Driveway Contractor's Tips for How to Work with Homeowners

After years of working for general contractors who focused on volume and speed, Valley Blacktopping had to reconsider how it works with customers when it decided to pursue the residential paving market.

“Quite simply, we had to improve our service,” says Valley Blacktopping’s Ryan Johnson. “Working for homeowners is more difficult because they require more hand-holding. The homeowner is definitely a little more finicky than when doing new construction. When people are going to spend their money, especially on a big job, they want to be taken care of so we try to make sure everyone working with us has a great experience.”

Johnson says Valley Blacktopping’s sales efforts are straightforward from the start. “We know that if we treat them right and if they trust us that even if we don’t sell them right away we have a chance to sell them in the future.”

He says that once Valley Blacktopping has a chance to bid a job and talk with a homeowner, nine out of 10 times they’ll get the job if the homeowner is going to do the work.

“We tell the homeowners that we approach every job as if it’s on our own home, and that’s the truth,” Johnson says.

He says that the biggest issue when working with homeowners is the number of variables to take into account – most of which are not a concern to a general contractor building a new (and empty) house. The lawn, garden, siding or brick, and weather all come into play when working on a person’s home.

“Some things just take longer than you think they will, and weather causes delays which results in changes in a schedule that a homeowner hasn’t prepared for. So the biggest thing with residential work is keeping communication going and keeping in touch with them.

“Homeowners can be finicky, but we have a knack for dealing with that and for working with them. We’re good at it,” Johnson says. “People are really appreciative when we put in a nice new driveway and we get a lot of satisfaction out of that.”