The success of any remodeling project may hinge on how well the field crew communicates with clients. To minimize misunderstandings, make these practices and methods of communicating part of your routine.

  • Hold regularly scheduled jobsite meetings. This limits unnecessary interruptions, gives clients the opportunity to discuss the job, and helps the lead carpenter communicate important issues.
  • Bad news early is better than bad news late. As soon as the facts are in hand, tell the client: the job is running behind, they need to pay for a change order, etc. Do not run from it.
  • Listen to the words and watch the body language. Many of us get into trouble by focusing on the words a client says, but not how they say them. Even if they say, “This is turning into a beautiful project,” is there something bothering the client? When the tone and body language conflict with the words, ask questions for clarification.
  • The client does not know as much as you do. Before talking to a client, think about what they need to know — for example, they need to select paint colors weeks before the drywall is finished. Explain why you need to know their paint choices early.
  • Look the client in the eye. By speaking directly, you convey control, authority, and confidence. If the client feels these are lacking, life could become miserable for everyone. —Tim Faller, Field Training Services,