Worksheets That Work Right!
Let’s talk about how to turn a homeowner’s dream of a new room into a process that works well for contractors and their customers. Let’s face it: the home improvement process can be wrought with misunderstandings, missed budgets and missed schedules. Not to mention dust, disruption and some hard conversations along the way.
Every good contractor knows that the best project starts with a homeowner who knows what she wants, realizes what it can cost and understands how long it takes to do a job well. But how can any busy contractor take the time necessary to educate prospective clients?
Consider creating room-specific worksheets that you can email to inquiring homeowners before you meet. You may have to create a checklist for each room…but the reality is that you probably ask all these questions in your first meeting anyway. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to prepare these simple one-pagers and send them out ahead of any visit?
We’ll walk you through a Kitchen Worksheet to show you just how simple they can be…and still help you to determine if any given prospective project makes sense for your business.
Ask for the type of home (freestanding, condo, apartment), location and how long the owners have owned it. A new homeowner isn’t likely to know what problems may lurk behind the walls, so that can tip you off to just how likely unseen problems may be. Don’t forget to get their full name(s), email address(es) and phone number(s). Remember…cell phones are increasingly the best number you can have for clients as they facilitate quick answers and easy texts.
Age of the home
The older a home is, the greater the chance that you may discover problems that have to be resolved when opening walls or replacing floors.
Scope of work
There’s a big difference between a “fluffing project” where homeowners may just want to update their cabinet finishes and replace countertops and flooring, and a full renovation, where walls may come out and appliances and sinks are being moved or replaced. Homeowners may not realize, for example, how much money can be saved by maintaining plumbing and electrical in their existing locations. Ask them to describe what they want accomplished, and how important certain changes are to them.
Before you even begin, find out if homeowners have start and end dates in mind. You may discover that their expectations aren’t realistic, or that you are just too busy to get it done during their time frame.
Tastes and sensibilities
Don’t be shy about asking prospects how they’d characterize the quality of the materials in their homes. Are they hoping for luxurious finishes? Or are they looking for the best value for their money? For kitchens, a good way to do this is to ask them the brand of appliances they want in their kitchen – or if they aren’t replacing appliances, what brand they currently have.
What they’re dreaming about
Ask them to share any pictures they’ve saved of looks or elements they really like. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
How you set up your form has more to do with you than anything else. You can create a checklist or just ask them to write in their own answers. You don’t have to be a computer expert to get the information you need…and to show prospects your expertise, even before the project starts.