I think we have all been in a position where we had a project or even several projects in and around our home. Now maybe these were projects we could easily do ourselves, perhaps even more so they were projects we wanted to do but didn't know how or didn't have the time to do them.
Something I myself struggle with almost on a daily basis is the justification of how much it would cost me. Not only the monetary cost but also the time it would cost me; the reality in our world is that these are pretty much the same thing. I'm sure we have all heard the adage "Time is money" or conversely "Money is Time".
It goes without saying, if a product or service is fairly priced it's going to attract more customers. Does this mean that a high priced service is bad? Or, that a low priced service is good? No not necessarily, it just means that quality of service is often overlooked and underlooked based on pricing.
I have noticed two major things in this industry when it comes to service companies, independent service individuals and how they're perceived by homeowners. It tends to be that service companies(business structured entities) are often seen as being of "higher quality services" thus, justifying the prices they charge(even if homeowners aren't aware of how that price point came to be).
More often then not, those higher priced services deliver sub par work. That's either because they sold a job they didn't know how to do i.e. they put the wrong employee on the job with no guidance; or because they over priced a job, completing it in a faster time frame than the homeowner thought the job price warranted and then refused to reduce the bill even though the hours actually worked were nowhere near the cost of the job.
While on the other hand you have the independent services(those working for themselves, whether legitimately or not) are seen as being of "lower quality services" thus, demanding that their pricing far under evaluates the efforts needed to properly complete a job.
This often leads to unfinished work, or improperly completed work; leaving homeowners with a distrusted outlook towards handymen in general.
This is not to say that all self-employed individuals have a poor quality service with a low price, in fact I know of and employee multiple individuals whom were previously self-employed; that have a great quality service to provide, they're just tired of fighting to be the diamond found in the ruff.
Customer Relations and Communication.
I have said this time and time again, Communication is key. It's not just the aspect of speaking though, good communication involves both listening skills and speaking skills. A business, or a self-employed individual needs to always have the customer in the forefront of their minds. Listening to the needs and wants of a homeowner, asking them questions whether redundant or vital will go a long way in helping secure a long and lasting customer relationship.
What I have noticed with company based services is perhaps the person who is on the other end of the office phone, perhaps the salesman(if that's how they're structured) and maybe a golden employee or two are the only one(s) who have the ability to communicate with you as a customer that's worth keeping. Usually, once a job is sold the employee showing up to do the actual work has a very limited understanding of what your project entails and has even less understanding of what it takes to properly communicate vital information. For instance, telling you that they're leaving to get some materials or just plain leaving for the day and when they'll be back. Or more over, informing you of an issue and or asking/offering an alternative means to achieve the goal you hired them to do.
In the Customer Service Industry there's a saying that some like and most are sick of hearing, "The customer is always right". What that basically means is don't argue with customer, we want their money.
In this industry, the customer is right if they're disputing an issue with your service. However, as a home repair specialist they have to be able to politely suggest alternatives to a problem or an upgrade idea you the homeowner may have. Sometimes you may not know what it takes to solve a particular problem, you may not understand the cost behind it or even why it just simply can't be done. This is where communication abilities come into play because the easier they can communicate these concerns with you; the sooner they can help solve your problem, ultimately resulting in the sale of services and perhaps forming a new long term customer.
Knowing when to say No.
In a market where getting a lead and then converting that lead into a paying job can cost just as much as a tank of gas, there are many companies and self-employed individuals who "pull the trigger" a little too fast just to get the job.
Whether it's a small job, or a big job; if they don't have the experience, the licenses, the tools or the man power to properly complete the task then they need to turn the job down and/or suggest an alternative company who has the ability to assist you safely with your needs.
This ties into the Communication and Pricing talking points. A good handyman cannot oversell his abilities and keep customers happy, meaning he has to be upfront and honest with current and potential customers. It's not the end of the world if they end up loosing that particular job because the alternative can end up bringing far greater consequences.
This blog is an ongoing project and will most likely be updated as ideas come to mind.