Nurture a Client Without Plans: A Guide for Builders
Do you find yourself often referring clients to designers or architects, only to never hear from them again? This is frustrating and a potential large waste of your time, however there are some simple steps that you, as a builder, can take to control the process and win more projects. To help ensure an accurate build quote, we’ve compiled five valuable tips that will empower you to take control of your design and build process and win more quotes.
- Understand the Design Through to Build Process: To navigate the design process efficiently, it’s essential to grasp the overall process that each clients goes through before they turn dirt with you. Start by reccommending your potential client sources quotes from reputable design firms that offer detailed concept plans and full working drawings. Next, advise them to obtain a site survey to ensure plan accuracy, and also to liaise with a structural engineer and any other required consultants, such as certifiers. By giving your clients a detailed overview so they understand the full process upfront, you set realisitc expecations which is the foundation for a successful project.
2. Choose the Best Design Team for Your Project: Selecting the right design team is paramount to achieving your vision. Advise your clients to look for a designer who takes a genuine interest in their project, understands their budget, and engages in in-depth discussions. Advise them to ask for a list of notable or similar projects they have completed and seek social proof through positive online reviews and showcased projects. Ask if the design team can recommend reliable local engineers and certifiers to streamline the project flow.
3. Coordinate a Meeting Between the Designer, Client and Yourself: Effective collaboration among homeowners, design teams, and builders is a recipe for success. Arrange a site consultation or early design meeting where all parties can come together. Prepare a list of questions for both the designer and client to ensure clear communication. By formulating a plan together, you’ll maximize the efficiency of the design and build process. Request that your designer includes you in important email correspondence to maintain seamless communication and thorough project understanding.
4. Align Your Budget with the Designer and Client: Ensuring a project stays within budget requires open and transparent communication between all parties involved. In a site meeting with your designer and client, discuss their ideal budget and be prepared to give honest feedback. Outline your processes to control costs and identify potential areas that may impact their budget. Address the costs of materials, order delays, and varying subcontractor expenses upfront. Seek insights from the designer regarding pricing for engineers, certifiers, and planners based on similar projects. This alignment will prevent imbalances and surprises during the construction phase.
5. Understand Time Frames and Maintain Communication: Designing your clients dream house takes time, and it’s crucial to establish realistic time frames and maintain consistent communication. Request regular updates from the design team and ensure they are responsive and proactive in their communication. Discuss time frames before commencing the project, taking into account any holidays or shut-down periods. Inquire if a dedicated designer will oversee the entire project duration or if junior draftspeople will be involved. Stay informed about potential delays in engineering, certification, or planning processes, and work together to find suitable solutions.
By following these five tips, you’ll simplify the design and construction processes, help your clients save money whilst giving yourself the best opportunity to deliver a more accurate build quote. Communication and educating your clients on the entire process upfront is key, as is choosing a reputable and fairly priced design team who prioritise regular meetings. Set realistic budget expectations early on and discuss potential time frames, whilst giving examples of how and when these could change. And remember, embrace the power of teamwork among the homeowners and designers, as you are allon the same team with a common goal to bring a new house, renovation, extension or house raise project to life.