Earn More Repeat Clients With These Three Contractor Traits
It’s cheaper and easier to keep your clients than to earn new ones. However, it’s not always easy to earn repeat clients in the competitive construction industry.
If the procurement decision comes down to dollars and cents alone, you’ve got a problem. In race-to-the-bottom bidding procedures, nobody really wins. Bidders who bid too high may lose the work, while those who bid too low just to win the project may find it challenging to pull the project off successfully.
Luckily, there are other elements involved in winning a project. The experience you provide to your clients could go a long way to winning your work.
So what do owners want?
- Of course, they want a quality project—that’s a given.
- They also want the project done one time and on budget.
- Owners will remember contractors by how the project process made them feel.
When bids come in, owners look at past performance and price points. Demonstrated ability to get a project done well will make your company a strong candidate for future work.
Project performance includes the quality of the finished product, which includes your compliance record, site tidiness and flexibility through project changes.
When it comes to excelling on these metrics, you can’t leave anything up to chance. Digital construction solutions organize all the paperwork, documentation, safety forms, and change orders so that the tiny details that make up your project don’t fall through the cracks.
Having the information laid out in a digital system that’s available to anyone, anywhere, makes it easier to do good work the first time and can help avoid delays and rework down the line. Messages relating to the work need to be effective and well-organized for the same reason. They help project teams do better work because teams avoid miscommunication and confusion.
Information is power. Not only can it help your teams do good work on current projects, it can also be used in planning future projects. A full set of data on the work you’ve already done can highlight patterns—what worked, what didn’t work, which issues emerged out of the blue—so that you can be prepared when they come up again.
ON-TIME, ON-BUDGET WORK
Delays are a consistent part of construction work. Recent numbers show that 72% of construction projects are delayed, and the hold-ups increase the average duration of a project by more than a third.
When project teams lay out a budget and timeline for a project, they create a best-case scenario for how things will play out. But then, life happens. There are site complications. Material delays. Worker illnesses. Project changes.
These delays can be costly for owners and contractors alike. Owners can lose out on revenue the finished project will bring in. Contractors could be on the hook for more labor hours, equipment rental fees and possibly costly legal disputes.
So many of the “unforeseen circumstances” that cause delays could have actually been foreseen. By reviewing past project information, new technology can predict project outcomes.
Even without artificial intelligence and algorithms, project teams that have accurate, complete information about their past work can better estimate the time and budget they’ll need to do a project. That can lead to happier customers.
Doing better construction work is a win-win. Not only do owners get quality work on a reasonable timeline and budget, construction workers can avoid the endless costs that follow delays.
TRANSPARENCY AND CLIENT COMMUNICATION
When it’s done, the work will speak for itself. But your clients will remember how they felt while working with you almost as much as they admire the finished product.
- Did they feel frustrated at being unable to reach you?
- Did they feel left in the dark when they asked questions nobody could answer?
- Were they confident with the project’s progress at various stages?
Owners are putting a large investment into these projects, which can often last for months or even years. Diplomacy and regular communication can go a long way to delivering peace of mind.
Communication goes both ways. Listen carefully to ongoing concerns and provide as much information as the owner needs. The news you have to deliver won’t always be welcome—when the unexpected happens, and changes are necessary, you may have to work to reassure the owner that you can come through with a successful project.
Learning good communication and a certain amount of diplomacy can go a long way to earning repeat clients. Like in any other business, clients do more business with companies they like.
Repeat clients can make a huge difference in your bottom line and your reputation. Good client relationships can go a long way to earning your contracting business repeat clients. Your company should strive to deliver good work on-time, but it should also strive to be professional, efficient and diplomatic. These traits will help clients feel good about their experience with your firm, and clients will never forget how you made them feel.
Written by Zulqernain “Zulq” Malik – Founder, SmartBuild Construction Solutions