Painful clients can happen in both residential and commercial jobs, you could come across a client that is going to be a problem regardless of what you do. It was never a misunderstanding, it was never a mistake. Sometimes you’ll face people who want to be a problem regardless of the situation as if they are looking for an issue.
The most important rule when dealing with a painful client is to remain calm, regardless of the situation. Raising your voice or getting angry will not solve problems, but only create more.
If you have ever dealt with a problem client before, you have probably heard one of these statements:
“I’ve got a quote half the price from another contractor”
“We will pay after the work is completed”
“I’ve spoken to other contractors, but they don’t know what they are doing”
From time to time, construction businesses will face difficult clients. It is your job to be able to either get out of the situation or control it to the best of your ability.
Here are some of the problems that a difficult client can bring:
• Increased Stress
• Profit loss
• Severe delays
• Affect on reputation
• Business closure
• Mental Health issues
Here are 6 types of painful clients that you might come across and the solution to dealing with them!
Indecisive clients can bring a lot of stress onto a business, it is like someone asking you to build a wall without telling you where. These types of clients will usually result in shouting or discrediting you for building the wall in the wrong place, even though it was due to the lack of instruction from them.
These clients may not know what they want, but they definitely know what they don’t want. Sounds kind of counterintuitive, but it’s the case and in the end, it boils down to a lack of communication which leads to a dissatisfied client.
How to deal with indecisive clients?
The main issue that you will be seeing with indecisive clients is their lack of communication, and while there’s little you can do if your client doesn’t want to communicate, you can take the necessary steps to ensure you are on the same page.
Therefore ensuring that you record and approve every step you do is critical, if you have drawn out a plan for a new conservatory, and they approve, they cannot blame you on the final project if it literally matches the very plans in which they approved.
Sometimes when we complete a project, there are certain revisions that the client requests which is understandable but can quickly become a problem. Clients can repeatedly request tiny alterations which can quickly take up a lot of your time & resources.
If a client wants to change a job in a way that implies more risk upon your end, it is an instant red flag and maybe a sign that the client plans to withhold payment.
How to deal with nagging clients.
Contractors know that it is not unusual for a client to request changes to the original job, for example, a homeowner might decide to change the bushes being put into his garden, but these changes should never be done on a verbal basis as it will lead to disaster later on. If changes are made after the original job has been made, a new scope of work should be made and the client should sign and approve the additional costing as a result of the change.
A lot of work you may do will rely on forms of permission such as planning permission. In some cases, clients may become dishonest to achieve what they want. Failure to obtain or comply with planning permission can result in a lot of consequences such as removing all the work you have completed or even in some cases, legal enforcement can be put into place leading to fines and so on.
How to deal with dishonest clients?
If a client is insistent on proceeding with the work regardless of the required permission, it is your cue to walk away with integrity. These clients are usually in a hurry to complete the project at hand but it can lead to a pretty big headache down the line. You should insist that the required permission is put into place before starting any work.
It is completely understandable that your clients will try to grab a discount if they can get it, but some clients take it one step too far. A problem occurs when clients take the haggling too far or too small, they are haggling over the smallest costs consistently, questioning why certain costs are there or trying to get additional work out of you for free.
These clients are virtually using you, being annoying, cutting into profits and wasting your time.
How to deal with hagglers?
Once you have explained your discount policy (which can just be “no discounts”), you have to be firm with the client. You’re a business and they need to understand and respect the boundaries that are in place. Plus if you start giving discounts how are you going to provide the same level of service to that client, as now you have to invest the same amount of money, time and commitment but for less money!
Unfortunately, there are cowboy builders out there, and their shoddy work has a dramatic effect on people. They don’t know who to trust and they are constantly worrying about the work.
How to deal with anxious clients?
It’s a shame that people have had to deal with such a poor level of work, and they are horrified at the thought of it happening again, therefore they are going to be very anxious about who to trust.
Dealing with these kinds of clients is going to be very dependent on the situation, but the best way to deal with it is to generally have a real conversation with them, show them your past work, and build a meaningful relationship. Who knows, you might have just gained a client for life for spending that bit of extra time with them.
Sometimes clients think they know best, they think they could do the job better and so much easier if they had the tools and time. Arrogant clients normally try to undermine you and value your work for less than it is.
How to deal with arrogant clients?
Stand strong and prove yourself, say why you are charging for this and explain the quality that you deliver, unfortunately, some arrogant clients cannot be budged, but here are a few handy tips:
• Understand their pain points
• Be empathetic
• Stick to the facts
This article was written for Saint Financial Group, a multidisciplinary group based in the UK that helps construction businesses develop and grow. SaintFG offers a range of quality solutions in supporting businesses.
Saint provides the luxury of free business consultancy for of our clients, call now for your free consultation with a friendly business advisor to discuss your burning questions and put that energy back into your business!
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