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  • paulwatson22

Managing Expectations

When you train to become a builder, you learn how to put together a house from the ground up and everything that that involves, but at what point do you learn about how to deal with clients? I can guarantee that clients are your biggest love/hate relationship. Love them, they bring you work and they keep your business going, but hate them sometimes because they can mean the difference between a smooth build and a difficult one!


I recall talking with a valued client and the one thing he always did at 4pm every day was ring back EVERY SINGLE missed call he had received on his phone for that day.

It didn’t matter if he knew who the call was from or not, but by going through and doing that he sorted out any pending issues with jobs, got back in touch with any potential new clients and touched base with any reps who were ringing for updates.


It cleared his desk for the evening as everything had an action point and it made him feel like he was in control of everything that was going on. AND, all his clients knew to expect his call back as the clever fella had put it on his voicemail….. ‘Thanks for reaching out, I can’t take your call right now but I will ring you back today between 4-5pm’….. expectations sorted!


Another builder had a really novel way of dealing with potential new clients. If they were acting like they were serious about getting him to price a job the first thing he would do is offer to take them out for dinner. If they declined the invitation, he would politely decline working with them. His thoughts were that it was just as important for him to know and like them if he was going to work with them, as it was for them to be happy with him and what better way than to eyeball each other over a meal ?


I spoke to another builder who told me every time he had a quote request come through, his first port of call was to ring around other local builders and see who else was pricing it. He would then get together with the other tenderers and they would all pitch in for the cost of getting a Schedule of Quantities from a QS.


They then all submitted their own pricing against the Schedule to the client, and they knew they were all being fairly compared against each other. Brilliant ! The client thought they were all pretty clever also, and it made the analysis of the tenders far easier too!


These examples show that by being a bit creative, you can dictate how you want to do business. So many builders out there are reactive to quote requests from clients.

They will price up anything, but then get too busy, their turnaround takes too long, and they have lost the job before they even started because the process was not smooth.

The end result is a whole lot of wasted time and a client who, even if you do work with them, maybe more on edge and more difficult to work with.

You guys are the boss, so put a process in place that works for you and brings you the clients you want, that are willing to work with you in the way that you want – like insisting on QS quotes !


Happy to discuss further, phone Paul on Ph. 027 238 1866, Email :

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