Part of creating and growing a business is the luxury of deciding who you work for. At this time, particularly if you are entrenched in the feast and famine cycle, you may not be at all worried about the qualities you want to see in a customer. If you’re desperate, a pulse and checkbook may be all you need to sign them up for the vast openings in your schedule. By taking the time to create a system and build a foundation, you will prevent this from becoming an ongoing problem and ensure that the customers you work for are the ones you want.
Let us never forget that you may not be the ideal remodeler for every client jut as every client will not be ideal for you in your business as it stand now. My sweet friend Jennifer Daniels, a revolutionary in the social media world and an all-around smart cookie, has told me more times than I can count that “for every person in this world, there is someone who was created to serve them.” That person may or may not be you.
Statistically speaking, you will be more fulfilled and make more money by working for ideal clients. After spending years looking over expense statements, payroll numbers and job costing reports, I have found that most of the companies I work with have higher profit margins when working with clients that they have identified as “favorite” or “ideal” customers.
These customers generate fewer punch list items; fewer cost overruns and fewer extra add ons. These clients, the ones that we already love and make us enjoy going to work every day, they are also the ones who make us the most money.
Just the fact that you now know that working for ideal clients is going to increase your profit margins should be reason enough for you to keep pushing ahead through this foundational exercise. No one wants to go to work feeling unhappy and it is particularly painful to go to a job that you dislike if you aren’t earning a good profit.
Who is your ideal client?
Your ideal customer is someone who you are ready, willing and able to serve without reservations or hesitations. This is a crucial distinction because when your phone starts ringing off the hook, and it will once we are finished implementing all of the great strategies in this book, you will have the opportunity to pick the best clients for your business.
My family’s contracting business has one particular client who was and is, admittedly, my favorite. She is just the kind of warm, funny and sweet person who I enjoy spending time with and her positive attitude is infectious.
About six months after I started working full time for my dad, I heard from a neighbor that this client’s beloved dog had been hit by a car and she was devastated. Now, my grandfather was a veterinarian so I spent a good part of my childhood around dogs and their wonderful owners and I the special bond that people form with their pups. Feeling terrible for her loss, I sent her flowers and a card with a special poem called “Rainbow Bridge” that I had seen circulated in my grandfather’s office many times when someone lost their companion. She called me later that day, obviously holing back tears, to thank us for the gesture.
That woman, my favorite client, has referred my dad over $2 million dollars in contracted work over the past seven years. I believe that the day she received those flowers the “know, like and trust” factors were cemented for her and, although there have been errors and snafus that have come up over the years, we have so much social capital invested in each other that we are able to move past the small setbacks.
My ideal client might not be the same as yours. I have some contractor friends who are all business with their customers and only let their “true” self shine through when the business day is done and they are with their friends and family. To each their own, for sure, but if you pick clients based on who you are, you will be happier mixing business and pleasure.
Some clients will work for you and some won’t. It is up to you to make the distinction. Everyone has their own ideal client, but we want to find YOUR ideal client. Obviously, the type of clients you enjoy working with will be greatly affected by your business model and what products and service you choose to provide.