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One of the chief concerns a homeowner has when they've hired a contractor is whether the contractor will do what they said they'll do. Clients are unaware of what is going on inside their contractor's head and can only see the tangible progress being made on their job. Setting expectations for scheduling is important in building customer trust. Saying you'll get to the jobsite whenever you can isn't good enough, consultant Michael Stone writes on Markup and Profit. It is important to set a schedule and keep the customer constantly informed.

To [set the schedule], write out what needs to happen on your jobs from start to finish. Gantt charts are a great way to plan your jobs, you can create it on paper or use a software program like Tom’s Planner.

When a schedule is in writing, it’s easier to stick to that schedule. Gantt Charts, when properly used, will keep you on schedule on well over 90% of the jobs you do. It takes discipline to build and use them for each job, but the return is much happier customers, more jobs done and on time with a higher profit margin and fewer distractions for the contractor.

I don’t suggest telling the homeowner you’ll be there sometime next week, or in the next few days. Be specific on when you’ll arrive and let them know if plans have to change. I definitely don’t suggest just showing up for work, unless you have permission from the owner to do so. Many homeowners aren’t comfortable having someone work at their home, even outside, without them present.

I could ramble on here for several pages but suffice is to say, check the job thoroughly before you start estimating, write a solid contract, build a detailed Gantt Chart, communicate clearly with your client, and make things happen.

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