Clean-Cut Customer Relations

Taking just a little bit of effort to be considerate of your customers' homes can enhance your public relations.

November 13, 2000

Rick Buttorff, president of Buttorff Co. Inc. in Louisville, Ky., makes sure he comes out clean when every job is finished. His company takes special care to keep job sites exceptionally clean, both during the day and after the day''s work is done, resulting in improved relationships with his customers as well as better referrals.

"We''re trying to step our customer relations up a notch," he says. "You can make a big impact if you protect things while you''re working on them."

Buttorff''s contractors make continuous use of plastic dust barriers to keep their job sites clean. Several manufacturers sell expandable posts capable of holding up lengths of plastic, creating a virtually airtight seal around a work space. When walls are demolished, barriers of this type not only keep the mess in, they also keep temperature variations out of the regular living areas. "It saves us time and money as we clean up," says Buttorff.

Sticky floor runners also help prevent messes before they start. These mats adhere to the floor and pull the dirt and dust off of contractors' shoes as they come in and out of work areas. Buttorff has had so much success with these mats that he routinely gives one to homeowners at the end of each job where one is used. "People just love them," he says.

Managers must continue to remind contractors of clean-site policies throughout the course of work. As various contractors come on and off the job, they need to be informed and re-informed to keep the job sites clean. But Buttorff considers this time well spent. "I think that too many contractors have gotten haphazard [with their habits]," says Buttorff. "I think the protection of the personal property we're dealing with is really critical. Extra cleanliness certainly says to the client that these people care and are conscientious about what they do."

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