John Tabor of Tabor Design Build in Rockville, Md., is a client of mine. On a recent call we were talking about how to suss out the bad prospects and identify the good ones. Here are some of the characteristics John mentioned.

Negative Indicators:

  • Always late to a meeting. That means they don’t and won’t value your time and your process.
  • Previous remodels have gone bad. Can’t be that the contractors are the ones screwing up all the time.
  • Super detail-oriented. Working with someone who analyzes your contract and suggests rewrites never gets easy.
  • Takes a long time to make decisions. John suggested asking them how much research they did when they bought their car. You could learn a lot without going through a lot of grief.
  • How many houses they looked at before buying theirs. If the number gets up into the high 10’s, look out.
  • “Nobody will help us.” I wonder why and I don’t want to find out.

Positive Indicators:

  • They are professionals who work all the time. They will appreciate paying for your expertise and will not be around to get in the way.
  • People who have children and are super-busy raising them. They will keep their eye on their children and less so on the project, leaving you to get it done.
  • The spouses treat one another nicely. If they do, you can be fairly certain they will treat you decently, too.
  • They are not complainers. Instead they talk about things that went well and made them happy.

Great points, John.

What are the insights you use when vetting prospects? As I suggested to John, whatever they are put them in your notepad so you can see them when you are having your initial phone call or meeting with a prospect. You could even turn them into a checklist.

After all, you and your people need to weed out the problem folks before they become a part of your lives.