flexiblefullpage - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

5 Client Red Flags to Watch

billboard -

5 Client Red Flags to Watch

Using these guidelines in the first meeting can save a lot of time and energy down the road

By Allyson Case Anderson July 28, 2022
renovation client red flags
Graphic courtesy metelsky25 | stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of Pro Remodeler.

When it comes to potential clients, identifying red flags early in the process can make a big difference. There is a lot of incentive from both the client and contractor to overlook obvious red flags.

Everyone wants the project to move forward. Here are some questions I ask myself to identify red flags.

RELATED: A Letter to Your Clients: 10 Ways to Be a World-Class Client

1. Are they talking with a lot of contractors?

There’s nothing wrong with asking a prospect how many contractors they’re talking to. If they say two or three, that’s fine. But if they say a lot more, that communicates two things to me: First, they’re commoditizing the trades. Second, they’re not respectful of our time. They’re meeting seven contractors and expect those professionals to give the same amount of time to their project. That can mean entitlement and lack of respect.


2. How are they communicating with you?

A lot can be seen in the way a potential client communicates. Are they talking down to you? Are they reluctant to give anything away because they think you will quote them a high price if you know they have money?


3. How do they react to hard conversations at the beginning of the process?

You always want to have a hard conversation in the first meeting. That’s easy because construction is full of hard conversations, mainly about budget and schedule.

Ask: Is that your budget? And see how they respond. If people respond angrily, it’s a bad situation. It’s okay if the clients are uneducated or weren’t expecting that number, but what you’re trying to gauge is how they respond. Are they listening? Are they talking at me? Are they defensive? And if they’re a couple, how are they interacting with each other?


RELATED: How to Address Client Fears Amid Economic Shifts

4. Are they reading your contract?

It doesn’t matter if the contract is two or 30 pages long—some people don’t read them at all, even when you walk through the document with them. Often, if things get difficult, these clients don’t understand the rules of play.

This is the most dangerous client because they’re often easygoing but become highly emotional with stressful events because they don’t understand. It can come up with change orders too. It’s not uncommon for clients to sign change orders and not pay attention to their budget.

And when people get confused, they get dangerous because they feel like they’re being betrayed.


5. Do they feel entitled to you?

People are spending a lot of money and sometimes can feel like they own you. We do have a contract for what we are responsible for and the scope of work. We try to be reasonable, but some clients require management beyond reason. They might be very indecisive or expect you to be at their beck and call. They text at all hours, call on weekends, and request meetings on holidays.

Looking for these red flags early, and making decisions accordingly, can save significant time and frustration for you and your team.


written by

Allyson Case Anderson

Allyson Case Anderson is owner of Integro Builders, a general contracting company serving Chicagoland and Western Mich.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
leaderboard2 - default

Related Stories

10 Remodeling Sales Techniques for 2024

Mark Richardson explains the benefits of visual selling, strategic questioning, intentional messaging, and more on this episode of Remodeling Mastery

3 Ways to Start and Operate a Successful Handyman Division

So, you want to start a small projects division? Three successful remodelers lay out their winning approaches and hard-learned lessons

6 Tips for Software Adoption in a Remodeling Company

A design-build owner shares how he successfully implemented new softwares into his processes

6 Results-Proven Marketing and Sales Tips for Contractors

The Pinnacle Experience’s keynote speaker, author of "They Ask, You Answer" offers results-driven tips contractors can start today for improved leads

Forty Under 40 Remodeling Trendsetters

The new ideas embraced by our Forty Under 40 winners are examples of forward-thinking leadership in remodeling


How to Create a World-Class Remodeling Team

Great remodeling companies position themselves for the future with the right players

How to Increase Your Odds of Closing Remodeling Sales

Use these tips to hone your sales process and grow close ratio

Everyone Should Have a Number: KPIs for Your Design Build Team

Measuring key performance indicators guides your team to success while creating accountability and ownership

Becoming Profitable in Your Remodeling Niche

The 2023 NAHB Remodelers Chair shares insights and advice for contractors in our 2024 Thought Leader predictions series


Combat Remodeling Market Pullback with Increased Marketing

Mosby Building Arts' president shares his expert predictions and approaches to remodeling in 2024 for Pro Remodeler's Thought Leader predictions series

boombox2 -
halfpage2 -
native1 -

More in Category

native2 -
halfpage1 -
leaderboard1 -