There’s no way around it: most clients will always have the cost as a main deciding factor. Obviously they also want the highest possible quality of service and experience, but when it comes down to it, the cost will influence their decision more than anything else. That presents a challenge for contractors.
On the one hand, there’s a lot you can do to show clients the value of your service – which in turn makes them more prone to the investment. Most people look at the value of money by measuring how much they think something is worth. If they don’t see why refinishing their floors is that important, for example, they’ll likely assume the cost isn’t worth it. As a contractor, you can bring a lot of information to the table and prove to homeowners that your service is, indeed, essential to them.
But on the other hand, no matter how hard you try, homeowners can sometimes simply give up on a project when they see the costs rising. There are also some steps you can take to make it easier on them, but as said before, there’s no way around it – the cost really matters.
With all that in mind, here are some tips to help you work with clients who are concerned about the cost. It’s important to be proactive with clients who show rising concerns early on, because they might give up on a project altogether and you wouldn’t want that.
Be as transparent as possible about costs
While being coy about costs might seem like an easy way to hook homeowners into bigger projects, not only is this a dirty strategy to begin with, but it can backfire later on. The homeowner might give up on the project entirely and (rightfully) badmouth you for this method, which will create a permanent stain on your reputation.
Clients will always have inquiries about the cost before any long-term commitments, so be as clear as possible from the start. If you feel they’re backing off because the cost is higher than they anticipated, you can still win them over by suggesting smaller scale projects, cheaper alternatives, or a project done in smaller steps. But you can only reach this point if you’re honest from the start.
Send detailed written estimates
The use of video calls and messaging via WhatsApp, Messenger and Telegram are very handy to stay in touch with clients, but estimates should be more formal. You should always have a template ready to type in your estimate and send it quickly with all the necessary details, because this ensures everyone is on the same page about the costs of a project.
It’s way too easy to throw some numbers around in messages, but the client might misunderstand or misinterpret what they mean. It’s better to get all the information first and send a detailed estimate to avoid any confusion.
By the time they read the estimate and come to you with doubts or concerns, you have a lot of information to either make a better fit for your client’s budget or to show the true value of your work.
Bring up costs often
Projects can change over the course of time. In some cases all you have to do is go in and replace a broken pipe – simple enough in theory for an experienced plumber – but if you work with interior design or bigger additions and remodels, a lot can change. Projects won’t be as cut and dry as “go in, do the thing, get paid.”
This is why it’s important to keep clients updated on costs regarding this kind of project. If a client changes their mind about one thing, that can already make a big difference in the final cost, which completely changes your original estimate. Keep track of these changes and be sure to bring them up regularly when talking to your clients.
This will make sure you’re both on the same page and there are no misunderstandings!
It’s a tightrope to walk through between bending and breaking, but on a contractor business flexibility pays off more often than not. You just have to be smart about it.
It’s hard to say exactly when to be more or less flexible, most would agree this is a feeling that comes from experience. Depending on the project and the client, you can afford to be more flexible with costs to ensure a sale, gain trust, win over a client… it can really work in your favor.
But don’t be too flexible
It’s very hard to say exactly in which situations it’s a bad idea to be flexible, but we can basically boil it down to: don’t do it if it means you’ll lose money or time. It’s one thing to take a slightly less profitable deal if you think it will bear fruit, but even then that’s a big risk.
Definitely try to be flexible with your clients as they will surely appreciate it, but at the same time, respect your own time, labor and expertise. If you see the only way you will make a deal is by paying to work… that’s not a good deal.
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