We would close out a project with a series of interactions culminating with a one-year-from-date-of-completion check-in typically by phone. After all, as the salesperson for our company I was usually “too busy” looking for new clients and projects to take the time to visit past clients with any regularity.
As part of preparing for our move from the Berkeley, Calif., to Ashland, Ore., we had the house we owned in Ashland remodeled. Our choice of contractor was a good one. The project went very well, even given that I knew way too much to be a good client and we were coming up to visit the job only once a month. Our contractor did a great job of listening to and working with me.
After the project was over and all the completion list work was done I continued to simply pay attention to a couple of things: what could have done even better or differently and items that needed some attention. I kept a list.
When I did not get a phone call from our contractor asking how things were, I called him. We had a meeting at our house and he gave us a ballpark idea of the costs involved to do the work. The work was scheduled and done and we paid him.
Guess what I started to do within a few weeks? I started a new list. Like many of our past clients and many of yours I simply want our home to stay in good shape and get better and better to live in over time. So I will always be keeping a list.
SCHEDULE IT: Consider putting into your calendar visits to your good past clients in January and February, when your workload might be light. Before each visit ask the client to prepare a list. Then walk the house with your client and ask them about items that you notice that might benefit from some attention.
If they do want a price and to schedule the work let them know that you will fit it in amongst your larger projects at a time that is mutually convenient for you and them.
What are the benefits of doing all the above? You get more work sooner than later. And your good past clients have a difficult time forgetting how much they appreciate you and your folks. That is called a win-win!
I will always think highly of our contractor. I simply wish he did the above instead of doing what I did with our past clients, which was to not contact them every year personally!
—Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. email@example.com