How to Win New, Repeat Business as a Contractor

In business, reputation is key, and that’s especially true for professional home improvement contractors.

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In business, reputation is key, and that’s especially true for professional home improvement contractors. In fact, a new survey conducted by Mosaic found that homeowners rank reputation as the most important factor when it comes to choosing a contractor. In the age of Yelp, Google reviews and social media, word of mouth about a company has never been easier to find. So, it’s more important than ever that your reputation is good.

Whether you’re replacing a faulty HVAC system during the hottest week of the year or taking care of some much-needed home renovations, contractors who effectively deliver on their customers’ needs can earn repeat business — and reap the benefits of five-star reviews and referrals to friends and neighbors.

It goes without saying that homeowners expect quality work. But there are several other ways  that contractors can go above and beyond to make your work — and your company — stand out from the competition.

Be Efficient and Stay on Schedule

While quality workmanship is essential, contractors who deliver high-quality work efficiently and on time are the ones who customers rehire. According to a Mosaic survey, 46% of homeowners rank “staying on schedule” at the top of their criteria for choosing a contractor.

The need to stay within budget has also become more important in light of increased inflation and supply chain disruptions. But don’t worry too much about what’s out of your control. The majority of homeowners surveyed (81%) who’ve experienced supply chain issues say they understand it’s not the contractor’s fault.

What you can control, however, is your approach to project management. Look for ways to make your business more efficient, and you’ll stand out from the pack. Whether it’s strong communication within your team or with your suppliers, right-sizing your company, or maintaining and upgrading your equipment, there are countless areas of your business that can be streamlined to create a more effective process.

Listen to Project Needs and Offer Solutions Accordingly

One of the most stressful outcomes for both homeowners and contractors is when project details are misunderstood. When what homeowners expect is not what they get, time, money, materials and reputation are all on the line. Even when these issues are not the contractor’s fault, the responsibility usually falls on them. Clear communication with your customers is absolutely essential. Forty-three percent of homeowners surveyed agree that clear communication, listening skills and the ability to offer the right solutions are top of mind when they’re evaluating contractors.

That doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own ideas to the table. Sometimes, the homeowner doesn’t know what they want or is looking for your input. In many cases, your best course is to offer a range of options to the homeowner and then talk out the benefits and drawbacks of each. Instead of just telling them what to do, it’s better to help them arrive at the decision that’s right for them.

Provide Financing Options

Whether it’s updating a kitchen, opting for a more energy-efficient HVAC system or repairing a roof, the cost of bigger projects can make some homeowners think twice about whether to go through with them. Alternatively, homeowners may just go for the contractor who can offer the most affordable way to finance these improvements. In fact, over a third of homeowners surveyed said having a monthly payment option is essential to being able to take on bigger projects, with 60% ranking it in their top three considerations.

There’s no way to avoid passing rising material costs on to your customers, but you can find ways to work with them to ease the sticker shock. There are a number of third-party financing companies that handle the whole process, from credit checks to payments, so you can concentrate on what you do best: selling and completing the work.

Offer Environmentally-friendly Options

As disruptive, erratic weather conditions increase, homeowners are looking to make their homes more resilient and sustainable. That might mean installing more energy-efficient windows, upgrading to a smart HVAC system, installing solar panels and battery storage systems, or choosing more eco-friendly materials. Everything from hemp insulation to bamboo floors are redefining what goes into building or renovating a house, and homeowners are increasingly seeking out these alternative materials. In fact, 60% of homeowners surveyed said it was important to them that contractors offer environmentally conscious options.

In addition to reducing environmental impact, homeowners are also looking for ways to save money, especially with inflation and rising energy costs. Investing in a more energy-efficient home can have long-term savings, while solar panels can lower electricity bills and be used to store power for backup during outages, as well as to charge electric vehicles — another booming market.

The demand for environmentally conscious options is only expected to increase. Green certifications are becoming commonplace and function as “organic” labels in product marketing. So, leading with your environmental credentials might just give your business a boost.

Ultimately, building a strong reputation as a contractor comes down to doing good work at a reasonable cost and in a timely fashion. While that might sound easy on paper, we all know that it can sometimes be harder to accomplish on each and every job. That’s why it’s important to go to the source: your customers. Listen to what they want — and do your best to give it to them — to win new and repeat business.