One of my mom’s long time friend is currently renovating her home. I was just talking to her today and the conversation went to the topic about her contractor who is overseeing the renovation works.
According to her, the contractor is fully, and in fact, overbooked even during the economy downtime. Now, with so many contractors out there in the market and the unfavorable economic conditions, one would think that contractors are hit with hard times as well. But now this one.
This contractor had to juggle between her home renovation and a few other smaller assignments. After completing her home renovations, he had another bookings to do 3 condominium units by 3 other customers. Perhaps some who are freelance and earn a living through assignment basis can learn from this contractor.
How this contractor did it:
1. Getting business from referrals and word of mouth
First thing first, he got most of his business from referrals from satisfied customers. My mom’s friend got to know about this contractor through her sister-in-law. Now, the sister-in-law has a neighbor who is an extremely fussy old fella. This contractor did his house renovation and even the fussy guy (who had a tendency to complain and pick on everything) praised this contractor for his work. That was how the sister-in-law knew him.
2. No fussy about jobs
Some contractors will turn down simple jobs and will only agree to do jobs that pays well. But not this contractor- no matter how small the job is, he is willing to undertake. According to him, it is important to take on even small jobs because he felt if he was selective, the customer will never recommend him to other people. The sister-in-law actually got him to do some simple drain work- this contractor took a few workers and even got his hands dirty doing some of the work. Within a day, the work was done and the sister-in-law was very happy- so naturally this contractor was recommended to my mom’s friend.
3. Very approachable and friendly person- excellent interpersonal skills
This contractor is a very friendly and approachable guy. Some contractors, like the one who renovated my house, had a bit of ‘angin’, ie temperament issue. But according to my mom’s friend, you can lay out any ideas to this contractor and he will do his best to accommodate. He had one weak point though- he tends to be a bit forgetful. Once, he was told to built a wall of 10 feet in height. But he had forgotten to tell his workers- so they only built 9 feet. When my mom’s friend and her husband went to check, they were upset. The contractor, admitting his mistake, got his workers to break the wall and rebuilt again- free of charge.
4. Efficient workers and partners
When you renovate a house, you also need to get those who wire the house, put in the plumbing and tiles. The contractor had established years of good working relationship and friendship with these people who do give their best. These people will see to it that installed pipes do not leak through the walls, or electric wiring are done properly instead of haphazardly. Aside from that, he had a group of Indonesian workers who had followed him for many years. His workers were accommodating and do not tend to display attitude problems.
Of course, I would think that his pricing would be reasonable as well. Else, I am sure my mom’s friend’s husband will never engage the contractor. The above case study may not be applicable to every contractor or freelancer out there. But it may serve as an interesting food for thought- after all, the best business is often repeated business or customers earned through positive feedback from satisfied customers.