When I was selling remodeling projects, I visited a lot of houses. I would walk in the front door having only a bit of information about what I was walking into. I was supposed to sell projects while protecting our company from "Those For Whom We Should Not Work."

With Halloween coming, here are some of the unexpected experiences I had going into homes I wished I hadn't.

Why Remodel?
I have noted on the lead intake sheet given to me by our Director of First Impressions that these folks have never remodeled before. This was always something that made me a bit edgy, as the first remodel a client experiences generally helps them have more realistic expectations for the second remodel, namely that most things don't go perfectly.

I ring the doorbell. The door opens. The house is like a museum that has not been visited in a long time. Very little natural light means it takes a while for me to see that I'm standing in a living room from about 40 years ago.

The couple is nice enough, but their idea of cost is about 40 years old, too.

They basically want to fix the house up enough to be able to sell it. Personal circumstances are making selling the house necessary.

I try to tell them we are not the right remodeler, that they need someone who works with real-estate professionals and can do just enough work to make the house saleable. But they apparently like me and don't want to talk with anyone else.

After going back and forth for some time, I managed to get the door open and promise to make a referral of two when I'm back in my office.

Wiping the sweat off my brow, I drive back to the office thinking of what new question(s) we need to add to our lead intake sheet!

What's Your Beef?
Being used to potential clients being slightly edgy on my initial meeting with them, I am not surprised that the husband is curt and not verbally communicative. But he sure can communicate with his body language—arms folded across his chest, a bit of a scowl accentuated with a deep furrow in his brow, and a "Show me" slouching pose.

The wife has been dealing with this since they got together but I have to think that at some point this man must have laughed at least once in his life. No evidence so far in this visit.

Hi wife is basically reassuring me he's a nice guy. He's out of ear shot, having gone back to his TV program.

I explain that a remodel and the related planning is always hard. And that it's even harder when a couple is not 100% committed to getting the project done.

She understands. She then tells me that she can't get anyone to work with them.

I feel my feet getting sucked into the floorboards, because the air is making me think that we can make anybody happy. Soon I will be signing a design agreement with her and regretting that I have done so for the next year until the project is done!

Fortunately, their bull mastiff starts barking, having been cooped up a bit too long. In the resulting racket, I make my departure, doing so as politely as possible.

Looking over my shoulder, I make it to my car. Time to come up with some new intake questions.

A Nice Couple, But...
A perfectly nice couple greets me when I come for my initial visit. We talk a bit about the work they are interested in having done. It's a fit for our company—a kitchen remodel, including remodeling the laundry room and a powder room.

I explain our process. They like it and we sign a design agreement.

Our process unfolds and the result is a plan and a scope of work, with a cost to do the project. I make the appointment to present the information to our potential clients.

Much to my surprise, there is a third person I will be presenting to. Someone I have never met or talked to before.

It is a close cousin who is a concrete contractor. The couple explains they want him there because he "understands plans and proposals better" than they do.

I struggle to keep my composure, having never anticipated this possibility occurring. Stumbling through the presentation, I fortunately convince them that we are not a fit for a client couple with a close cousin who is only focused on cost. And that they can keep the plans if they promise to never call our office again.

I stumble to the car, as I continue to ask myself how I could have anticipated this happening. Hundreds of visits with potential clients over the years and here was a first.

The good thing was, I got out of doing the job.

Halloween brings a lot of little kids in costumers to your door saying "Trick or Treat!" Be careful, you remodeling contractors, when you go visit your potential clients, and not just on Halloween.

Why? Because there are a lot of people out there, normal-looking people, who are ready to make your life very scary. They might just pull a "Trick" on you!