Whether you have your own business or are an employed contractor, the saying ‘time is money’ is certainly true and identifying ways to save both time and money are key. Time lost on a job comes at a cost – whether it’s because of a knock-on delay, a defective product or a practical mistake, these issues can cost you and the customer valuable peace of mind and can at times cause damage to your hard-earned reputation.
If you’ve been working as a contractor for some time, it’s likely that you’re doing most things right. However, there may be occasions where things go wrong. Here are some of the most common issues that, if not dealt with correctly, can cost you time and money, and maybe even lead to unnecessary sleepless nights!
Face problems head on: There will be occasions when the job doesn’t proceed as planned and it falls short of the customer’s expectations. In such instances, it pays to deal with issues swiftly and work hard to find solutions. If customers can see that you have their best interests at heart, the chances are that they will end their dealings with you happy and with little recollection of the problem. By giving the problem the time and attention it deserves and by making it a top priority, it’s likely that the customer will remain loyal in the future and provide a sound referral.
Focus on quality: Winning new business can often be tough; meaning at times you may need to fill your diary with jobs that you have had to under-price in an attempt to get the job.
This, however, can be a mistake as you may have to compromise your usual standard of work. Working with products you know and trust the quality of will enable you to deliver high standards of work and will also save time when it comes to installation. When being asked to compromise on quality, it may be better to decline the job – saving yourself valuable time and money in the long run.
Address complaints: No one likes to deal with complaints, but it’s how you deal with them that really matters. Always act swiftly and give them the time and attention they deserve. In the new age of social media your reputation can be discredited by a disgruntled customer at the mere touch of a button, so it’s wise to quickly and actively respond to complaints. You never know, you may also gain valuable insight into your services in doing so. And remember to let your customer know that you appreciate their feedback.
Follow-up on quotes: A new roof can be a sizeable investment and some people may need time to make a decision. This is why it’s important to have a process that tracks all of your quotations and enables you to follow up in an organised and professional manner. Of course, it’s important not to hound the customer, but you don’t want your competitor to get there before you! It can be easy to ignore follow-ups when business is booming or you simply don’t have the time, however some customers may be prepared to wait for your services. Be sure to follow up your quotations until you know the customer’s final decision – even if it means waiting months. There may be valid reasons why the decision is delayed. If so, you need to be the one sending a reminder; by not doing so, you could be missing out on lucrative business.
Ask for referrals: Getting a simple quote or a letter of recommendation, or even a shout-out on social media, is a great way to show potential new customers that you can deliver exactly what you are saying you will.
Whenever you complete a job or follow up, explain to customers that your business is built on referrals and ask if they will recommend you. Sometimes it may be a while after you completed the job, so why not follow-up with a proposed inspection? Once you put a system in place to ensure you don’t miss out on referrals, the rewards will be well worth it.
New ideas are the lifeblood of all businesses: it’s important to be open to new ideas and investigate them thoroughly when they have the potential to improve your business. Take social media marketing for example. With over one billion active Facebook users alone, social media marketing can increase awareness of your business and drive visitors to your website. Even better still – it’s not pricey or time-consuming. Of course, it may sound daunting at first, however getting left behind could prove even scarier.
By constantly looking for ways to improve your customer dealings and focusing on these areas, you not only save time and money, but you can win more business too.