It’s great not having to chase building work! Some builders are currently so busy that they’re turning away clients, but they’re concerned about losing out on future work by doing so.
When turning down work the normal response is, “Try another builder.” While understandable it’s is not the best approach. You may be turning away really good clients and be forced to accept lesser ones in the future.
How To Turn Away Work And Keep Making Money
1. Put your building prices up a little
It is usually true that very price conscious customers will make their decision based on the price at the bottom of the contract, or on the hourly rate quoted in the estimate. They are not interested in the other value-adds you may bring, because they don’t see any difference between builders.
So by quoting higher rates, you will drive away the caller who just wants any builder. At the same time, you’ll find out if your caller is discerning and wants you and what you have to offer, because your value-add is attractive. Maybe a friend has told them that they just have to use you!
You see, if your caller really wants you, it’s more likely they’ll be happy to pay your rates and fit in with the way you do things. These are the clients you want. They’re your “A-type” clients!
Additionally, when you raise your prices, the extra money helps cover the costs associated with preparing better estimates and more accurate quotes. It pays for better supervision, so you can meet your clients’ expectations. You can attract better builders and in some cases finish the job faster and maybe cheaper. It also helps cover the down days you might have as a result of turning away the not so profitable work.
2. Don’t consider jobs where your track record is bad
If you back-cost your jobs, then you should know which ones you typically make a good profit on and those you don’t. If you often lose money on fixed price agreements, then tell your callers that you provide estimates only and that you charge on an hourly rate.
By the same token, if you are really good at delivering within the parameters of your fixed quotes and making money from them, then select only those clients who are willing to enter into fixed priced agreements. Find your niche.
If you choose to turn away jobs that you don’t normally make much profit on and instead focus on securing only contracts that you will turn a good profit, you’ll make more money while turning away less profitable work.
3. Specialise and qualify
Determining what type of contracts make you the most money can help you choose the type of work you’d like to specialise in. Ask your caller some initial questions that will clearly determine if the job in question fits your speciality. If it does, then proceed. If not, and you are busy, you may want to turn them away, because they see you as just another builder, and you may not be able to charge your specialist rates.
So, if you’re a specialist in a particular area, then you are usually able to charge higher rates. For example, villa restoration specialists are highly valued by fastidious villa owners because of their attention to detail and their special knowledge of long forgotten building practices. Such owners will pay to get the finish they desire. But you need to be the specialist.
So if you are a villa specialist but your caller is clearly not concerned about the finish, you may decide not to proceed with the job because this caller does not fit your preferred client parameters. Qualify your callers.
Sometimes, the best way to ensure you are available for the jobs that suit your speciality and bring you the best profit is to say No to the jobs that don’t fit.
4. Require your clients to follow your process
There is nothing worse than being run around by demanding clients: attending meetings when they schedule them, answering calls at all hours and generally being at their beck and call. Some clients seem to think of you as their personal servant, just sitting waiting for their call!
Then, in spite of the huge amount of time you have put into preparing a quote, exactly as they have requested, they choose another builder.
Save yourself the time and stress by reducing the number of quotes you lose. Clearly outline your sales process and get your client to agree to follow it. Make sure you stick to your process. You can also position that you will be there when the final choice of builder is made.
It is possible to turn away work and still make money.