What To Expect From Clients As A General Contractor

As a general contractor, you have a billion things you need to be thinking about every day – but what’s more important than growing your business?

The reality for general contractors is that most – if not all – of your jobs come via word of mouth, and the only way to conjure up some word-of-mouth traction within your community is by delivering on the expectations clients have for you.

At the end of the day, people just want their expectations fulfilled, but for construction clients, what are those expectations? And how do you go about making sure you deliver on them?

In this article, we’ll take a look at customer expectations for contractors – and how you can improve your reputation in your area with a few simple tips.

What Do Clients Expect From General Contractors?

The best way to understand what to expect from clients is what do clients expect from you? Getting in your customers’ heads is the easiest and most direct way to meet their needs – which is ultimately what’s going to leave them happy and satisfied with your service.

Here’s what clients expect from you and your team:

Detailed Planning and Execution: In news that will surprise absolutely no one, clients first and foremost expect their general contractors to have a comprehensive plan for their project. In a survey conducted by Construction Business Owner, 85% of clients stated that a well-defined project plan was a key factor in their selection of a general contractor. You’re the expert – and every expert needs a plan.

High-Quality Craftsmanship: Every project is a client’s baby, so they always expect the best possible craftsmanship delivered. According to a report by Builder Online, craftsmanship ranks as one of the top three considerations for homeowners when selecting a builder or contractor, solidifying this notion. Especially as you take on bigger jobs, the more the client will demand perfection on your builds.

Regular and Transparent Communication: As we said above, the project is the client’s baby – and they will be monitoring that baby 24/7. A study by eSUB revealed that 96% of clients consider regular and transparent communication as a critical factor in their overall satisfaction with a construction project. In the always-online world we live in, expect clients to be demanding constant updates. Sadly, we have no choice but to oblige.

Professionalism and Integrity: In the construction world, professionalism is often overlooked – but the client always notices. Customers expect you to maintain a clean and safe worksite, be organized and efficient, and always be honest and upfront about any issues that arise in the process. Honestly, if you’re not professional, you probably won’t become professional any time soon – so if you need this advice, all of these other pieces of wisdom are useless.

Problem-Solving Skills: Problem-solving skills aren’t just expected, they’re essential to surviving as a general contractor in any place in the world. After all, what is construction but a series of problems in need of solution? The data confirms clients care about your ability to roll with the punches – according to a report by ConstructConnect, 78% of clients value a contractor’s ability to provide innovative solutions to construction challenges.

How To Make Your Clients Love You As A Contractor

Now that we know what the client expects – how can we meet these expectations? And how can we go above and beyond to make them love our work (and therefore, recommend your services to others)?

Here are some ways you can immediately win customers over just with soft skills.

Embrace The Client’s Dreams

Clients often approach general contractors with a clear vision of what they want. This vision can range from detailed architectural plans to a simple sketch on a napkin. As a general contractor, it’s essential to understand and respect this vision, as it forms the foundation of the client’s expectations.

Even if you think it’s the dumbest or most infeasible idea in the world (to a limit, of course) – it’s up to you to not only understand this vision but to earnestly try to make it a reality, to the best of your abilities. You don’t have to agree with the vision or goals of the project. No, your job is to make it a reality.

Furthermore, it’s critical that you are emotionally conscious of the homeowners’ feelings in this process. As we’ve said before, construction projects are the baby of your client – they care about them more than most things in their lives, so they are emotionally attached to their success. If you care for it the way they do, they notice – and will hire you again because of it.

For instance, a client might approach you with a vision of a sustainable home, complete with solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system, and a green roof. This vision is not just about the physical structure they want to build. It’s also about their commitment to environmental sustainability and their dream of living in harmony with nature.

As a general contractor, you are not just building a structure; you are helping to bring a dream to life. This understanding can add a deeper layer of meaning to your work and can help you connect more deeply with your clients – which means more money in your pocket.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Then Communicate Some More!

As you can probably tell from the things clients expect, the one thing clients really value is good communication.

Clients have varying levels of knowledge about construction, and it’s always your job as a general contractor to bridge this gap. Regular updates, clear explanations, and open dialogues are all part of this communication process. In general, if you think it’s something your client would find important, share it. The best way to make a client feel comfortable is to not surprise them with any information.

Dealing With Challenges

In the world of construction, change is the only constant, and challenges are the only companion on this strange journey of floodplains and exhaust manifolds. The reality is there will always be some problem facing the project – and with that comes tension.

It’s crucial that when you face challenges, you maintain a calm, professional, and confident presence when dealing with problems with your client. Remember, they’re trusting you with the entirety of their project, so any energy you put out there radiates through the whole thing.

Stay calm and work with the client on solving the problems you are facing. There may be times when the client seems unreasonable, but at the end of the day, as long as the checks are clearing and you’re not doing anything unethical or dangerous, it’s not your place to make the final calls.

Trust: The Name Of The Game

What’s the one thing that every client looks for in a contractor? Trust.

They want someone who they believe in and think can execute on the vision they have for this project in their heads. They want someone that they know will respect their ideas, has the ability to get the job done, and can execute the idea on time and on budget. They want someone they can leave alone with their baby.

That’s what trust is – your client knows that when they hire you, they’ve got someone who can do the job, at a fair price.

If you’re a good contractor who can do the job properly and isn’t taking advantage of the client – congratulations! Your client probably trusts you.

If you don’t satisfy all of those criteria, well…there’s a reason the phone isn’t ringing. And it starts with you.

This entry was posted in Contractor Jobs, Tips on by .

About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.