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How do you guys deal with customers that want you to call them when you aren't busy?

I just had my second customer tell me this and now I am wondering if I should handle it differently than I have so far.

Basically at the end of a job for a new customer they have told me that they want some more work done. For example I did a small remodel on a customers master bathroom and while I was there he showed me an unfinished area of his basement that he would like a new bathroom built in. At the end of the job I was doing he said for me to call him in a few months or whenever I wanted or basically when I wasn't busy and sit down with him and talk about doing the new bathroom. Sounds great at the time and I filed it away thinking great, if I get slow I have this job to fill in the time with, however now I am wondering if there will ever be another time when I am slow or if things will probably just keep going as they are or get even busier.

Now I am getting to feeling a bit guilty because a lot of time has passed and I am booked out 6-8 weeks still and I am remembering that this customer wants me to call him some time about doing his additional bathroom. If I call him now I'm just adding more work on top of work, and if I wait another month I will still be 6-8 weeks out.

Plus I don't even know if the customer still would want me to do the work, who knows if he has the money now or what may have changed.

It seems that allowing yourself to be the guy who calls the customer back for more work is a catch 22.

Perhaps I would be better off telling them that it would be better if they contact me when they are ready to have it done instead of relying on me calling them when I am ready?

Anybody else running into this and how do you handle it?
 

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Here is what it sounds like to me Mike. He thinks you do excellent work not in any rush about that basement. So was just telling you if things slow down give him a call. Might just want to call him and let him know you haven't forgot about him and if he still wants that basement done then when things slow down you definately would like to help him out. But your not sure when that would be.
 

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Honestly, I look them in the eye and say "Ms. or Mr. Homeowner, we are never slow. If you are serious about getting this done, you should try to pick a date now to put on our schedule, or it will never get done."
It forces the $hit or get of the pot issue.
Perhaps I would be better off telling them that it would be better if they contact me when they are ready to have it done instead of relying on me calling them when I am ready?
This is your best bet. I get a lot of people saying so-n-so wants XX done, call them. Bull. If they really want it done, then have them call me. Most of those people are just toying with the idea. If they can't even call me about it, do you really think its going to happen? Plus, when they call me, the call gets logged properly, and they get in the 'system'. Makes it easier for the paper trail.
 

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Mike Finley said:
Basically at the end of a job for a new customer they have told me that they want some more work done...he said for me to call him in a few months or whenever I wanted or basically when I wasn't busy and sit down with him
I hear "I might want to do something if I can do it at a bargain basement price ".

I say try and get them to pay you to do a "budget" estimate now (this'll really seperate the wheat from the chaffe) with the stipulation that the estimate fee will be credited towards the work should they move forward within a certain number of days or weeks. You could even offer a guarantee that the "build" estimate won't vary more than x% if the work is started by a certain date.
 

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I tell them that I'll give them a call IF things slow down, but if they get anxious to feel free to give me a reminder, then you can drop it off the priority 'things to do' list, which doesn't need them on it, and when they call back you can enter them into the system as a pretty sure thing and book them for an estimate or whatever. Doing this stuff is trying enough without having to figure out when someone else wants something done. Rich.
 

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Let's not forget that customers can be the best lead makers.
This guy obviously likes your work, and wants more done and the future possibilities can be endless. Not to mention his friends and family. It's people like this that can make your business grow more and more.

There are some times I will make appointments when my store is closed for certain customers. It's private consultation time. It bleeds just a bit into the family life, but rarely happens. But when it does happen, those customers KNOW I am taking specific time out of my normal schedule to get them taken care of.
Who else would do that? not many.

If I am booked out a ways for install, I will be honest with them, and because of the special treatment, they believe and understand every word of it and are willing to wait.

So, to make a long story short:

Schedule private time when you can to consult, and then ask for the sale and make a realistic date no matter when it will be.

This guy sounds like a valuable asset, and he for sure likes ya.

cha-ching- no arguing, no problems, and tons of referrals.
 

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At first I thought that was a satisfied customer just telling you they'll be back
Just like you tell the waitress or shopkeeper "Loved your stuff, we'll be back"
I would just say "...yes, thank you, I will" and not think anything would come of it
But I would write it down and call them in a month or two, three if I thought that was appropriate, a week or two if that's what I sensed from them
I wouldn't say hey I'm not busy now, I'd say I'm just checking in with you about that XXXX, I remembered you mentioned it...
Sometimes it would be "Yeah well, when your not busy like when it's raining or something (=call back next month)
Sometimes it would be "Oh yeah...when can you do it" "Next week" "OK"
I don't think the "not busy" thing is really it
I found that alot of them just wanted a reminder (they've been putting it off for a while now, what's another month) or a breather (they just paid you a chunk of money, they want a few months before spending some more)
I think it also can be a test by them to find out if you do care about them as a long term commitment
Though when I do get slow I'll run through the whole list and it's saved my butt a few times
Almost all have had more work for me (it may be all-I can't think of any that haven't....there must be a few but....)

I follow up on every one w/o fail
I actually enter it into my customer manager software and have it pop-up as a reminder when to call them back

I've started starting a good size job (for me) this week that I've been "reminding" since last fall every month or two (I did alot of work for her last summer)
"Oh yes, I'm going away for a month, here's the key, and can you also do that and also these other rooms while I'm gone? Send me bills to this address if you want some money before I get back"
I'm not slow and it's not raining, but it's working out just fine
:)
 

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I'm never 'not busy'. Put them on the schedule and do it.
Everybody seems to think that they might catch a price break when you're not busy. I may have some slowdowns, but I'm always 'busy'.
 

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Teetorbilt said:
I'm never 'not busy'. Put them on the schedule and do it.
Everybody seems to think that they might catch a price break when you're not busy. I may have some slowdowns, but I'm always 'busy'.
Exactly,plus you should never give a customer an impression you are not busy. They interpret it as maybe you are hungry and they can get a price break or have more control over the price. You can see a different side of a customer if you give them the chance!
 
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