What to Expect When You Are Expecting to Renovate

3 Keys to creating a successful client relationship during a residential renovation project.


One of the most important skills that we as General Contractors utilize throughout a residential renovation is managing client expectations. Because this is an intangible skill and not something that we can pick up from a supplier or download to our phones, its importance is also often overlooked. Nurturing a successful Contractor/Client relationship from the initial introduction, through the final punch list, should be a fun and exciting team effort.

1. Provide Clear Background on Purpose

For example, let’s say a client is deciding whether to keep a line item in your proposal like construction cleaning and is negotiating for its removal in order to lower overall project costs. Look at this as an opportunity to present your case from a practical standpoint. “Construction cleaning will reduce the overall amount of reoccurring dust in a home before and after you move in”. If the client still wants to remove this line item, make it an exclusion before the proposal goes to contract or convert it into an add/alt as a reminder for down the road. Either way, you’ve now made your case as to why you think this is important, addressed the clients concerns and set the stage for a smoother finish for the project.

2. Know Your Timing – Plan Ahead!

This thinking can be applied to anything but, just like everything else in our industry, timing is everything. Take the installation of hardwood flooring. Advising a client to install humidification in their HVAC system because it will reduce the potential for movement during heating and cooling systems is a good idea for a number of reasons. You are lowering your chances for “call backs” after completion due to concerns over gapping in the floors and creating a situation for a better install.

3. Help Your Client Imagine the Space

Helping your client forecast what the finished product is going to look like depending on which decisions they make throughout the building process is an important role of a General Contractor. Using visual representations or grouping sample choices together in the actual space are a few ways to imagine a space pre-execution. Taping out the size or placement of potential furniture or walls/cabinetry can also help. Our ability to identify and consistently execute this part of the building process, could mean the difference between a happy client satisfied with a finished product to one with a never-ending “warranty” list.

At the end of the day, we are in a customer service industry. Guiding our clients through the building process by managing their expectations not only gives you the chance to maximize profits through efficiency but to keep your clients happy and more likely to refer you to their friends and family.

Article By:
Joe Stroll | Partner, DB Essentials

Check out DB Essentials on Instagram @dbessentials_CT for project pictures and visit www.essentialdb.com for your next home renovation project.