Many remodeling companies and custom home builders have a niche. Some companies love the big jobs. Some prefer more modest work.
The one thing that most companies don’t like to deal with are the service jobs, the tiny jobs, that good clients call with.
If you don’t want to deal with service jobs, then don’t do the meat-and-potato projects.
Your clients look to you and your company to provide them with solutions to their problems. The fact is you should be happy they feel that way about your company!
How to handle service work?
Do Everything Right the First Time
Run your projects using a system of checklists to reduce the likelihood of things going wrong after the projects are done. Good times to use a checklist include
- Just before concrete is poured.
- After the wall layout is done but before the walls are built.
- After the framing is done.
- After all the electric, plumbing, HVAC, etc. locations are marked.
- Slowing down and inspecting the work helps to prevent problems later.
Have a Job Completion Process
Ever heard of the never-ending punch list? In addition to being a pain in the butt for everyone, including your clients, this sets people on edge. Consequently, they are always looking a bit too closely at all aspects of the completed project.
This can be avoided by having a deliberate process for closing out a job. Before work starts, set the expectation with the client that you and they will work together on the job completion list. You and your employees will work to always have on your list anything the client brings up. That will produce growing confidence by the client that they hired the right company.
Walk the client through the project when all in the company think it is complete. Assure the client that you will be addressing any further work needed as warranty items. Consider checking in with them one month after the project is over, six months after, and finally a year after.
You want them calling you, not another contractor. Tell them that if the matter is your company’s responsibility the client will not pay for it. If it is not your company’s fault, then the client will pay for it.
Schedule Time to Do the Work
For most companies doing 20 to 25 jobs (each about 3 months) a year, a full-time employee handling service work is not needed. However, it is realistic to have one employee scheduled to deal with service work one day every two weeks.
If something comes up, then you have that employee ready to deal with it. If not, that employee can work on an ongoing project.
This employee needs to be a good problem solver and good at dealing with people. The wrong person in this position can drive the clients and/or your company nuts.
Getting Lots of Calls?
Set up a separate department if the calls from past clients keep coming. You will have to work with your company to decide which projects go to the full-line remodeling department and which are truly service projects.
Have a capable person run the department. This would include taking in the calls and scheduling the workers.
The more that this is systemized the easier it will be to make your company’s good past clients feel smart about continuing their relationship with you.
A wonderful sign of success with a business like yours is having clients want to continue to work with your company. Look at the calls for service as an honor, not a pain.
After all, who do you want them to call? Your competition?