Any construction and remodeling professionals who spend a significant time in the business will eventually encounter a difficult client. Such a client may be demanding and hard to please; he may make unreasonable demands; or he may simply be uninterested and unavailable. Here are some effective ways remodelers work with difficult clients.
- Define expectations early: Clearly establish expectations and outcomes for the job before work begins. If necessary, you could even incorporate these expectations as part of the written contract between you and the client. Make sure all requirements are clear and that the document is signed by both you and the client. It may even be a good idea to have the contract notarized to provide additional protection.
- Establish a contact point: Make it clear who will be the contact point between your company and the client. If your client is an individual homeowner, the contact point will be easy to identify. If you’re working with another company, however, make sure you and the company knows who will be responsible for communications between you.
- Document and communicate progress: Keep detailed records of progress on the remodeling project and. During regular meetings with the client, review this documentation, plus any notes and previous meeting minutes. Provide the customer with meeting notes via email and hardcopy. Ensure you have another representative of your company present at any meetings as a witness who can corroborate any statements made.
- Document any change requests: Change orders or any deviations from the agreed-upon project scope must be made in writing and signed by both you and the client. Changes must be well understood and documented before work begins on those elements of the project.
- Include “substantial completion” statement: Include a statement in the contract defining substantial completion. A project is substantially complete when it can be used for its specified purpose.
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