The Emotional Homeowner

Expanding a concrete business into residential decorative concrete opens a scary new area for many contractors: dealing with homeowners.

After spending years managing relationships with general contractors and builders, a homeowner presents an entirely different set of challenges. On the plus side, homeowners may not be as budget-driven. For many, getting that dream floor, driveway or patio is more important than arguing over dollars and cents. (There are certainly exceptions — those homeowners who will fight to the last nickel — but stick with me here.)

That’s because when it comes to their homes, people can be very emotional. And that’s where the negative part of dealing with homeowners comes in. For most people, their home is the most valuable thing they will ever own. Their homes are their sanctuary, their place to escape the stress of work and everyday life. So they want it to be perfect. When they’re having that dream house built, or finally having that big remodeling project done, it can become a very stressful time.

Many homeowners come into the process expecting you to try to rip them off. That’s no surprise, when you consider that the only time most contractors make the news is when they’ve done just that.

The biggest thing you can do as a contractor to ease those fears is be professional. Make sure you explain every step of the process and provide detailed estimates. Let them know what’s going to happen and how long it will take. Concrete’s a messy business, but make sure your crew cleans up after itself everyday. It’s not rocket science — just think about the way you’d want people to treat your home.

Marketing to homeowners can be a lucrative business. It just takes the right touch and the right attitude.

Correction: The HTC 800 Hydra grinder is produced by HTC. A product release in the December 2004 issue reported that VIC International produces the grinder. Concrete Concepts regrets the error.