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Blog: Managing the Emotional Homeowner

A massive amount of home remodeling is taking place all over the country. Homeowners are getting jobs done! Contractors have so much work now that many of them have jobs booked late into the fall. While this is great for business, you can’t forget that you are not just selling a job. You are also selling an experience. It’s our duty to manage the jobs we have sold, but we must also manage and direct homeowner expectations.

Homeowners, before any major remodeling job, are scared. They are filled with fears:

•    some unwarranted
•    frequently emotional
•    and sometimes irrational

There are many reasons that they feel the way they do, but there are things you can do to manage this emotional time as you complete the work. If the family is still living in the house during a job, you will disrupt virtually every routine the family has. But there are some things a good remodeling contractor can do to help the homeowner through this very disruptive and invasive process:

1. It’s a process, not a product: Good remodelers understand they are not just selling a job—they are also selling a process. The best ones understand they must manage this process in addition to managing the job. Homeowners should be guided throughout the remodeling process. They need to trust that their contractor will always be there for them every step of the way, no matter what.

2. Create a paper trail: Do whatever you can to assist homeowners in understanding what is happening. You can’t document too much. Provide a simple schedule that you review each week. Host weekly or bi-weekly progress meetings to review outstanding project questions the client might have. Create a “homeowner notebook” to help them organize the paper trail that is a part of every job.

3. The four elements of trust: Homeowners desperately want to trust their remodeling contractor. If a contractor understands these four elements and practices them diligently, most major problems will be avoided. The four elements of trust are:

•    Consistency: Remodeling contractors need to set—and follow—consistent routines.
•    Honesty: Tell homeowners what’s going to happen each week and acknowledge mistakes.
•    Promise keeping: Contractors must keep their word. They must deliver on the promises they make.
•    Reassurance: Good remodeling contractors reassure homeowners on a regular basis. Homeowners want to know their contractor will be there for them every step of the way. 

4. Homeowners are emotional: Experienced contractors realize a major remodeling job is an emotional time for a homeowner. Good remodelers expect it. They gear their efforts toward reducing the homeowner’s fears and dealing with the inevitable issues. Emotional homeowners are not the exception—they are the rule. It comes with the territory. Manage this process consistently and exceed their expectations. You will never lack for work.

——

David Lupberger has been in the remodeling industry for more than 20 years and is author of “Managing the Emotional Homeowner,” “The Remodelers Turnkey Program,” and “The Home Asset Management Plan.” He can be reached at david@davidlupberger.com or 303.442.3702.

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