There are many different types of general tradesmen such as builders, painters, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, landscapers, and many other various types of tradies all competing for business. However, when you work in one of the general trades like this, you not only have to deal with your own brand and reputation, but the brand and reputation of the entire trade. For example if someone hired a shonky plumber who ended up flooding the basement, they may now feel that all plumbers are unreliable. Of course, this is not the case, and there are good and bad individuals in any trade. But how do you go about improving your trade brand and reputation factor. Of course, the best way to improve the brand and reputation of your trade is to run your business properly, have all of the appropriate insurance and licences, and always be honest with your customers and prospective customers.
Responding to customer messages – Because of the nature of your business, you may not always be able to answer the phone when a customer calls. Perhaps you are in a meeting, or dealing with another customer. However, in order to maintain a good reputation, it is imperative that you return customer messages as quickly as possible. In order to keep any prospective customers set aside an hour or so every morning and afternoon to check messages and return phone calls.
Quotes – In most cases, one of the first things you will do is visit the customers place, look at the work they need done, and come up with a quote. It is important that you spend the time putting together a carefully written, itemised quote that gives a clear breakdown of the costs related to the job.
Credentials – There are many tradies in all trades who claim to be experienced and qualified but have no credentials. A license is a legal requirement and proof that you have the necessary qualifications to do the job. Even if your customer doesn’t ask to see your credentials make sure that they know you have them available upon request, or even offer to show them when you perform the quote. Contracts – Once a customer hires you to perform a job, make sure you write or type up an appropriate contract. This should include quoted price, estimated duration of the job, and any other specific information related to the job. This not only helps to improve your trades brand and reputation, but also protects you and your customer from any potential problems.
References – Do you have a long list of satisfied customers? Ask them to write a short review or referral for you. If you have a website or social media site, post them for all potential customers to see. If you don’t have a web presence, keep a few in a file so that you have them on hand to show new customers.
Payment – Most of the time, it is not acceptable to request payment, or even partial payment up front. However, if you have to purchase expensive materials it is ok to negotiate a partial up-front payment with the customer to help defray the costs. Many people have had bad experiences with shonky or dishonest tradesmen, and the bad reputation makes it harder for honest tradesmen to make a living. However, if you maintain your integrity and honesty, you will be doing your part to improve the brand and reputation of your entire trade. At Tradebusters Academy we pride ourselves on helping tradies succeed in business with tips, events and trusted service providers.