Contractors, for the most part, have to work hard to overcome a relatively negative perception among home owners. And a lot of what I do is repair those perceptions for contracting companies in the marketplace. When people discuss home improvement contractors they commonly touch on their appearance, their vehicles and their language. But there are a couple of things you can do to make sure your company isn’t lumped in with all the others.
The one I find most important is phone etiquette. Whether you try to answer all your own calls or you have a receptionist, there should be a positive and competent feeling for people who call your business. Answering the phone within the first three rings is expected, but the ability to talk to a person in a meaningful way helps make a good first impression. Doing so keeps home owners from hanging up with you and calling your competition.
Secondly, being on time is a major issue for most busy home owners. People have jobs and personal lives that need care and feeding. The last thing they need is for their painter or electrician to show up a half-hour late every morning. Plan jobs and set appointments so that there’s always room to arrive at least 10 minutes early.
Finally, dress appropriately. This doesn’t mean a suit and tie. It means making sure all workers are wearing the same type of uniform or the same shirt and the type of pants. It means making sure you are not crawling around someone’s home with dirty work boots or stained or dirty clothing. Dressing appropriately lends a professional image to your business and removes one of the silent barriers the typical homeowner has to overcome when deciding whether to do business with you.
When employees show up wearing frayed t-shirts and jeans with holes in them the customer wonders who the hell it is they have hired to work on their homes. And no matter how good of a job you do, your ability to get referrals from this client just got that much harder! In the end, building a business is a major challenge; help yourself by caring for the small things, because the small things can add up to major dollars either won or lost!
2 responses to “Three Simple Ways to Improve Home Improvement Contractor Perception”
Very true regarding dress. I work as an inspector primarily for homes involved in construction defect litigation. I’m often surprised at the attire some folks wear to a person’s home when providing professional servies.
One point I think a lot of contractors and other professional service providers need to keep in mind from the homeowner’s perspective is the hourly rate. The average barista or “sandwich artist” makes minimum wage plus tips. For most contracting firms, even laborers are billed out at a rate several times minimum wage. The perception of a homeowner is often going to be “I’m paying this guy more per hour than I make, and he can’t even wear a clean shirt?”
If you take your service offerings seriously, make sure that your overall impression isn’t compromised by sloppy communication skills, punctuality problems or bad dress.
Keep up the good work, Darren!
First of all, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments. Half of sales is perception, and why lose points because your shirt is dirty? Just have another one in the truck, it is that easy.