Working in the landscaping world comes with challenges. Long hours, difficult weather, and short-staffed. Let’s not forget about those clients who may make our days feel that much longer (*insert eye-roll*). Whether it’s a comment about a bid, changing details last minute, or finding issues every step of the way, it can be difficult maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients.
But look no further! We’ve got some quick tips to help up your client game for happier and long lasting client relationships. Although these tips are tailored for landscapers, each are applicable for all contractors. If you are a plumber, roofer, electrician, etc. look no further — this blog is also for you.
Time Management is a Must
The importance of time management may not come as a shock but it is more layered than you think. Some things to keep in mind:
Be on time
Be able to offer an accurate time frame of the project
Stick to the project timeline like your life depends on it.
Why are these things important? Well. These factors greatly impact potential clients’ decisions when choosing a landscaper. It also influences their interaction with your company: do they leave feeling like you valued their time, or did you waste it?
“Time is money” is no joke. Giving your client a workable time frame is the first step to client-business trust. You are being honest about time and honest about money — two often taboo subjects in the industry.
Just by showing up at an agreed upon time shows respect towards your client and their time. When you start off in the giving mood, clients are more likely to reciprocate back to you.
Show up late or not at all? The initial trust building moment has passed and not with flying colors. That trust is hard (sometimes impossible) to gain back.
You’ve been warned!
Communication is Key
Did something come up during production? Does your client want to be more involved in the work your team is doing? Did your last appointment run a little longer than expected?
Whatever it might be, good communication is key.
During the first meeting with your client — or even beforehand — establish communication preferences. Do they prefer email? Phone call? Do they want to follow along on CompanyCam? Being intentional with their preferences ensures their satisfaction in your communication.
Different clients will have different preferences. Some may want to see daily progress photos (this tends to be common with clients not on site).
Others may want a daily email/text/phone call. A pretty landscaping before and after photo may do that trick! Then there are the few who trust you implicitly and don’t want to be contacted at all until the job is done.
In any situation, documenting your job site is still very important. Having the documentation ready to share will provide the client the opportunity to further engage with their project if they ever change their mind.
Photo documentation prevents miscommunication, too. What if you did a beautiful job laying concrete pavers, but all your client can see is how their flower bed was damaged in the process? With photo documentation, you cover your butt from a miscommunication like this.
A photo in CompanyCam will show that, prior to starting the concrete paver project, the flower bed was damaged. The issue is now off your hands because you have a picture to prove it!
Communication doesn’t just up your game as a landscaper, it covers your butt as a business owner. Read here about client-business transparency here.
When it comes to a happy client, quality is the name of the game. This doesn’t just include the landscaping work your company does. It also includes the interactions you have with your clients. From initial contact to invoicing, a quality experience makes the project more enjoyable for all involved.
What do we mean when we say “quality” though?
In addition to timeliness and good communication, client-centered interactions where you’re focused on their needs and wants gives you a headstart in client satisfaction. They will better understand the work getting done and why the price tag attached is what it is.
When it comes to production, quality workmanship is a win-win all around. With quality landscaping, be it building an outdoor fire pit or routine lawn maintenance, your crew members will ensure the production process doesn’t interfere with the job site cleanliness. There will be no damage done to other areas of the property. And attention to the small details—such as where to park vehicles—will be noticed by the client.
The quality of job and consideration of their property will go a long way.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Let’s be honest, as a landscaper, you’re the expert in all things. While your client may have landscaping experience, it’s unlikely they know your processes beyond the basic Google search.
This lack of knowledge can put clients on the defensive from the get-go. A quick and easy way to lower those walls and help build up a trusting client-contractor relationship is to be honest when communicating with your client. Explain the reasoning behind what needs to be done, define terms that may not be commonly known outside of your field, and when clients ask you questions, be transparent in your answers.
By being honest, you’re showing your client you value their input, as well as respect the work your team produces. Transparency builds trust that lasts. It will bring your clients back to you again (and again and again) for future projects. They might even refer your business to their friends.
As you review the list, remember that you are not limited to these four things. Be creative and explore other opportunities to engage with your customers. Working under unpredictable or extenuating circumstances doesn’t need to determine the quality of interactions with your clients. Even when things are going poorly, communicating honestly will go a long, long way.
If you have yet to sign up for CompanyCam to help with this transparency, give it a try! Take your landscaping business to the next level with CompanyCam.
Tune in as Nicole share’s why documentation is important on the Rainmaker for Contractors podcast.