As a contractor, you will find work doing a lot of things, but many people are looking to remodel their homes. Whether they are looking into renovations in order to up the sell value of their home to put on the market or whether they simply want to make a house feel more like a home, they will want to go to a contractor who can manage and oversee all of the work that needs to be done.
As a small business owner, you don’t want to turn down a potential customer, but there are plenty of things that you need to consider before saying “yes” to a project.
Agreeing to an Unrealistic Budget
Most of the time, this means agreeing to a budget that will essentially turn into an over-budget issue. Everyone wants a deal and people love paying less than they have to, but it is important that you agree on a budget that meets your client’s needs, and then some. You don’t want to end up halfway through the renovation to find that the budget has already been spent, or that an emergency or unexpected issue has come up and swallowed some of the cash. When it comes to home renovations, it is important that you let your client know up-front exactly what their money can feasibly buy. There are ways to meet their expectations, but expect some compromises to be made. Also, make sure that there is some wiggle room in the agreement, too. You never know when something might require more money than expected.
Agreeing to Meet an Unrealistic Deadline
Renovating takes time. Some people may not realize just how much time is involved and have unrealistic expectations based on popular HGTV shows. Many of these programs are made to fit a specific narrative and may not be as realistic as they say they are. It is important to be honest with your client about how long their home remodeling will take. Once you have an idea of what they want done, you can provide them with a time estimate. When doing so, it helps to factor in time for potential delays or possible setbacks so your client does not get up in arms about the finishing date should something come up. Also, make sure that you keep your client updated about the estimated due date along with any progress reports.
Buying Cheap Materials
There are ways to meet a client’s cosmetic needs without breaking their budget, but it does not do to go too under budget. The reason why cheap materials are cheap is because they tend to be low-quality. They may look great once they are set in place and installed, but over time your client will realize just how flimsy the materials really are.
Not Checking (and Double Checking) Measurements
You and your workers may be eager to get started on the next leg of your project, but it is essential that you take the time to keep good track of your measurements. Cutting the wrong lengths or ordering ill-fitting pieces will not just cost you time but it will also cost you money.
Make sure to keep a notebook on hand clearly stating the measurements of your workspace. You should make sure to add any notations if necessary and to double-check before having anything cut or fitted.
Rushing Prep Work
Again, many mistakes can be made if you feel pressured to rush yourself. Even though you may want to finish early, and especially on time, it is much more worth it to take things slow and steady. Ignoring or rushing prep work can lead to incorrect measurements, poorly fitted appliances, and generally shoddy handiwork. This can make the work you have to do later much more difficult or even entirely unsuccessful.
Not Anticipating Delays
It is important to at least expect that something will take longer than you originally thought. This can be due to complications, miscommunication, an accident or a discovery about the house that alters the way you will have to approach a task. Anticipating delays and setbacks is important when formulating the project’s time estimate to your client, but it will also help you schedule every leg of the project accurately and adequately.
Forgetting About Safety Precautions
In the hustle of working, you may want to forego safety measures and precautions in favor of just getting the work done. Not only is this generally unwise, but you are putting yourself and your workers in danger. It is important that you adhere to safety rules and precautions for personal reasons as well as for business reasons. Foregoing safety measures puts your workers at risk, can potentially delay the project and can be really bad for your business.
Ignoring Necessary Updates
When remodeling a home, you will first take a tour of the home to be renovated. Your client will walk you through the areas in question, pointing out problems and areas of concern while also telling you about what they expect from the remodel. It is important that you make sure to look at the plumbing, fixtures and other aspects of the rooms that your client wants you to remodel as they may need to be updated. Your client may not realize exactly what is involved when it comes to updating the plumbing and the electrical, so it is important that you outline what this entails, how much it will cost, and how it factors into the remodeling project.
Not Considering Green Materials
In this day and age, many people want to be more environmentally friendly. When working on a project, ask your client if they wish to incorporate more green practices or appliances if they do not mention it to you first. Going green is not just great for the environment, but it can be great for the community and for your client’s future energy bills as well.
Overbuilding for the Neighborhood
Overbuilding may be more of a concern for your client, but if they are looking to resell it may be a point of interest that you should consider mentioning. Overbuilding for the neighborhood can be bad for your business as well, so it can be helpful to mention it regardless. Only do so, of course, if your client appears to be overbuilding or wants a design that contrasts greatly from the rest of the neighborhood or community where the home is situated.
Staying aware of things that can affect your contracting business and the way that your business is viewed by clients and potential clients alike can save you a lot of time and money. While you may be tempted to take shortcuts in order to get done quicker or make your client’s home appear nicer than it is, doing so will only harm your project and your business. Knowing what to expect before taking on a project will make it a lot easier and much more successful.