For local contractors, client trust means everything. No matter how big your service area is, your reputation is only as good as your last client review.
While effective advertising is a good way to build up a clientele, nothing beats a good referral. This could be from a past customer, or it could be from a company you work with.
The key to a good referral is trust. If your local community trusts you, it'll be easy to keep your business going. But in a service job like contracting, building trust might seem difficult. Sometimes getting the job done isn't always enough, and there are steps you can take to win a client's trust.
So if you're a local contractor, check out these tips for winning your client's trust.
Start with Your Marketing
In today's world, it's very hard to keep your business going without some kind of online presence or marketing. While your website doesn't need to be the latest and greatest, there are a few things that you need that will help.
The most important feature of a website is the contact information. You need to make sure that your company name, phone number, and e-mail are plainly displayed for everyone to see. A website isn't very helpful if your customer can't find out how to contact you.
Another thing your website should have is customer testimonials. Contact your old clients and ask them to provide you with a brief testimonial on Facebook, Google or Yelp about their experience with your company. Seeing how other people view you will help future clients make the decision to contact you.
The last thing your site should have are examples of your work. You can post pictures of your completed projects, plus any progress pictures you might have. This will give your future clients an idea of what to expect from you.
Manage Expectations as a Local Contractor
Speaking of what clients can expect from you, the best way to build trust is to manage expectations.
You want to do a great job on whatever contract comes your way, but you're not a wizard. Make sure that you're clear with your clients about what you can (and can't) do for them. The quickest way to break trust is to promise one thing and deliver something else.
Make sure you go over the fine print with your client. This way there's no confusion about what they can expect from you. This is an especially important point when it comes to pricing.
Be clear with your clients that unexpected things can and will happen. Assure them that this is part of the process. When the time comes, let them know what steps you can take to fix some of the issues.
As long as you're honest and upfront with your clients, they'll quickly learn to trust you.
Keep Your Clients Updated
Never keeping your clients guessing about what's going on is a surefire way to keep your clients happy when you're a local contractor in the Lakeland.
If things are going well, let them know. If things aren't going well, let them know immediately. Clients want to stay informed and be a part of the process.
Try to schedule a weekly phone call or catch-up meeting with them. No matter what happens, make sure that you're there for that appointment. Even if your client can't make it or they don't show up, they need to know that you're a person who can be trusted.
When you're updating your clients, explain everything as best as you can. Don't use jargon that goes over their heads. Keep it simple and informative. That way when someone asks them how the job is going, they have an answer ready to go. This kind of response tells their friends that you're reliable and can explain things well.
Make Sure You Work Well with Others
As a local contractor, it's important that you build a good team of reliable workers. It's your name on the line, not theirs, so you want to make sure you can trust them.
At the same time, your team should be able to trust you. When you say you'll do something for them, make sure that you do it. This way you'll gain a reputation as a reliable boss that people want to work with.
Another group of people you should build trust with are the other businesses that are related to yours. If you're working with companies like house painters, plumbers, and electricians, be professional and reliable. Some of your biggest referrals can come from other companies, so it's smart to stay on their good side.
Be a Part of Your Local Community
A sure way to build trust as a local contractor is to be an active member of your community. As a Co-op, we know that our communities are the foundation of our success (no pun intended) ;)
The smaller a community is, the more business you'll get based on trust and word of mouth. Make this work for you by doing what you're doing anyway: being an active member of the community and sharing the good things your doing in the Lakeland already.
If your kids are in school, get involved in their school activities. Participate in local charities and organizations. If you're a part of a religious organization, offer to help.
You might feel like you're not selling your business by doing these things, but you're wrong. As a local contractor, YOU are your business. The more involved you're are in the community, the more people will trust you.
But one thing to keep in mind while you're doing this. Your contracting business is what pays the bills. Don't get so involved with extracurricular activities that you neglect your business. If you do that, you'll be known as a nice guy, but not a good contractor.
Want More Resources?
If you're a local contractor in the Lakeland area and you're looking for great local resources, then visit us. We offer a number of different services to help you grow your business in Bonnyville, Cold Lake and surrounding areas.
Get connected with us, and let us help you continue building your trustworthy reputation by providing you with the tools, equipment, supplies and expertise you need to keep projects on time and on budget!