During a construction project, it’s sometimes inevitable that obstacles arise that will prevent it from running smoothly. Often, these mishaps are beyond anyone’s control. One thing you can control is your communication and overall relationship with your clients.
Here are some things to consider when establishing strong and positive contractor-client relationships:
Who the point of contact will be
In the construction industry, there may be a general contractor and several subcontractors on any given job. It can be confusing as a client to know who to contact when there is an issue or question. It’s best to assign one person who will be the point of contact for your client, so that they don’t get confused and/or frustrated by several potentially contradicting messages. The point of contact person should be someone of authority, like the general contractor or a site manager. Choosing one person to be in charge of direct communication will help give the client peace of mind with the hope that everything is running smoothly, even if it isn’t.
How you will communicate
Will you have your client contact you via phone, text, or email? You want to make yourself available for whatever method is most convenient for your client. The great thing about email is that it is as legally binding as a contract. It would be smart to consider discussing major details via email. Be sure to establish in the beginning how often you will send updates. You may have a first-time homeowner who is really excited and wants to know all of the details every second of the day. On the other hand, you might get a client that is perfectly okay with a brief update every few weeks just to make sure everything is progressing steadily.
Whether you can explain industry terminology clearly
It’s natural to want to use construction industry jargon when talking about the project at hand. Your clients, however, will most likely not understand what many of those words mean. When discussing details about the contract and the project, try to use common vocabulary that the average person would be able to understand. If something is impossible to rephrase, be prepared to explain it. Failure to do so will result in you jeopardizing the chances of building a strong contractor-client relationship.
How you will formalize changes in the contract
Change orders are important to protect you and your business in the event that any changes are made during the process. If a change occurs, a verbal agreement between you and your client is simply not enough. You should write up a change order and have your client sign it either electronically or on paper as soon as the change is proposed. It is important to have a system in place that will keep track of all changes that are made to the contract. This way the client will not be surprised by any additional changes or charges in the final cost.
How you will take advantage of technology
Your client is spending a great deal of money to get the home they’ve always dreamed of. Thanks to technology, there are many apps and websites out there that can make this dream a reality before the project is even finished. You no longer have to hand-draw sketches to present to your client. Most clients wouldn’t expect to see a hand-drawn sketch either. In this day and age, homeowners will want to see a 3D rendering of the project in its completed phase. Even if your business is small, you can still compete with big-time contracting companies in this regard. 3D house designing Tools such as Multivista, Hover, and Cadsoft are available at your fingertips.
With so many changes happening quickly, it can be easy to neglect keeping your client updated. If you keep these simple yet essential tips in mind, you will save yourself from disputes with your client that could’ve been avoided had there been a clear communication guideline set. With a great contractor-client relationship, you can ensure that they will want to work with you again, and will write positive reviews that will send even more clients your way.