Do More To Get More Work

Improve customer relationships and gain a competitive edge with these 41 proactive ideas and tips

Improve your customer relationships to get more work.
Improve your customer relationships to get more work.

Do you stress about increasing sales while the available opportunities are shrinking and the competition is increasing? Most companies try to work harder in tough times. But the best they can do is hope to stay even if they continue to do the same things they’ve always done. The truly successful contractors and suppliers do things different than their competitors to get ahead. They provide more than the minimum per plans and specifications they are contracted to perform. They do more to get more. This gives them a competitive edge and gets them more signed contracts.

What can you do to improve your customer relationships and treat your customers better? Here is a list of things to consider:

  1. Be a friendly team player versus an enemy
  2. Provide competitive, fair and consistent pricing
  3. On-time, accurate and complete bids and proposals
  4. Educate an estimator about the options available
  5. On-time delivery of supplies and materials
  6. On-time submittals and shop drawings
  7. Know the business of contracting
  8. Be professional, look sharp and act first class
  9. Return your phone calls and emails within 30 minutes
  10. Have a regular time you can be reached every day
  11. Use email for every day correspondence
  12. Use digital cameras to send photos of job issues
  13. Do your own project clean-up every day
  14. Know construction contracts and do what they say
  15. Be well funded and have adequate working capital
  16. Charge the right price on change orders
  17. Always include proper backup on invoices
  18. Visit jobsites before you are called to start work
  19. Stay ahead of job schedules
  20. Never create down time for other’s crews
  21. Don’t bid jobs you can’t handle
  22. Never delay jobs with lack of manpower
  23. Do your own punch-list
  24. Provide responsible decision-making foreman
  25. Have a professional ongoing safety program
  26. Don’t over-bill and front-end load invoices
  27. Have the same salesperson/estimator who is friendly, positive, in a customer's office every week, quick, knowledgeable, not a pest, and anticipates needs
  28. Be someone who helps the customer sell      
  29. Bring the customer lots of leads
  30. Pick up plans and return them timely
  31. Suggest other subcontractors and suppliers
  32. Recommend architects, engineers, bankers, real estate agents, insurance and bonding agents
  33. Keep customers stocked with up-to-date product literature and samples
  34. Take customers golfing or to lunch
  35. Provide subscriptions to industry trade publications
  36. Invite customers to industry association meetings      
  37. Have a great website with product information, technical materials, engineering data, and up-to-date industry standards
  38. Invest in general contractors' development projects
  39. Bring the customer (or GC) joint venture and equity partners
  40. Tell the customer (or GC) what we can do to improve and make a profit
  41. Give the customer great front row Laker tickets! (Joking)

Providing the minimum at the lowest cost will continue to get you marginal low-profit work. To get the results you really want, you've got to do more. Consider implementing a few of these proactive ideas and get more than the minimum from your customers.

George Hedley is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of "Get Your Business to Work!" and "The Business Success Blueprint For Contractors" available at his online bookstore. He works with business owners to build profitable growing companies. E-mail: to request your free copy of "Winning Ways To Win More Work!" or sign up for his free monthly e-newsletter. To hire George to speak, be part of his ongoing BIZCOACH program or join one of his ongoing Roundtable Peer Groups, call 800-851-8553 or visit