With so many shady home improvement contractors across the United States a goal of becoming one of the best in your market is truly a realistic undertaking. Today there are many great opportunities for contractors who complete work professionally, as agreed, and to the satisfaction of the client. Established leaders in business and life are the ones who plan for and anticipate problems. This is certainly key characteristics of quality home improvement contractors. The best contracting businesses are run by leaders who figure out a proven and consistent way to organize and motivate others to perform tasks correctly as expected and on time.
The reputable contractors, the ones getting all the referrals, are the businesses which have figured out a process for getting the results done on time and on budget with a limited amount of hassles for the customer. What are the fundamental steps to take for you to be one of the best in your marketplace? While not list will detail all the steps required to be the best, most if not all the leading contractors have accomplished every item listed below.
What Makes a Professional Contractor?
The professionals in this business are the people who have invested the resources to obtain the proper licenses, insurance coverage, and have a grasp of the technical aspects of managing a diverse team of tradesmen and craftsmen to perform as defined in the work order. They have invested the required combination of capital and time needed to acquire the legal licensure to conduct business in addition to the proper protection from liability in the form of insurance.
The Best Contractors are Good Communicators:
Communication and effective teamwork are essential to establishing a good reputation in the home improvement business. Each project over a certain dollar threshold should be detailed in a professional document package which include the following items.
Written Agreements- Professionals establish written documents such as quotes and executed contracts which accurately detail the price and scope of work for the job. They also make sure all change orders are documented and agreed upon prior to implementing them.
- Defined Payment Schedule- This document establishes the financial expectation and allows for the contractor to fund the expenses of the job through progress payments.
- List of Items Needed to Complete work- This document demonstrates to the client that the contractor is a skilled communicator and is informing the customer what to expect during the process.
Good contractors also communicate verbally with their clients and are reachable by phone in a reasonable timeframe. Unreturned calls and unanswered questions inflict much damage to the clients perception of your professionalism. Poor communication is probably the area which creates the most problems in the home improvement business. If you want to be the best in your market learn to be a great communicator.
The Best Contractors are Knowledgeable About Current Trends:
In typical fashion for today things are changing very rapidly in the home improvement industry. New materials, designs, and techniques are coming to the market at an unprecedented pace. It is your job to keep up with important developments and changes in the industry. It is vital that you are knowledgeable and up to date on topics relating to energy tax credits, improved construction processes, and anything else which could benefit your clients by adding more value to the transaction. You should also have a team of trusted experts to consult with such as architects, draftsmen, decorators, and others. These advisors will act as your virtual team in dealing with issues and challenges which are sure to arise and the added expertise will ultimately reflect well on your company.
Knowledge and Expertise in Green Home Techniques and Accessible Home Design:
Two rapidly growing markets for home improvement projects are Green or energy efficient modifications and Accessible Home Design. Each are a separate topic in their own right but they both involve new processes and techniques which have seen dramatic improvements for the end user over the past 5-10 years. Green modifications involve any alteration to a home’s structure or systems for the purpose of increasing energy efficiency and waste reduction. Projects can be as diverse as installation of solar panels, reducing electricity consumption, or even rainwater recycling systems. We can expect to see a lot more building techniques and products coming to the mainstream market in the green segment in the coming years.
Accessible Home Design is the process of designing living areas in a home which specifically address increased functionality for an older occupants(senior citizen) or someone living with a disability which requires assistance with mobility. The aging baby boomer population has created somewhat of an explosion in the need for these types of home improvements and this trend is certain to continue for many years to come. Most projects involving accessibility enhancements are for bathroom modifications. Kitchen remodels which improve functionality such as lower cabinets, installation of Lazy Susans, installation of accessible appliances, are also some of the more popular kitchen requests. Other projects in this category include installation of wide door systems, elevators, lowered shelving in laundry rooms, etc…
The best contractors are ones who are good enough leaders to develop a team of experienced and caring tradesmen. These subcontractors consistently deliver a reliable and quality work product with limited problems for the client. The best contractors are also good communicators who establish a solid understanding of the tasks needed to complete, pay for, and the essential timing elements of the work product. Lastly the market leaders in the home improvement industry are experts in the current techniques and processes for delivering the highest quality of work product for the best value to the homeowner. If you aspire to be one of the better contractors in your market make sure you continue to learn about new develpoments and trends in your industry and deliver what the customer expects based on what is documented in your agreements and contracts. These recommendations are sure to give you a true running start against your competition.
Ryan Johnston has served many homeowners home improvement financing needs over the past 10 years. In his position as a commercial lender with a community bank in the southeast he was responsible for originating and overseeing the funding process of residential construction and home improvement loans. He has hands on experience dealing with the challenges and joys homeowners experience in the construction and home improvement process. To learn more about how to Avoid Home Remodeling Fraud follow his writing at SafePact.com