The sales professionals of Weidmann Remodeling look for five potential red flags when they first visit a prospect at home. If they observe two or more, the client is likely to be difficult and the job should be politely declined, says Bill Weidmann, chair and vice president of the Roswell, Ga., design/build company:

  • Not offering a drink. More than any other gesture, the simple act of offering a beverage suggests the prospects will treat you as a guest in their home, Weidmann says. Failing to do so could suggest a lack of respect that will probably worsen as the project progresses.
  • Making you wait while they talk on the phone, eat, get the kids off to school, or do anything else is another sign that they don't respect you or your time.
  • Disrespect for each other. Often, if the couple picks at, ignores, dominates, or undermines one another, “the contractor doesn't have a chance,” Weidmann says.
  • Obnoxious kids. It's an indicator of bad client behavior if the kids are rude and/or extremely demanding. “If the parents cave in, they don't have a strong will.”
  • Indecisiveness. This red flag isn't always evident at the initial meeting, but watch out if they say they've been thinking about the project for five years, or they're on their third architect. “My best clients are decisive and know what they want,” Weidmann says. Sometimes a salesperson will overlook a red flag or two for the sake of meeting his goals for the month. Usually when this happens, Weidmann notes, “we have all the issues we expected.”