Top three ways to keep homeowners on board

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(This article was originally published on Houzz.com and has been edited for content and style.)

The global home renovation market is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2027, according to Global Market Insights. Add in the facts that 56% of homeowners are planning to undertake at least one home project in 2022 and nearly nine in 10 are hiring pros to help (per Houzz research) and you’ve got a state of affairs positively brimming with potential for home pros.

Despite all that, some clients get cold feet and walk away from projects—causing not just lost revenues but wasted time and potentially bad feelings.

Here we’ll share the top three ways to keep that from happening to you:

Ease sticker shock

No homeowner wants billing surprises at the end of a project. But an estimate much higher than anticipated might send someone walking out before the project even starts. The sweet spot is found in providing accurate estimates while easing sticker shock.

Sticker shock for remodeling clients often happens when they simply don’t know what things cost nowadays. Provide an itemized list of costs for materials, labor, equipment, permits and more to show them where all those dollars are actually going and that you’re not just padding the price to line your pockets. Showing a bit of sympathy for today’s particularly high prices can’t hurt either.

You can also explain what drives costs up and down as well as what changes clients can make to fit their budget. Maybe they’d be just fine with marble-look tile and refinishing the cabinets instead of replacing them. Offering options shows you’re listening and willing to work with them, which in turn builds trust and makes them less likely to pull out at the first sign of a hurdle.

Be responsive

Two of the most common remodeling complaints homeowners tend to have about remodeling pros are “I couldn’t communicate with the workers” and “they wouldn’t call me back.” Service provider responsiveness was in fact the greatest challenge for 16% of renovating homeowners in the 2021 U.S. Houzz and Home Study. While you might have your reasons for keeping homeowners at arm’s length while projects are underway (such as wanting to actually get the work done instead of just talking about it), the key again is finding the sweet spot.

Consider scheduling regular meetings with your clients. This will give them the peace of mind that at predictable times, they will have your undivided attention and will get answers to their questions. You can also use software that has a client dashboard feature, such as Houzz Pro. It makes reaching you as easy as sending a text and you can respond from anywhere, anytime. This reassures clients as well as keeps all your communications in one central location for easy reference later on.

Plus, having communications, timelines, progress photos and daily logs easily available makes for happy customers.

Paint a realistic picture

Both customers and home pros share a fear of misunderstandings—especially when thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of labor are involved. Being upfront about potential issues is essential to managing expectations and keeping clients from quitting the project if those issues do arise.

Potential supply chain snafus might be at the top of the list right now. Material shortages, manufacturing delays and shipping delays are stretching out timelines and causing frustration everywhere you turn. Preparing clients for this from the start can keep them from bailing in the middle. And of course you’ll want to reassure them frequently that you’re doing everything possible to keep their project on track.

Another part of painting a realistic picture is helping clients visualize the design, as it can be hard for non-pros to translate blueprints, tear sheets and samples into a complete image. Software can be a huge help here. These tools can also help ensure that you and your client are on the same page, design-wise, to prevent any disappointments that might cause them to walk away.

Using the above strategies, you can certainly get more clients to the finish line. But you’ll also boost the chances of getting great reviews and regular referrals, which are at the heart of every successful design and building business.

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