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The Truth About Transparency

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The Truth About Transparency

And 5 tips for embracing it in your own remodeling business

By By Mark Richardson July 31, 2019
This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of Pro Remodeler.

There has been a lot of buzz over the past couple of years about the importance of being more transparent in the remodeling sales process. There are many points of view on the topic, and the answers aren’t black and white. I share these insights so you can find ways of approaching the subject that work for you.

What Transparency Means 

Some interpret transparency as sharing your private business with clients. Others might view it as having to do more work in the estimating and sales process or needing to explain or justify your pricing on the project. Not something that is desirable. However you define it, transparency is where the world is heading. 

A recent Google survey found that about two-thirds of consumers think you are not trustworthy unless you have some pricing transparency on your website and in your process. So rather than fighting the tide, I would encourage embracing this reality and controlling your message. The following are a few tips that might help:

1] Start slowly. Begin by playing with some simple cost breakdowns in categories like labor, materials, subs, etc. Read Michael Anschel’s article in Pro Remodeler (“The Big Reveal,” April 2018). 

2] Ask questions. If prospects or clients request more transparency, try asking questions. You can open with, “What are you hoping to achieve with the breakdown?” Then follow up with more specifics, such as, “Do you want a better understanding of where you are spending, or a sense of labor versus materials?” Often, you can save time by having a conversation and determining what information prospects want when they ask for transparency.

Often, you can save time by having a conversation and determining what information prospects are looking for when they ask for transparency

3] Think education: Rather than get defensive, put on your professor hat. You already educate on design and building science, so try to be more proactive by educating on the specific elements in the costs. 

4] Address price transparency on your website. You do not have to reveal specific costs or provide a project cost calculator, but you do need to deal with the subject. This can be done by sharing ranges of costs on project types, or providing photos and some narrative on your budgeting process. Again, if you ignore the subject, homeowners will move on and call someone that is more transparent.

5] Practice the dialogue. It is important that you learn how to discuss transparency. It needs to be carefully scripted and practiced internally before you roll it out to clients. Those that are very good at the format and the conversation have no problem addressing it with prospects.

So, while incorporating transparency is ultimately your choice, there is no question that you can see better results if you embrace and master it. It all begins with the right mindset.

written by

Mark Richardson


Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at mrichardson@mgrichardson.com or 301.275.0208.

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