As a contractor, your time is valuable. Before taking on a new project, getting to know and understand your client’s goals is essential.

Miscommunication and misunderstandings can ruin your relationship with the client and cause a very unpleasant experience for everyone.

If you find that you have had quite a few difficult clients, the problem may be that expectations on both sides were not defined. In order to set everyone up for success, these are some questions you should ask your client before a project begins to avoid any issues.

What Is Your Budget?

When you’re in the early planning stages of a project, you need to get the budget nailed down. Sure, discussing money may feel awkward, but failing to have this talk can lead to disappointment when your client realizes their dream project costs more than they can afford.

While you’re talking money, you should ask how they are paying. As you know, home construction projects can be very expensive.

Many clients may be paying through a home equity line of credit or taking out a 203k loan to cover the remodel. Others may be borrowing money from family or taking money out of a savings account. You want to make sure that they will be able to pay you in a timely manner and that they will be able to cover any unexpected costs that come up.

What Are Your Expectations from Your Builder?

This may sound like a simple question, but it is one that will build a solid foundation. You and your client may have two completely different ideas of your role. Your client may want weekly check-ins where they get a detailed report of the progress being made, but your procedure is to only check in after completing certain milestones.

Maybe they have a strange schedule and don’t want workers coming in during certain hours, but those hours are when you plan to do work. Learning this early on will ensure everyone is happy.

Do You Have Any Time Constraints?

There is nothing worse than getting started on a 16-week project only to find out that your client needs the project done in 12. If there is no way you can complete a project within the time they need it, that needs to be discussed upfront before entering into an agreement.

Ensuring that the project will not pose any issues with their plans is imperative to a successful project and a client who will offer good reviews and referrals.

Have You Ever Done a Home Remodel or Similar Project Before?

It’s easy to assume that everyone knows exactly how a remodel works. However, that is not the case. If this project is your client’s first remodel, you will need to give them a detailed breakdown of what they should expect.

If your client has had work done, you’ll want to talk about their experience. Chances are, it wasn’t great since they chose not to go with their previous contractor. Talking about their bad experience could help you position yourself for a successful project by knowing what to avoid and how to make them happy.

Do You Know Anyone Else Who Is Hoping to Remodel Their Home?

Many contractors wait until after a project is complete to ask for referrals, but it doesn’t hurt to ask during your initial consultation.

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