Question 5: What red flags will you never ignore again? Tim Burch, Burch Builders Group
I have been in this business all of my life, and have seen almost every type of client imaginable. At this point in my career, I can smell the bad clients on my initial visits. Each time we experience a tough client, I look back and realize that the warning signs were there from the very beginning. As we move forward into 2009, it is extremely important that contractors avoid the bad clients. With lead flows down, project numbers down, and the economy down, a bad client can do much greater damage to your company than they could a few years ago. It is important not to ignore your “bad client instinct.”
Craig Durosko, Sun Design Remodeling Specialists
Consumer confidence and the impact it has on spending and the economy.
Peter Feinmann, Feinmann Inc.
I think I saw the red flags but just wish I had acted sooner. I was watching a great decrease in billable hours for our design and production management staff in summer 2007. I waited until late fall to contract our staff. Dennis D. Gehman, Gehman Custom Remodeling
Slowdown in new leads.
Alex Iosa,Iosa Construction Corp.
We will never ignore the “red flags” of a client relationship going bad. Fortunately, most client relationships can be salvaged. However, when it comes to money, some relationships may not recover. When we see potential red flags, we start to document conversations and the construction process. We have found that this helps to remind clients with “convenient/forgetful” memories. The more we put in writing in the estimate and the construction agreement, the better the relationship that we have with our clients.
Paul Irwin, Pattern Builders
Toxic people. Run away from them. When I witnessed that husband putting his wife down in front of me, I didn't back out of the deal as my conscience was telling me. A few years later I found myself in a similar situation on a sales call and politely told the husband that I didn’t think I was a good fit for the project. In 25 years I’ve worked with and met a lot of great people and, of course, have done business with or worked for others that I shouldn’t have given the time of day. Life is short. I can’t afford to do projects with or for people that I don’t respect and enjoy serving. John Murphy, Murphy Bros. Designers & Remodelers
Less than two-months backlog (back in October).
Jane Regan, HB Building and Design
"We want the cheapest solution possible!" "Help us figure out how to change the architect's plans to cut the expenses." The customer is argumentative or disagreeable. The client rejects every idea you mention in your first one or two meetings. The client tries to get you to draw a design or keeps asking you to come back to meet with them and explain your ideas without making a commitment to use your services.
Alex Shekhtman, Elite Remodeling
I did not realize how large the problem is. I was blaming myself for not being able to close more business.