous and Clean with Every Job
Regardless of the size of the job, always be polite with your customers. On the phone or in person, first impressions are everything. Continue to exceed their expectations with every interaction. When you are in their home, be sure to respect their living space. Avoid leaving coffee cups, water bottles, nails, paint, or spackle around. Nobody wants to pay you to do a job that ends up creating more work for themselves. A key part to earning their respect and to make yourself look extremely professional is by cleaning up after yourself. Do this without being asked. It is a significant part of your contractor business that can help you gain repeat business.
Keep it Professional Each and Every Time
Often, too many contractors mistake their clients’ friendliness for being their best friends. They feel that it is an invitation for them to chat about a friend’s party or to go into detail about their lives. Your customers care about you, but they don’t need to know you were up all night with your sick child.
Part of building a long term relationship and gaining the respect of your clients is to keep it professional. You can and absolutely should be friendly, but don’t spend too long chatting. And definitely don’t be inappropriate. Don’t use bad language, talk politics, or make rude conversation with your customers or fellow contractors on the job. Plus, chatting too much will only slow you down. Your clients want you to move efficiently through the job or project. And the more jobs you can get done in a day, the more likely they will be to connect with you on Fairmarket to use your services again.
Run a Trustworthy Contracting Business
It is crucial that you have contractors’ insurance. This is to first and foremost ensure that you and your contracting business are protected. However, an additional benefit of having contractors’ insurance for your business is to give off the perception that you are even more reliable. When customers see a Certificate of Insurance, they may feel more comfortable working with you. For some clients, this may be a prerequisite before they will hire you. If you have contractors’ insurance, be sure to highlight this in your Fairmarket profile, on your webpage, and in your social media. It is a great marketing piece that can give you a competitive edge every time.
Treat Every Single Job As Though It Is a Large Project
If you treat every job – big or small, with the upmost importance, it shows your customers that you care. Whether you are fixing a door hinge or constructing an entire new set of stairs, let your clients know that you’re in it for the long haul. No job is too small. As a contractor, you already know that every day is different. One hour you could be repairing a cabinet, while the next minute you are renovating a kitchen. Building a strong relationship, regardless of the job, lets your customers know that there is nothing you will not do for them. With type of attitude, you build strong, long-lasting relationships, and there’s no telling to what type of future business this could lead.
Use Recommendations and Reviews to Your Advantage
After every job, your client will be able to leave a detailed review on Fairmarket. This lets your current and future clients know how great your are so they are more likely to hire you. These reviews and recommendations are key in your quest for repeat customers. They go a long way. Word of mouth and reviews are an essential part of your marketing. Many times when someone needs a contractor, they ask their friends who they use. Always give out a card or magnet with your information on it. Your clients can use it or pass it along to a friend. Tell your current clients that they can find you on Fairmarket and encourage their friends to connect with you there. It is the best way to see all your projects, communication, and schedule all in one dashboard.
Bottom Line to Get Repeat Business for Your Contracting Business
The bottom line to gaining repeat business is to focus one the types of contractor customers you want for your business. Then, go after them. When you provide excellent quality service, great customer service, and are reliable and friendly, they will come to you. You will become the type of contractor that is in high demand!