Have you ever wanted to get inside the mind of your customer? Now’s your chance!
Over the last year, we periodically surveyed homeowners from across the country about what’s important to them when it comes to hiring a contractor to see how their habits changed throughout the pandemic. Read on for an exclusive look into our findings and how you can use them to grow your own business.
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What Matters Most To Homeowners
When you get to know your customers, you can provide them with a better experience. Using the survey data we provide in this article, you can try new sales tactics and customer service approaches to drive new and repeat business. We’ve provided a few ideas to help you get started.
1.**Homeowners Refer Contractors They Like**
While you may not be surprised that homeowners refer contractors they like, you might be surprised at how many do so. According to a survey of our network of homeowners, 91% refer a contractor they like to family or friends. Wow!
Digital communication has made it easier than ever to share referrals. There are social media sites like NextDoor, as well as Facebook groups, that make it easy for homeowners to ask for referrals from people in their community.
What You Can Do
It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re going the extra mile for your customers. Find ways to stand out from your competitors and ensure that your customers refer you to their family, friends, and neighbors. Here are a few tips:
- Offer referral incentives. Many contractors will opt to give a homeowner a specific discount if they refer your business to a new client.
- Keep in touch with old clients. The work on a house is never truly over, so don’t let your clients forget about you. If they forget about you, they can’t refer you! Send holiday cards to give a personal touch in the winter season or send a thank you card a few months after service to tell them you appreciate their business. It’s a cost-effective way to really make yourself memorable.
Pro Challenge: Come up with a referral incentive you can share with customers.
2. Contractor Reliability & Licensing Matters
Project cost is an important factor when it comes to making a hiring decision. However, our survey has shown that homeowners also see reliability & proof of licensing among the top factors when hiring a contractor. Other very important factors include, background checked and providing a free estimate.
What You Can Do
With these factors in mind, what have you been communicating to customers? Have you been showing that you are a reliable contractor? Do you display your license and insurance information? Be sure to display your license and insurance information in your portfolio, on your website, and anywhere a homeowner might see it.
Wondering how you can show reliability? Here are a few tips:
- Always show up on time.
- Prepare a detailed contract.
- Be transparent with the homeowner if issues arise.
- Know if your area requires permits for the work you do.
- Promptly answer any questions a homeowner might have.
Pro Challenge: Respond to all homeowner inquiries in 12 hours or less.
3. Homeowners Get Three Estimates Before Hiring
A common question we get from our contractors is “why does CraftJack connect homeowners with more than one business for their project?” This is because we know about half of our homeowners prefer to receive three quotes before hiring a contractor for the job. The general advice given is that homeowners should receive more than one quote to compare prices, customer service ability, and to see who is the best fit for their particular project.
What You Can Do
Going forward, don’t be surprised if a homeowner says they are getting multiple quotes. Instead, prepare yourself for this with these tips:
- Provide free estimates. Offering a free estimate to homeowners is no longer just a courtesy but an expectation. To improve your chances of winning the job, be sure to let your potential customers know that the estimate is free. Estimates are not only the key to winning business, but they also act as an outline to the final contract and add clarity for both you and the customer. As we mentioned earlier in this article, 53% of people find a free estimate to be a significant factor when making a hiring decision. Check out our Do’s and Don’ts article for our best tips on providing estimates that win jobs.
- Read DIY and home-related blogs. There are thousands of articles homeowners read every day, with tips on what to consider when hiring a contractor. By reading homeowner blogs, you can get an idea of what a customer may expect when comparing contractor estimates. Knowing what a homeowner’s concerns are when getting quotes will help you address any fears or misconceptions early on in the process. Renovate America has an excellent overview of guiding homeowners through the process.
- Work on your elevator pitch. If you were in an elevator and overheard someone discussing a need for your services, how would you pitch them in 30 seconds or less? An elevator pitch can help give you an edge over the competition and win the job.
Pro Challenge: Watch this video and craft a new elevator pitch this week.
4. In DIY – Experience Matters
With resources like Youtube tutorial videos and How-To articles available for almost any project under the sun floating around Pinterest, many homeowners have begun to feel more comfortable tackling DIY home improvement projects.
Our research shows over half of homeowners 54% – consider their own personal experience level to be most important when considering if they should DIY or leave it to a pro. While some homeowners are pretty handy with a Skilsaw, others don’t know the difference between a Phillips-head screwdriver and an Allen wrench! Other factors included project cost (48%) and whether or not special equipment purchases or rentals are needed (44%).
The COVID-19 pandemic led to many homeowners putting off home projects that they would have otherwise hired a contractor to complete. As a result, there was an upward trend in DIY projects during the year. According to the Joint Center of Housing Studies, about 80% of homeowners reported that they started DIY projects or home repair in the last year. The good news for pros is that DIY projects are steadily declining back to pre-pandemic activity and many of those projects that were started with excitement were never completed.
What You Can Do
The Joint Center predicts a decline in DIY projects in the coming years. With this knowledge, you can:
- Show off your experience to prospective clients. Are you a veteran contractor, or have you taken classes for a particular skill? Share photos or stories from your latest projects on your social media channels. Or mention specific certifications or awards you have earned during calls with your customers or in your leave-behind materials.
- Update your profile. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure there is photo proof of your experience on your website and your portfolio. Additionally, add any evidence of your experience such as certificates.
Pro Challenge: Spend an hour this week updating your profile with new photos and any new certifications or licensing.
5. Over Half Of Homeowners Rehire The Same Contractor
Think the job is done when the project is finished? Think again. A great contractor can be hired multiple times by the same homeowner if they’ve done a great job. In fact, 66% of our network of homeowners said that they had rehired the same contractor again for another home project. “The job they completed for me spoke volumes of their skills. [I] knew [they were] reliable,” said one homeowner.
What You Can Do
This data is another reason to ensure you are doing your best work on any given job. If a homeowner calls you for a small job, treat it as if it were the biggest job you’ve ever had. Because in the future, it can turn into one or more big jobs, which means more money for your business!
If you use a lead generation service, consider the ROI one lead can bring you. One job sent to you from CraftJack can turn in to two or more, just by making sure you do your best work and communicating with the customer after the job has been completed.
Here are a few ways you can get rehired in the future:
- Build loyalty with past customers. When it comes to marketing your business, customers aren’t just looking to hire a company but also a person. Relationship building is a key aspect of modern-day marketing. Build loyalty by talking with your customers and getting to know them and their needs.
- Leave the job site better than you found it. Homeowners don’t want to be left with a mess after the job is completed. This is more work for them. When the day is done, and when the job is complete, ensure the area is cleaned to perfection. Making sure you leave the job site looking great will speak volumes and likely get you rehired in the future!
- Communicate your availability. In addition to keeping in touch with past customers, communicate your availability regularly. Let them know if you have time available to come out and look at their next project or maintenance service you can help with that week.
Pro Challenge: Set up an email to past customers and share your monthly availability for a service you offer.
6. 83% Of Homeowners Use Online Reviews To Make Hiring Decisions
Think reviews are overrated? Think again. Our data shows that 83% of homeowners use online reviews to make hiring decisions at least half of the time or more. It’s likely that many homeowners you’ve contacted this week are looking at your company’s online reviews. Do you know what they say?
What You Can Do
If you haven’t looked your business up on Google recently, that is a great place to start to see what your customers are saying about you online. It is good to know where your star rating is on various platforms like Google Business, Facebook, and Yelp. A low rating will not work in your favor, and at the same time, having no reviews online can also keep homeowners from hiring you. Here are a few tips to improve your online reputation.
- Take inventory of your reputation online. Know what people are saying and where they are saying it. You may want to create a document with all the information about your online presence, from star rating to where your reviews are located.
- Ask for reviews. We advise all our contractors to directly ask happy customers for reviews at the end of a job. It might feel uncomfortable, but they are more likely to leave one when directly asked and when the project is fresh in their mind!
Pro Challenge: Contact five customers and ask them for a review this week. According to ReviewTrackers, the best time to ask for reviews is between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m or between 6 p.m and 7 p.m. Set up an alert on your phone, so you don’t forget!
7. A Review Response Can Change A Homeowner’s Opinion
Your online reputation doesn’t stop with what customers say about you, but how you respond to their feedback as well. The data shows that 82% of homeowners will not hire a contractor if they have 1-star reviews. However, if you have reviews you’re not proud of, it might not be the end of the road. Homeowners are 68% more likely to change their opinion of a business based on the response to a negative review. If you have reviews you’re not proud of, now is a great time to get into action!
What You Can Do
You do have the power to change your online reputation. Here are a few tips.
- Respond to ALL reviews. You may feel inclined to only respond to the negative reviews. However, responding to positive reviews can also show your attentiveness and gratitude to those who have taken the time to review your service.
- Seek solutions for negative reviews. It’s easy to react emotionally when it comes to negative reviews. However, take a step back and remember that your business’ reputation is more important than being right. Try to find a way to resolve the negative feedback. This shows understanding and a willingness to make it right, which will show potential customers that you’re here for them.
- Respond to reviews promptly. Don’t wait until there are more reviews than you can handle. Try to respond to new reviews within three days or less.
Pro Challenge: If there is a negative review that has been hurting your business, resolve it this week. Do your best to reach out to the customer and find a resolution.
Customer insights are an essential part of business growth. After all, your business exists to help make their home improvement projects a little easier. This data is just a sample from our homeowner network, but we hope that seeing through their eyes helps you understand what your prospective customers are thinking and what you can do to maximize your chance of winning them over.
Because homeowner habits are constantly changing, we recommend digging in and doing your research.
Connect with more homeowners near you. Sign up with CraftJack an start getting leads today.
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