David Lupberger: Work follows from managing homeowner relationships

You have a unique opportunity to build and expand on homeowner relationships after the job is over

May 30, 2012

The remodeling business is a relationship-driven business model. As homeowners invite us into their homes, we don’t just deliver a successful project, we also interact with each member of the family.

Very personal and close interactions can take place on longer projects. We have the ability to create special relationships with the homeowners we work with. No other tradesperson or supplier has this type of “up close and personal” experience with their customers.

This personal dynamic separates what a general contractor does from most other professional service providers, with the exception of the family physician. They too get to know their clients in a very personal way.

Building trust

In the remodeling industry, homeowners work with contractors they know, like and trust. Building trust is at the core of a successful project. Understanding this key building block is the basis of a profitable remodeling business, and good contractors understand this.

There can be a powerful bonding energy that comes from a successful project. Remodeling professionals help homeowners make their dreams come true. Successful contractors want to develop this relationship to nurture additional work.

One of the reasons I was a design/build contractor was because of the relationships I got to develop with my clients. As a contractor, I had a lot of influence on the decisions that they made for their homes. I would typically steer them to the plumbing supply house I worked with, the lighting store I worked with and the fabricator shop I frequented. I would direct them to professional suppliers that would help them complete their projects in a professional manner. As the general contractor, I directed these interactions with specific trade contractors and suppliers, managing their remodeling experience as part of managing their project.

Leverage your unique opportunity

Here is a key point: You have a unique opportunity to build and expand on these relationships after the job is over. When the job is done, will their home still require care, upkeep, maintenance and improvement? Don’t you know more about that home than even the homeowner if you have completed a project there? Is there anyone better suited for this job than you?  

How can you optimize this relationship? When the project is over, your relationship should just be beginning. Make sure at the end of each project that you return to the home three, six and 12 months later to review your work. Call this a warranty visit.

I can guarantee you that since your last visit, the homeowners have discovered additional tasks that they want done in their home. Build on your relationship by assisting with these numerous small projects, becoming a one-call resource.

You can help them identify and prioritize what needs to be done. Use your professional expertise to assist them with this. Refer them to professional service providers so that they can be assured the work is being done correctly. In this down market, begin to think about diversifying your product and service offerings. Create a business that can meet all of your client’s home-related needs.

You have an opportunity to maximize the relationships you have developed with your past clients. Stop thinking about your next job and where it’s coming from. Start thinking about managing your client relationships and helping them take care of their biggest asset. If you manage those relationships well, the work will follow. I guarantee it.  

Doctors and dentists have been doing this for ages. Most people have a family doctor and dentist, and even a family car mechanic. When a problem arises, they go to their trusted adviser to get the help they need. If work is required, they don’t go out to find someone who can do it for less money. They trust their adviser, trust the work that they do, and they let them do the job.  

Why aren’t we doing the same thing with our client’s homes? The work is waiting.

On June 27, David Lupberger will be hosting a live webinar to review how to introduce this business concept into your own business. Please visit http://bit.ly/J4nzla for more information.

David Lupberger has been in the remodeling industry for more than 20 years and is author of Managing the Emotional Homeowner, the Remodelers Turnkey Program, and the Home Asset Management Plan. You can reach him at david@davidlupberger.com, or at 303-442-3702.

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