Our clients are in the upper income bracket and live on the north side of Indianapolis, where home values are $500,000 and higher. In January I received a call from a prospect who lives on the southeast side, where we have never done a project. Although our best jobs come from client or vendor referrals, this prospect found us on a Google search. He wanted a bathroom renovation and was impressed by the process outline on our website. I was impressed by his research.

When I pulled into the driveway, I thought, “This $150,000 ranch is not our target project.” The homeowner told me he’s single, his dad lives with him, and he needed an accessible bathroom. He never asked about budget. He also told me I was one of three remodelers bidding on the project. This was another negative — we do not like to bid jobs because our process is more detailed and our price is higher.

Though we were the highest bidder by $25,000, we got the job. My detail-oriented client asked another bidder if he was going to use plastic sheeting for property protection. The contractor’s response was, “If you supply it.”

That killed the deal. If that contractor had gotten to know the home­owner during the bidding process, he would have discovered that there was priceless art in the house. Since that bathroom renovation, we have installed art racks for his collection, painted the interior, and assisted with a room design. And the work requests keep coming.

Lesson learned: Don’t judge a prospect by his home. We found a long-term partner — and so did he.

Steve Gray is the owner of Steve Gray Renovations, in Indianapolis. Steve’s vision is to bring professionalism to the home renovation industry.