When Nate Bahm started his business in 2009, he quickly realized the biggest hurdle he had to overcome was the experience customers had with other contractors. So he immediately set out to differentiate himself with a 9-point promise that focuses on the customer experience, and a three-year warranty on all work.
“I decided that we were going to change the public’s perception of contractors, if not in general, at least in our little corner of the world,” he writes on his website.
As part of that change, Bahm makes sure his crews—all full-time employees—focus on one job at a time. “We found that’s a real big key because it makes the process so much more efficient and gets us in and out of their house as soon as possible,” he says.
He says many customer complaints about contractors just come down to poor scheduling. “They’ll start on something and then something else comes up and they’ll start on that,” he says. “My crews are there from day one to the end of the project. They’re not hopping around.”
-- Bahm uses 3D design software called Chief Architect to show clients what their renovation will look like. Once the job is sold, that same rendering goes to the production team so everyone is on the same page. “The client knows exactly what they’re getting before we even start swinging hammers,” he says.
-- When a new job starts, Bahm doesn’t limit his marketing to just the renovation client. All neighbors within the area get a postcard from Bahm explaining what’s happening, why his crews are there and a phone number to call if they have any problems. As the job progresses the postcards give updates until the project is finished, at which point they’re invited over to see it. “Most people are pretty nosy,” he says. “They want to know what we’re doing over there.”
-- Bahm is big on developing strategic partners. He’s currently developing a new one with a cabinet and counter top maker for a “one stop shop.” And he’s found success sending letters to interior designers. “We’ve landed a couple good size projects from it,” he says.
-- Using CRM software, Bahm stays in touch with customers via email for four years after a project is completed. The messages encourage customers to call if they have problems—and recommend the company to friends and neighbors. “We’ve gotten good response from clients who are just happy to hear from us,” he says. “Most people, you finish a job and that’s the last they hear from you.”