I regularly speak with remodeling contractors and ask them what they do during the warranty period once a project has been completed. Most tell me that they have a full-service warranty starting with one year, and some will cover workmanship for up to 5 years. They want to back up the work that they do.
When I ask how many actually contact past clients during the 1-year warranty period, the answer is usually the same – they don’t. If there are any issues with the work, they want the client to contact them, but none actively contact past clients to check in. Most complain of being too busy to call, but I got a very candid response from a contractor who summed up the issue well. He doesn’t call past clients because he’s moved onto the next sale. He doesn’t want to uncover small maintenance items that the homeowner might want assistance with. His commissions and future income rest on the sale of the next remodeling job, not working with past clients repairing a completed, and paid for, project.
Everyone wants to move onto the next project. What we tend to forget is, unless we remodeled the entire home, the rest of that client’s home is now a candidate for additional work. We have made the hardest sale – the first one.
You can build on that relationship! How? Create a formal warranty follow-up program where you let potential clients know during the sales process that you will return at 90 days and again at 11 months to review all the work that was done. Two follow-up visits should be enough for any warranty period.
A proactive warranty program creates opportunities to meet with past clients to not only review past work, but to begin identifying future work. A warranty “house-call” allows you to visit with past customers to talk with them about their homes. This is the best marketing you can do! You are invited back to talk about their house and any additional projects that they may want to do.
When it’s time for your follow-up warranty visit, send a simple e-mail to let your client know:
“I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to remind you about our warranty program. Your 90-day, (or 11 month) warranty visit is coming up. We would like to send someone to test the smoke alarms, do minor paint touch-ups, touch-up the caulk and grout, and overall make sure everything is OK. Please let me know what times next week work for you and we will make it happen”.
With this simple follow-up, you are invited back into your client’s home to not only review the work you completed, but to re-engage your clients. You are there to assist them and there may well be some simple maintenance or repair work that needs doing. Do this with a smiling face because done correctly, small jobs will open the door for the bigger projects that will follow. These are the repeat clients that you are looking for.
Here is a simple tagline – “after every project, our relationship is just beginning”. Manage these relationships – the work will follow.
David Lupberger is author of the book, "Managing the Emotional Homeowner." To receive your free copy, contact David at David@RemodelForce.com.
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