Be a Great Customer

I have covered ground in this space about common challenges in the home improvement industry. It seems every homeowner has a story about a bad experience, and some of those stories are extreme.

Today I would like to flip the script. Instead of tips for finding great service providers, I would like to discuss how you can be a great customer. You have an important role to play in the successful outcome of your project, and you need to take that role seriously.

All projects start with a discussion about needs and expectations; and the price for the work is based on the scope of the work. Some consumers get so focused on the potential cost of their project, and fitting their budget, that they want to have the cost discussion prior to nailing down the scope. Or, they want to negotiate the price down first, and then up-scope the project. Some take this behavior to an extreme, and then wonder why nobody returned to get started.

If you are reasonable, service providers will generally respond in kind. As you see your project coming together you might change your mind about something. The sooner you discuss this with the person doing the work, the easier it will be to change course. If the project needs to back up before moving forward, expect a change order. You can still get your requested change, but it will cost a bit more.

Projects run on schedules, and if you have committed to making choices or supplying any material for a project then you are also on the schedule. Customers have many choices in plumbing fixtures, lighting, tile and more. These choices are important, and can really make your project “pop”, but you cannot be at one last store checking out tile on the day the backsplash is to be installed.

The final inspection of the work is the beginning of the end of a project. Whatever is happening in your busy life, put it on pause for a moment and do a serious final inspection with your home improvement professional. If you notice something it is far simpler for the person that did the work to take action, then and there, than to pull off another job and come back another day. For you, this is also the fastest path to a resolution.

The consumer needs help or they would not have called out a service provider, and the service provider needs to clearly understand the consumers expectations before they can meet them. If both sides take their role seriously and work as a team, the experience will be far more enjoyable for all involved.