11 Ways to Build a Great Reputation as a Contractor
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
As a contractor, your reputation can make or break your business.
Asking friends and neighbors for referrals is a common way for customers to choose professionals in areas such as plumbing, home construction, and remodeling so it’s important to be known as a reliable option.
Aside from doing your job well and enlisting other marketing tactics, there are other ways to deliver a better customer experience and to help build an exceptional reputation.
1. Have a reference list available.
Your new clients may likely request references before signing the dotted line to work with you. To make the process easier, keep an updated reference list that details the work you’ve done for each client along with any testimonials or quotes they may have given.
2. Turn to technology.
In addition to having a well maintained website, investing in technology can help you better communicate with both current and prospective clients. Make appointment scheduling easy by adding an online portal to your website. Contractor software such as Jobber even integrates with your accounting programs to help you keep track of all of your jobs at once.
3. Be responsive.
As you work on jobs, it’s important to put clients’ minds at ease by communicating what’s going on and being responsive to their inquiries. Return business calls the same day and be diligent in answering emails. To keep communication lines clear, outline how often you will give status updates to your clients and the best methods for reaching you when needed. And if issues do occur, such as unexpected problems and delays, you may want to give updates much more frequently.
4. Never over-promise.
While it’s okay to over-communicate at times, it’s never good to be a contractor that over-promises. Set realistic project goals at the beginning of every job, and modify as needed. Then, inform your client.
5. Train staff before they begin (and over time).
While you may understand the importance of a great reputation, your staff may not. Training your employees in customer service ensures that your principles are the same throughout your company and can save yourself future headaches. Be sure to also continually train your staff so that they complete jobs at a high level every time. Keep them up-to-date on safety procedures, how to use new machinery, and the inner workings of updated technology. (The International Institute of Sewer and Drain Cleaning can help! See our upcoming classes.)
6. Keep them happy.
A happy and productive team of employees can be one of the best things for your business. If your employees don’t like working for you, they won’t give it their all. A disgruntled team does just enough to get by; clients can pick up on dysfunctional teams and will distrust your work because of it. Employees will feel good about working for you if they feel supported, appreciated, and recognized. Those that do will produce their best work. Be sure to celebrate their successes, invest in them in multiple ways, ask for feedback, listen to them, and be a reliable and consistent leader. Also make sure to do this with both on-the-ground staff and employees that stay in the office. Be sure that every team member knows that what they do counts.
7. Prioritize client privacy.
A part of the customer experience is trust. Contractors have access to clients’ most sacred spaces — their homes — and it’s important that they know you value their privacy. Additionally, be sure not to discuss other client business when out on a job. Every project should be kept confidential.
8. Keep track of online reviews.
It is important to know what your clients are saying about you to the people they know, but your online reputation is just as important. Make a list of review sites such as Yelp to check weekly and set up a simple Google Alert to receive emails whenever you or your business is mentioned online. Invite your customers to write reviews and you may need to remind them a second time as well. The more reviews you have, the more likely satisfied customers will come to the forefront.
9. Follow up.
After every job is completed, follow up to ensure there are no lingering issues or complications. This is also a good time to ask for a testimonial and to request permission to use them as a reference for future clients.
Whether it’s with your suppliers or with businesses whose services you often need in order to complete your projects, partnering with businesses you trust is a smart move. Not only does it ensure that you can consistently provide top-notch service, but it also allows you to build on each other’s reputations and expand your potential client bases.
11. Be socially responsible.
Many clients trust companies who are involved within the communities in which they work. Organize volunteer activities for you and your employees, especially locally and make it a habit to be involved with community efforts you care about.
Use these tips and you’ll be at the top of your clients’ referral lists. What’s helped you build your reputation as a contractor? Let us know!