Most remodeling contractors have a deep need to be liked. This leads to the typical remodeler not holding clients accountable. The outcome is the remodeler loses.
One of the most common scenarios is the client won’t make a payment that is due. This could happen anytime during the project, but it's quite common as the project is winding down.
What can be done to reduce the likelihood of this occurring?
Remodel Your Contract
Use every issue that comes up with clients as inspiration for adding a clause to your standard contract. The goal is to reduce the likelihood that the same issue(s) will recur. People being what they, are you will have to point out to your clients those clauses that are most important. Don’t assume they will read them!
Money Makes the World Go Round
If you don’t get paid by your client, then stop working on the project. I remember as a young contractor thinking “I can’t leave the job! If I just keep working things will work themselves out.”
Boy, was I naïve.
The only leverage you have is your company’s presence on the site. You must be in control to be successful when working with clients. If you keep working when the client isn’t paying you, who is in control: you or them?
Play to Win by the Rules
Lay out the rules of engagement carefully. Set expectations that you can exceed. Early in the relationship, talk about how the job should end. Be clear about your company’s responsibilities and those of the client.
- Discuss: What DONE means to you and what it means to them.
- What happens when the final payment is due.
- How you handle the punch list.
- How you deal with a final item that has a long lead time.
By anticipating these junctures and issues, you make it more likely you will get that final payment when you expect. You will not be left financing the job with your money and fighting the battle, often lost, to get what you have earned.
If you feel the need to be liked, make sure you invest in your relationships with your family. They deserve your attention.
Still need more love? Get a dog, not a dog of a client.