Reducing Client Hand Holding - Business - Contractor Talk

Reducing Client Hand Holding

 
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Old 02-19-2020, 04:53 PM   #1
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Reducing Client Hand Holding


I'm a remodel guy, baths, additions, etc. Almost all of my clients live in the jobsite during the work. I recently did a reframe bathroom/master suite and I found myself rushing out the door at 4:15 cause if the client got home early he would ask me a million questions.

It seems to happen every time I footing-to-finish, regardless of who drew it, the client wants to talk 20 minutes a day, whether it's about the plans, finish specs or punchlist crap. If I stick to a couple trades I never run into this. End of the day is the last time I want to talk.

A couple things I'm working on are Daily Reports, a punchlist template, and itemized progress report. I added some accountability checkboxes to my daily report such as "swept" "locked doors" "closed windows". And a "speed of progress" box in my itemized report.

I'm doing those things to inspire some confidence and reduce questions but I want to work on setting some sort of expectation during the signing phase about what is okay. I have a contract line allowing me to charge for additional time but it's awkward to enforce, and I don't explain line items. Period. I was wondering how you guys might set this expectation? I was thinking a brochure that also includes some basic information on the process and pictures of my work. Anything else during the project?

Last edited by Palmtree_Mike; 02-19-2020 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 02-19-2020, 05:02 PM   #2
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


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Originally Posted by Palmtree_Mike View Post
I'm a remodel guy, baths, additions, etc. Almost all of my clients live in the jobsite during the work. I recently did a reframe bathroom/master suite and I found myself rushing out the door at 4:15 cause if the client got home early he would ask me a million questions.

It seems to happen every time I footing-to-finish, regardless of who drew it, the client wants to talk 20 minutes a day, whether it's about the plans, finish specs or punchlist crap. If I stick to a couple trades I never run into this. End of the day is the last time I want to talk.

A couple things I'm working on are Daily Reports, a punchlist template, and itemized progress report. I added some accountability checkboxes to my daily report such as "swept" "locked doors" "closed windows". And a "speed of progress" box in my itemized report.

I'm doing those things to inspire some confidence and reduce questions but I want to work on setting some sort of expectation during the signing phase about what is okay. I have a contract line allowing me to charge for additional time but it's awkward to enforce, and I don't explain line items. Period. I was wondering how you guys might set this expectation? I was thinking a brochure that also includes some basic information on the process and pictures of my work. Anything else during the project?
Why not just add $50 per day to every estimate to cover these chat sessions?

When working on someone’s house it’s in their nature to want to talk to you. If they’re not hassling you about the quality of your work or the speed of your work why not give them a little face time?

I’ve had many employees that couldn’t talk and work at the same time. If that’s your predicament perhaps just telling them,”hey I can’t talk to you and work at the same time do you want to talk or should I get back to fixing your house” One awkward moment to prevent them all.

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Old 02-19-2020, 05:51 PM   #3
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


20 minutes a day is reasonable. Talk with them. Be the friendly face of your company. Predict and discuss their concerns before they bring them up.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:01 PM   #4
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I give my customers as much time as they need to talk about the job.
Chances are it's a big deal to them.
It's part of my job to answer their questions. It's just a small part of keeping them happy before they hand me final payment or brag about me to the neighbors.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I probably wouldn't be happy with 20 minutes of chitchat every single day during an extended job, but a certain amount of that goes with the territory. Heck, my dentist kills 5-10 minutes each visit with cordial non-tooth talk. Maybe not technically necessary, but a little PR goes a long way.

Time for that should be calculated into your job cost.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:59 PM   #6
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


If they are spending $50K+ with you on a project you can afford 20 minutes a day to keep them happy. That's not hand holding in my book. When they want you to come with them to look at samples and stuff like that is hand holding.
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Old 02-19-2020, 07:36 PM   #7
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I've had some clients for 30 years I'll give them all the time they want business or personal. If I can't afford 20 minutes a day than I should learn how to bid.

Don't know how you consider it hand holding, it's called communication.
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Old 02-19-2020, 07:47 PM   #8
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


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I probably wouldn't be happy with 20 minutes of chitchat every single day during an extended job, but a certain amount of that goes with the territory. Heck, my dentist kills 5-10 minutes each visit with cordial non-tooth talk. Maybe not technically necessary, but a little PR goes a long way.

Time for that should be calculated into your job cost.
Is that when you drop them off or pick them up?
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:12 PM   #9
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


yes they really just want the face time , they wanna feel comfortable with you in their house.my problem is when they work from home and they wanna jabber all day
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:14 PM   #10
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


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Originally Posted by Robie View Post
I give my customers as much time as they need to talk about the job.
Chances are it's a big deal to them.
It's part of my job to answer their questions. It's just a small part of keeping them happy before they hand me final payment or brag about me to the neighbors.
Those daily chat sessions, are what sells my next job. People want to refer you to their friends if they like you & feel like they were treated well.


My wife is currently healing from a broken hip. One of my clients, texted me yesterday & asked if she could bring us supper tonight. Yes, when she wanted to ask questions, I answered them, all of them & treated her like I want to be treated & it showed, because she wanted to do something nice & helpful for us in our time of need.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:21 PM   #11
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


Wear a watch and glance as necessary. (Makes sure it works.)

You have to run so you're prepped for tomorrow, right?

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Old 02-19-2020, 08:30 PM   #12
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


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Wear a watch and glance as necessary. (Makes sure it works.)

You have to run so you're prepped for tomorrow, right?
"I've either got to get going for the day or you have to tell me where to sit at the dinner table"

I've used variations of that many times when it's time to call it a day.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:53 PM   #13
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


Have a set amount of time for "socializing" and hand holding/briefings.

Always have an Exit strategy, Next appointment, bank, etc, Kidds..... A place to be in 15 minutes....

Submit a change order for over budget meetings that aren't necessary.

When the client realizes your Time is their $, the talk will drop way back to the essential.


send an E-mail with a list of the day's progress/ tasks performed, man hours spent on and for the job INCLUDING the briefings....

Extras are EXTRA!

Include ONLY weekly Progress meetings with a max time limit E.g. 30 minutes with out added charges, Keep track of hand holding etc.. when bid amount is nearly exhausted, inform the customer they are adding costs by meeting excessively with you.

Only speak to the customer for more then one sentence ONCE a Day preferably after working hours

Use the old "My insurance won't let you in the work area while We are working...." usually True anyway.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


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Is that when you drop them off or pick them up?
Both.
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Old 02-29-2020, 09:38 PM   #15
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I’ve found that the more informed you keep the customer, the fewer the questions especially when you tell them ahead of time. Keep your meeting short and sweet, here’s what we did, here’s what we’re doing next and I need a decision on fixtures on Friday. If not, I’m going to another job. When the bs and fishing stories start, that’s when you use your exit strategy. I’ve had some pretty chatty customers and it’s a PIA, but part of the job.


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Old Yesterday, 10:55 AM   #16
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I hate customers who as too many questions. Its extremely annoying.
What i would do if it gets out of hand is kindly tell him to just relax and let you worry about everything because he is paying you for that..
“ joe, i understand you have a lot of questions but thats why you are paying me. Let me worry about that. Everything is fine, this is a very routune, easy job and i have done many of these. Grab a beer and relax.”
Say it kind of tongue amd cheek but get the point across.
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Old Today, 07:17 AM   #17
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I often use the sentence, "You're paying us to worry about this, so you don't have to"

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Old Today, 08:02 AM   #18
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Re: Reducing Client Hand Holding


I don't mind talking with customer. Keep them along for the ride...for the most part it puts them at ease...gives me an opportunity to keep an eye on their temp..

Sometimes it makes for that pop up decision/ change order easier because it doesn't come out of nowhere and they can see where/ why...I can help them with their decision because I know them better and where they are at....

Some people don't want to know....

...and others.....you go in corona hiding for awhile.

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