An article I wrote was just published in the September edition of the Rhode Island Small Business Journal print and online versions (www.RISBJ.com). In it, I describe the most important action that contractors can take to have satisfied customers.
I have found with the research I have done as a small business consultant that having a contractor do the work when he said is what customers most want. Customers don’t want their lives disrupted any more than necessary for a renovation and delays kill customer satisfaction. So what is it that allows contractors to complete projects on time? It really comes down to estimating and scheduling.
I am sure that all contractors try to break down the required tasks and then estimate them accordingly. Where many contractors fall short is in gathering information during a job and then putting it together at the end. The most important thing to do is effectively use this information in perfecting their estimating process.
This is the point where most small contractors really drop the ball. They just have lots of challenges in sequencing, resourcing, and identifying dependencies, if they do it at all. The hardest thing of all is to build in just the right amount of flexibility for potential delays caused by other trades working on the same job. Without a good schedule that contains all of your existing committed jobs, how can you tell the next prospective customer when you can deliver? You can’t. If you do, you are setting yourself up to give your customer a bad customer experience.
As a small business consultant, I can tell you that estimating and scheduling along with solid project management, optimizing workflows and providing a great customer experience are critically important.
So for those contractors that are able to deliver their services when they said they would, they will have given themselves the best chance to satisfy their customers. Happy customers mean free word of mouth advertising. This reduces the money you will have to spend on marketing in general and the execution of your marketing plan in particular.
See the full article on page 13 of the September issue at: