A good reputation is fertile ground for new business and growth. If your company leaves a wake of overjoyed customers in its path, word will get around that you are the right builder for the job. Here are the top 5 pro-tips for managing your reputation as a builder.
1. Give Your Client Access
Keeping a client well-informed is a massive must. No matter how big the project seems to you as a builder, it is an infinitely bigger deal to the homeowner. Great builders know this, so they do their best to keep the homeowner involved and informed, but without the right technology this requires incredible amounts of both time and patience.
The industry standard is shifting, however, to a more hands-on experience for homeowners. A well-designed homebuilding app gives your client enough access to keep them happy and well-informed and prevent the need for frequent meetings. This eliminates the "us versus them" and makes the client instead feel like part of the team. It also lets them know where schedules and budgets stand at all times, eliminating any nasty surprises down the road.
Homeowners get their own login credentials to browse updated data (only the data that you’ve chosen to give them access to) and project photos at any time. You can keep on making progress while they check in on their own time.
2. Send Out Regular Reports
Many builders find at the beginning of a project that their clients want to be very hands-on, making frequent check-ins, change orders and site visits. As time goes on, those visits and check-ins may become less frequent, but as a builder it's still up to you to keep them informed.
Do your clients a favor (and yourself) by establishing a consistent weekly touchpoint. This will grow your client's trust in your transparency and ensure them that you are making progress, even when they're not checking in.
Once again, however, this can be a time-consuming process if done without the aid of technology. You don’t want to spend every Friday morning scraping together updated numbers, schedule updates, budget reports and site photos to send to your client. The right construction project management software does this for you and keeps you from doing the same work twice. Once you've reviewed the report and added your own comments, you can click send and continue to make progress on your project.
3. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
One thing I preach to my team is that bad news doesn’t get better with time. If a problem comes up, a change order is needed, a deadline gets pushed back, or a cost is going to run over, you can avoid a whole mess of trouble down the road by being up front with your client immediately.
4. Document Everything & Get Signatures
I don't know any experienced builders who haven't had issues with client conflict. When it's your word versus your client's word, nobody wins, but we all know just how differently two individuals can recall the same conversation. "That's not the right color, that's not what I said!"
For this reason, you simply cannot build from conversations with your clients. Get it in writing. After a verbal agreement or change order has been made, no matter how seemingly small the detail, don't move on just yet. Make sure you document everything that was decided and get your client's signature before they walk away. A few months down the road you will be glad you did. (See more tips for managing change orders.)
5. Stay Organized
In order to be able to give your clients immediate access, or to send out regular reports without wasting time, or to get signatures on-the-spot from your client when needed, you will need a system that centralizes all data and users so everyone is on the same page. Rather than spreading your data out over various information silos and juggling share links, access to spreadsheets, email attachments, and so on, the industry is moving toward project management apps like BuildTools, which gives you a central hub for each project so you can get to whatever you need within a matter of seconds.
What's The Next Step
Look into adopting a system that was designed by builders to handle the tasks real builders run into every day. The best way to do this is to schedule a demo, where you can get your questions answered one-on-one. This way you can determine if project management software is right for your company. Click here to schedule a demo time right now before moving on to your next task.
About the Author:
President, Stonewood, LLC - Custom Home Builder
As a 4th generation custom home builder with a software development background, Sven created BuildTools to help his company have a "connection point" for everyone in the building process.