Use clear contract language. The contract needs to state when the punch list work is completed and when warranty work begins. Typically, the warranty kicks in when the signed punch list is complete. Items not on the signed list are warranty items, but they should still be handled as soon as possible.
Involve clients early. If you ask the client for feedback a few weeks before the end of the job, you can address many of their concerns before completion. Taking care of these items early builds trust with the homeowner. It also saves you from having to prepare and clean up the jobsite at a later time.
Put yourself in the client's shoes, as well as their bathtub. Many client concerns are details they see when they are using the room. Sit on the toilet, stand at the sink, sit in the kitchen and look under the cabinets, lie in the tub (take your shoes and tool belt off!). Try to view the walls and paint at different times of day. Fix problems before the client notices them and they'll never make it onto the punch list. --Tim Faller, Field Training Services, www.leadcarpenter.com.