“The customer is always right” is an axiom that has been around for at least 100 years. The basic idea is that a business should more or less bend over backwards to do whatever the business needs to do to satisfy the customer.

I am not sure if that is the best way to succeed in business. Rather, I would suggest a business needs to make sure that it only works with customers who think the business is right.

What do I mean by that? One of the most dangerous aspects of being in a service business such as remodeling is the client selection process. Make a wrong decision at this juncture and your business can end up living with the awful results for months or even years. “How does Paul know?” you might be asking. Suffice it to say that several times in the life of our business I made absolutely dreadful decisions about who to have our company work for.

So the real deal is putting your company in the position of only working with people whom your company has a realistic chance of being regarded as the right choice for the term of the project and beyond. Those good folks are the ones for which the company must work hard satisfying the clear achievable goals that have been established BEFORE the contract was signed.

By being deliberate and thorough early in the relationship you have the ability to make it so both your company and your client will feel “right,” which is the outcome of a successful project.

Absent that rigor early in the relationship, you will likely have a fraction of a second of joy at having signed the contract followed by months of living hell. Remember, it is not just the customer’s choice about with whom to work, it is also your choice. Try and make it so your company is right (not at the expense of the client, by any means) more or less all the time.