As a general contractor in Southwest Colorado, you know your firm’s reputation is priceless. But have you really thought about the factors that have direct impact on what potential clients think of you?
Here are 10 areas to focus on to set you and your company apart from other contractors:
1. Be Responsive
The first step toward establishing a positive reputation is to get back to people who call you as soon as you can. You might be surprised about how many general contractors in the Four Corners area simply don’t do this. Even if you can’t take on a new project at the moment, call or even text people back. You don’t want them spreading the word that you’re unresponsive.
As you work with a client, continue to respond to their inquiries in a timely way. Submit estimates and schedules on time too, or let clients know about any delays.
When an owner wants a last-minute change or comes up with a wild idea, listen and respond carefully. Instead of automatically pushing back, talk about the impact on the budget and schedule. Suggest alternatives that may make more sense.
3. Act Professionally
Clients will not expect you to show up to the site in a suit, but you can dress for work and still look tidy. Carry a clean shirt and spare pair of shoes if need be. Make sure to use professional language. Come to meetings prepared and organized.
4. Manage Your Subs
One of the reasons property owners in Durango hire general contractors is so they don’t have to deal directly with the many subcontractors needed to remodel or build a home in Southwest Colorado. Therefore, you need to actively manage your subs. This means holding them to the same standards of professionalism you follow yourself, and it means dropping by the site to check in on them from time to time.
5. Handle Problems
When an issue arises, you are the go-to person to solve it whether the problem is yours or was created by someone else. The first move you should make is to acknowledge the issue, then figure out how to resolve it to the client’s satisfaction. Most clients don’t expect a project to be completely problem-free, and chances are you will be judged by how well you take care of issues rather than whether they occurred.
6. Strive for Quality
Developing a reputation for quality work means two things. First, choose and recommend the highest-grade materials you feel are appropriate for the project, and be prepared to explain your selections. Also, look for the best subcontractors you can, even if they charge a little more. Down the road the homeowner probably won’t remember paying a few more bucks for top notch materials and service, but if a tile job fails or paint doesn’t last, they will probably remember you.
7. Tend to the Workplace
The worksite is tangible evidence of how professional you, your crew, and your subs are. It should be tidy at the end of each day with tools gathered in an out-of-the way place, trash picked up and so on. During the day, most clients will feel fine about having music on, but if there’s any question about it be sure to ask. Ensure that music is G-rated and not too loud.
It goes without saying that maintaining a good safety record is key to an outstanding reputation in the construction industry. It’s likely that prospective clients will check yours before hiring you. Make sure you’re clear with your subs about your expectations for their sake and yours.
Not only will an accident cause injury and impact the schedule, it will cause you extra work too. It may need investigation and explanation, depending on the severity. If it’s disastrous, you may even lose the job.
9. Deliver, Deliver, Deliver
Timely delivery starts with creating a realistic schedule. No matter how enthusiastic you are about the project, don’t over-promise. If there’s a delay, talk to your client about it, be honest, and have a plan for getting the build back on track.
Once you have set a finish date, stick to it. Projects delivered late will inconvenience clients and probably cost them money. In La Plata County winters, dream homes delivered late can mean months of problems for owners.
10. Finish Strong
Once the build is complete, make sure your subs have cleaned up every last bit of trash and debris. Walk the site to check. Also, remove equipment in a timely way.
You will already have a warranty policy in place; talk over what’s covered with the owner. Let them know you are available if problems or questions arise, and if they contact you, respond right away.
If you feel good about the way the project developed and you’re sure the client does too, ask them to review your company online. They might be willing to serve as a reference for future prospective clients as well.
Even in areas like Durango, where general contractors tend to be in demand, you must build and protect your reputation. An outstanding track record help you win more jobs and enable you to choose the ones that interest you most.
In an industry where so much depends on word of mouth, your reputation bears thinking about on a daily basis, on every job, and with every person you work with.