3 tips for a more collaborative construction experience with clients
As a contractor in residential construction, you’re not just building houses. You’re building the places where first steps are taken, holidays are celebrated and years of memories are made. The work you do is deeply personal to those you serve.
That’s why homeowners often want to be involved in their building journey – every step of the way. Delivering this higher level of collaborative construction is a critical component of any successful job, but it’s also easy to mess up fast. And there’s a high cost to low trust.
Poor communication can lead to budget misunderstandings, deadlines that shift weeks into months and 3 a.m. phone calls from enraged clients. It’s time you stop losing your sleep and start mastering client relations.
Collaborative construction is about more than just working well with your team. You want to work well with those bankrolling the project, too. Here are three ways to make that happen.
1) Establish credibility immediately
When going on first dates, interviewing for jobs and winning over clients, the same life lesson holds true: First impressions are everything.
If you want to work well with homeowners, you’ve got to lay down a strong foundation from the very start. You want your client to believe that this isn’t just another job to you. This is the job your team has been waiting for – that dream project every contractor hopes to score. And there’s no team better qualified to bring it to life than yours, right?
Don’t be humble. Convince them of your expertise in those first meetings, even before the ink on the paperwork dries. If they believe you’re a superior contractor, they’re more likely to trust you with future problems or delays. However, if you come off aloof and unprepared, you might have an anxious homeowner attempting to micromanage your processes for the next six months.
One way to establish credibility immediately is through home builder software. Show them you’ve moved beyond antiquated practices like spreadsheets or pen and paper. You’ve got a suite of digital tools that your team uses to build better, faster and smarter.
2) Simplify communication
Good collaboration is really just good communication. With that in mind, consider this: Which one of these scenarios seems like good communication to you?
- In the morning, a homeowner receives a call about a delay. Then they don’t hear back from the team for six days … until a voicemail comes in one afternoon. The homeowner can’t reference the schedule changes or remember what was said exactly on the first call.
- Daily updates are shared in detailed logs alongside progress pictures, videos and files – all in one place.
Sounds like the contractor in the first scenario might have some explaining to do soon. The answer is obvious. The latter presents an idealized version of collaborative construction. However, just because it’s idealized doesn’t mean it’s unattainable. This can be your team’s reality with home builder software like Buildertrend.
From the Customer Portal tool, homeowners can ask questions, send messages, make suggestions and stay in the loop. They’ll feel like they’re working right alongside your team.
3) Create pathways for transparency
You did it. Another project has come to a close. The home looks fantastic, communication between your team and the client was superior … and then you hand them the invoice. Suddenly, their world is flipped upside down.
A surprise in final numbers isn’t just bad news for homeowners. It’s bad news for your company’s reputation, too. Collaborative construction means more than just making sure questions are answered and designs are signed off. It’s being transparent about the good, the bad and everything in between.
Buildertrend’s Customer Portal empowers your team to do just that. Using our tech to communicate back and forth with homeowners is only the beginning. You can also share schedules. That means clients aren’t kept in the dark about delays and deadlines. Clients can see the running budget and any adjustments when selections are made electronically. Additionally, change orders are stored and approved here.
With all this information, there should be no surprises when the project comes to a close. It also leads to highly engaged homeowners throughout the build. You know what that means? Engaged clients equals happy clients equals likely-to-refer-you-to-others clients. It’s a winning formula.
Ready to improve collaboration with home builder software?
These three tips are just scratching the surface when it comes to leveraging tech for collaborative construction. And we’re only just talking about homeowners here.
The magic of Buildertrend is all the tools and process that are baked-in to help improve collaboration between many parties. Not just clients. From implementing Buildertrend to taking it in the field to using it with third parties, there’s a better way to collaborate. The Buildertrend way.
To dive deeper and see how it’s done, be sure to check out the third season of The Better Way podcasts. Our experts uncover how Buildertrend solves your biggest frustrations and pain points – in bingeworthy seasons focused on specific aspects of running a successful business.
Tune into all six episodes on collaboration now.
blog | 8 min readJan 23, 2023
Part three of our Future of Construction Series: Learn from volume builder, Conrad Ehr, on how Buildertrend helped their company expand to neighboring markets.
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