4 Key Pieces to a Better Remodeling Project Handoff

Many remodeling companies do a handoff process shortly before a project starts. If you don’t, here are the basics. Sales, Design and Production meet to go over the job. The purpose is to get the Production staff acquainted with the job and free up Sales and Design to focus on more sales.

The meeting can be as long as several hours or as short as half an hour, it depends on the content and the details a company wants to discuss. There are common elements that go into handoff meetings:

  • Plans and the scope
  • Trades that will be included and their contracts for the job
  • Items that are selected and — most importantly— ones that are not

Too often, known problem areas get no attention. But this is probably the most critical topic to discuss. The Lead Carpenter or Project Manager can read all the other information during a separate planning time, but what invariably causes problems is the information that’s not written down.

There are three main areas that are essential but aren’t discussed with production enough, and one more that I’d like to see become standard.

1. The Clients

Not just their names, but how they make decisions, who cares the most about the kitchen, what seems to be their biggest driver for this job, and what about family life?  The Salesperson has usually discovered all of these and has tried to incorporate into the project. If they’re not shared, the on-site manager will invariably make a mistake that will violate something the client assumes is known.

2. Problem Areas

There are always problem areas hidden in the plans and scope. We know they’re there and Sales and Design knows. So talk about them them up front — get it out of the way so the job manager knows the Sales and Design team has thought about these things. The alternative is the Production team discovers them later, and will almost always have a negative reaction.

3. The Budget

We’re always messing with the budget to “get the job.”  The reality is that in some cases we feel we have to, and in other cases we just do. So in the handoff it’s good to alert the site manager about any places that Sales or Estimating thinks are tight or simply have been cut to get the job. This gives the site manager has time to prepare, and it develops trust for their team mates.

4. The Visuals

Recently I worked with two companies that were doing things I thought were very cool during the handoff meeting. Both were centered on visual cues.

We know that the Sales process is visual — clients look at pictures, samples, and often 3D drawings. But then we hand production a 2D set of plans and a written scope.

One of these companies shares the “Inspiration Pictures” that led the client to actually do the project. This gives the site manager an idea of what the client expects. Now, they may have had to tone it down to a budget, but at least there is a real vision for what the client wants.

The other company is sharing a 3D rendering the client sees as part of the Sales process. The site manager now can imagine what the product should look like.  If there’s anything that reality deviates from the 3D vision, it can be addressed before the client sees it in place.

The main idea to remember about this handoff meeting is that the job details are a little incidental. The most important aspect is getting the site manager ready to interact with the client.  If you can effectively set that stage, you’ll have no trouble building the thing!

 

Tap Your Sales Skills to Make Your Relationship Better

The idea of selling something feels sort of dirty to a lot of people, especially if you’ve been on the wrong end of a heavy-handed salesperson. Getting your arm twisted until you succumb and make the purchase. Promises made that turn out to be empty about the benefits of buying something. Ugh!

But good sales experiences actually help you. Great salespeople make you feel confident and secure in your decisions. And — this is the odd part — much of what makes for success in sales also does so in relationships. 

Open-ended questions

Sales skill: Taking the time to ask open-ended questions makes prospects more likely to let down their guard. Asking clarification questions about the responses the prospect lets them feel their opinion really matters to the salesperson, and that the salesperson is present and listening.

Relationship tip: This is also true in personal relationships. Slowing down and taking the time to deeply understand the other person’s point of view makes you become more attractive to that person.  

People love to tell you how they think and feel about things if you make them feel that you care about what they are telling you.  Follow-up questions are a powerful way to do that.

Slowing down

Sales skill: The best salespeople — the ones who successfully selling big-ticket items — go through the sales process slowly. When this is done exceptionally well the buyer often butts in and says “I’m convinced.  How can I buy what you are selling? I don’t need to hear anything beyond what you have told me.” Bingo!

Relationship tip: When wooing someone, taking it slowly is much more effective than moving too quickly. Being a fast-paced person, I have to constantly remind myself to slow down when interacting with my wife Nina. The slower I go and the more focused I am on her and what she’s saying, the better she feels about our relationship. I’m not as good at doing this as I would like to be but I keep on working at it.

Listening, not telling

Sales skill: The phrase, “Telling is not selling,” is so true. When a salesperson offers too much information and solutions that don’t motivate for the buyer, the sale goes nowhere. That salesperson is likely to complain that the potential buyer simply didn’t “get” that what the salesperson was selling was the perfect solution.  

Relationship tip: Listening opens minds and hearts. Like Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

By doing so you learn more about your partner, which makes it easier to connect with them.

The challenge is to set aside your natural inclination to want to get your point across. Slowing down, listening and asking clarification questions — while not providing solutions — makes your partner open up.

When that happens, check in and see if they want to hear what your idea of a solution is or if they simply wanted to be heard.

Life is simple and complicated, all at once. When creating or nurturing a relationship, one step at a time with no agenda in mind except to make who you are interacting with feel heard, great possibilities are the outcome, in both sales and life.

 

Want More Secrets to a Healthy Working Relationship?

Paul and Nina Winans will lead a Couples Retreat Workshop in Scottsdale, AZ, on February 7-8, 2019.

Join 10-15 couples who will learn how to deal with conflict, argue effectively, and set goals for yourselves. We have a few spots left so Click Here to learn more & register!

Securing Your Website: It’s Time To Lock Things Up

I’m sure you pay a lot of attention to security. You lock up your materials, tools, vehicles, and job sites. Your office probably has an alarm. And your phone undoubtedly requires a password, a secret pattern, or your face to unlock it.

But what I’m not sure about is whether or not you’ve thought much about securing your online presence.

If not…it’s time.

Google’s latest update to its Chrome browser displays website URLs differently according to SSL certification status. Secure sites start with “https” rather than the non-secured “http.”

In Sept. 2018, sites without SSL are marked “Not secure” in the address bar, while https sites get a lock icon in green. By October, the “not secure” message will turn red with an exclamation point, drawing users’ attention.

If your site doesn’t have SSL certification, you’ll get the red warning sign. Google hopes it will act like a stop sign for people looking at unsecured sites.

What’s an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which creates an encrypted link between the server a site lives on and the browser someone’s using to interact with it — it makes sure any data passing between the server and browser remains private.

The certification says SSL is there and working.

Why is it important?

While it’s obviously important for businesses to encrypt data like credit card numbers when selling over the web, the security setting carries implications for any business site.

Your website is your front door online. As a remodeler, trust is a huge part of why you get, and keep, clients. Even if you’re not taking payment information online, you probably have a page for prospects to contact you, and landing pages for offers or events.

But you’re not taking or storing anything like credit cards or social security numbers on your site — why do you need that extra layer of security? Users will get used to seeing green or red messages, and Google’s teaching them to inherently distrust red sites. 

Even if you don’t think it will affect your brand image, people may see the red and hesitate to even enter basic contact information. If web leads are important to you, showing your site is secure should be too.

You don’t need any red flags about not being trustworthy on your own website.

It affects your Google rank

Google has been using https as part of its ranking algorithm for a while now, but industry watchers predict it will become even more important. Think of the time and effort that went into making sure your site is SEO-optimized, or the money spent on Google Ads for keywords. You want your site to come up first in a user’s search. Adding the SSL certification could help raise your site’s profile online.

Google has been working on elevating https over http for a few years now. With the latest changes, Google’s taking steps to make the web more transparent and safe for users — and users learn to trust those safeguards. Now may be the time to get your site SSL secure.

Small Business Cyber Threats – Are You at Risk?

Cyber Attacks and Threats only happen to the big guys, right? Banks, .COM Retailers, big corporations, right?

Not so fast…. You’re at risk more than ever and it’s only going to get worse…

The reality is that as the big companies spend millions on cyber security, the bad guys are now setting their sights on easier targets… YOU! The Small Business guy!

According to companies like Verizon and UPS Capital:

  • Almost two-thirds of all cyber attacks are now directed at small business & Individuals.
  • 61% of breaches hit small businesses last year, up from the previous year’s 53%.
  • Cyber attacks cost small businesses an average of between $84K – $148K per incident.
  • 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of an attack.
  • 90% of small business don’t use data protection for company & customer information.

So what can you do to protect yourself? I’m not going to get technical here but I CAN break it down to two things to start off with.

  1. Protect your Data – that means working with your “computer guy” – whether it’s someone on staff or a vendor – and get security software installed on ALL of your computers, phones, tablets.. yep those too! Anything that connects to the internet in the office or in the field.
  2. Back-up your Data – Whether it’s a portable drive that you take with you off-site every night, or perhaps an online service like Carbonite, Crashplan or even DropBox… that backs up your data so it can’t be attacked or held hostage.

There’s so much more to this but hopefully this has you paying attention to it… Talk with your IT person or vendor to make sure you are protected and work with your team to:

  • Be aware and informed
  • Know the policies and procedures that your team will be following
  • Know the warning signs to look for if hacked and the steps that need to be taken if it does happen to your business.

Anyone out there experience a hack or have you taken some additional precautions you want to share? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Thanks, and I’ll see you next Thursday.

5 Quick Steps to Build a Risk Management Plan

Risk is an inherent part of all business — but it can be greater for certain professions, like remodelers. You must manage risk and mitigate bad situations. Use these 5 quick steps to start building your risk management plan.

1. Identify business risks.

There are several types of business risks (preventable, strategic, external, etc.). Once you become familiar with the various types, especially within your specific industry, you’re in better shape to plan for them.

2. Determine your company’s vulnerability for each risk.

Ask yourself: what are the odds that this particular risk will happen to my business? And how much does the company stand to lose as a result?

3. Incorporate these components into the plan.

  • Practice active prevention
    • Design work areas to reduce the chance of an accident
    • Educate employees on safe work practices and use of equipment
    • Check and service equipment on a regular basis
  • Monitor operational processes
    • Guide behaviors

4. Acquire the right types of insurance.

Insurance is a central part of risk management. Key types of insurance are:

  • Contractor’s Liability Insurance
  • General Business Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • State Disability Insurance

Contact your licensed insurance agent and/or attorney for advice on the type and amount of coverage that you should carry.

5. Monitor and adapt as needed.

  • Risk management plans should be reviewed and updated on regular basis
  • Review meetings should include the owners, department heads and (if warranted) a risk management consultant

Business Tip:  Many times, insurance companies will provide hands-on advice on mitigating new risks as they come along, with the goal of reducing payouts on claims.


Risk Management Watch-outs

Multiple studies have found that people overestimate their ability to influence events that, in fact, are heavily determined by chance. We tend to be overconfident about risk assessments and shortsighted in our assessment of the range of outcomes that could occur.

We often compound this problem with a confirmation bias, which drives us to favor information that supports our positions (typically successes) and suppress information that contradicts them (typically failures).

Risk management focuses on the negative rather than opportunities. It runs counter to the “can do” mentality of many contractors.

So don’t go too overboard on risk management. Often, it isn’t solved by establishing a long list of rules, but through appropriate job training, conversations, common sense, or just looking at a situation to determine the right thing to do.

The Most Overlooked Risk in Remodeling

One daily risk that remodelers typically overlook is jobsite dust. It’s more dangerous than you think.  Failing to manage jobsite dust poses health issues for BOTH your team and your clients. Not only that, but it also damages belongings & equipment, and can destroy your reputation.

You can eliminate this problem by making sure your company follows These Best Practices on how to contain jobsite dust.

So, grab a piece of paper, take a moment and begin the process by identifying your business risks right now!

Why You Need a Life Plan (and how to make one)

We feel that your business is primarily a tool to help you live the life you dream about. So, I guess it makes sense that the idea of Life Planning is currently a very popular topic among the members of our Roundtables Peer Groups.

So, what is Life Planning?

According to Wikipedia, “Life planning is a process by which an individual takes stock of his or her life, clarifies goals and challenges, and identifies the steps needed to move forward.”

Why do people do Life Plans? I asked a couple of our members about this.

David Girard, Principal of PeakVentures in Whistler, British Columbia said, “The life plan we created was born out of a necessity to link our business activities and our business plan to our personal life. It helped us gain an understanding of what we wanted out of running this crazy business . . . what motivates us to get up every day and do what we do. Creating a life plan forced us to develop personal goals for areas of our lives that, in some cases, didn’t have any former goals previously.”

Ken Kirsch, owner of MAK Design+Build in Davis, CA, added, “I compare it to working with a client. The first thing we ask them to do is to sit down together and write down their goals for the project. The simple act of writing goals is the first step in taking vague and unspoken ideas and bringing them into the real world. The same is true of a life plan.”

 

Do you have a life plan?

Don’t worry, it’s not like a 50-page business plan with maps and checklists. A life plan is meant to be a general summary of where you are now in all the areas that matter to you, where you want to improve and what you’d like your life to look like in the future.

Creating a life plan doesn’t have to be difficult or take hours to complete. But it can be worth some time if it helps you get the life you want, instead of chasing the wrong things and working hard, only to find that we have been following the wrong path.

 

So let’s get started

Begin by answering these questions:

1. How would I like to be remembered? One way to think of this is to visualize your own funeral. Imagine that you are listening to your spouse, your children, work colleagues, and friends, as they share their thoughts about you with all those gathered to say goodbye. A secondary benefit of this exercise is that it helps keep in mind that life is short!

2. How would I rate my life? – Are you satisfied with the way your life is right now? Somewhat satisfied? Not at all satisfied? Be honest. You don’t have to share it with anyone.

3. What are my personal priorities? Many people like to build this around categories that represent areas of importance, such as the bullets below.

  • Spouse
  • Family
  • Children
  • Friends
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Spiritual Life
  • Personal Health
  • Personal Happiness
  • Dreams

In each of these areas, write down where you are today and where you would like to be. Take some time and really think about this. Describe the ideal situation for each of these areas. As we know from business, it’s so much easier to accomplish something when you have a goal to shoot for.

Next, think about what needs to happen for you to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be a detailed action plan right now, just some general goals or ideas to work toward. You can get more detailed later, but you need to define a target. Consider what habits you’d like to adopt, what ways you might change your attitude or environment, and what resources might be needed.

Girard says, “Working on this plan together forced my spouse and I to talk about things that we hadn’t discussed much previously. It drove us to formalize a discussion about what we wanted in life. . . instead of plodding along without a true target to focus on.”

Kirsch commented, “Maintaining focus on the end goal gives purpose to daily decision-making within the business.”

 

But it’s not over yet

A life plan is meant to be a living document, as Roundtables member, Abe Degnan, president of Degnan Design Builders, Inc. said. “I keep it updated on a routine basis. It certainly is not going to be a static plan throughout our lifetime as we are young. Our goals will change, and the plan will change with it.”

While it might be challenging to drill into your life in this way, when it comes down to it, if a life plan will help you live more fully in every area of your life, isn’t it worth the effort?

 

What about you?

Do you have a Life Plan? Why did you feel it would be a helpful exercise? How has your life changed because of it?

How to Say “I Don’t Know” Without Losing Face

Between my brother and me, we know everything. The answer to your last question… well, that’s one my brother knows.

In all jobs – especially remodeling – there will be times when you don’t know the answer to something. In and of itself, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it can cause major problems for you and your company if not handled properly.

What’s the big deal?

In my first year with Remodelers Advantage, the president of the company, Victoria Downing, called me into her office and said she would like me to start speaking at our workshops.

Though I was flattered, the thought of standing in front of a room full of people to talk about marketing scared me. It’s not because I didn’t know my stuff. To the contrary. The whole reason she was asking me to speak was that I “knew my stuff.”

It wasn’t because I suffered from stage fright either. I didn’t become a stuttering, quivering mess the moment I walked out on stage.

No, the reason I was anxious (I later realized) was the fear that someone might ask me a question that I couldn’t answer. I mean, I am supposed to be the expert up there, right? Wouldn’t I lose all credibility if I couldn’t answer any and all questions hurled my way?

My trepidation eased the day of the workshop: immediately after having heard Judith Miller’s first session.

She’s fantastic. Arguably one of the top three financial minds in the remodeling industry. During that session, she didn’t have the answer not once, but twice.

I soon realized how silly I was being.

Judith’s expertise and credibility weren’t diminished in the least. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Her credibility was elevated. How is that possible?

In today’s post, I’ll share the why, the what and the how of saying I don’t know without losing face and sounding like a lost fool.

Why you can say it

Why did Judith’s inability to answer a question not negatively impact her credibility? Well, for one thing, she’s a very smart cookie. She wrote the book on QuickBooks for remodelers (literally), and she conveyed that knowledge throughout her presentations.

So the first point to be made here is that you can’t just be clueless all the time. These tips aren’t going to help you if you are unprepared and unknowledgeable.

As long as you’re in control and well informed most of the time you’ll be allowed to say I don’t know when the occasion arises.

Remember, there’s a big difference between not knowing everything and not knowing anything.

What to say

All that said, it’s rarely a good idea to just come right out and say, “I don’t know.” Intelligent, well-informed people handle the situation better than that. Here are a few ways to respond based on the three most common scenarios.

1. When you should know the answer but don’t

Let me be sure I understand your question. You want to know . . . 

Restating the question is one of the best things you can do when you’re on the spot. It accomplishes two things: first, it buys you some time to either recall the answer or craft your response, and second it verifies you’ve got the question right. Sometimes this will result in a further clarification by the questioner which can help you recall the answer.

Based on what I know right now, my best-educated estimate is . . .

There’s a tendency by some to want to answer a question in full or not reply at all. Bad idea.

If you can contribute anything to the questioner, you should do so as soon as possible. Firstly, you’re not satisfying their need for information. But more importantly, you may end up dodging and avoiding the person until you know all the answers.

This can be very problematic–especially if the questioner is the client.

That’s good timing! I’m actually gathering that information right now. I should have an answer to you by . . .

This is a good way to show that although you don’t know the answer, you’re aware of the situation and are working on it. The key here is setting a “due date.” It reinforces in the questioner’s mind that this is something you are actively working on. Just be sure to be specific! Saying, “I’ll get back to you next week sometime,” will sound like you’re not in control or you’re blowing them off.

2. When it’s not something you should be expected to know.

Sometimes people just ask the wrong person. For example, if you’re the lead carpenter on a project and the homeowner asks you, “did you guys deposit my check yesterday?” It’s unlikely you would (or should) know the answer to that question. Here are a few ways to handle this situation.

Sorry, I’m not the best person to answer that. You should talk to ______. Would you like his number?

That’s not something I’m involved with, but if you like, I could make some calls and get that answer for you.

3. When you know just enough to be dangerous.

When someone asks you a question that’s not your area of expertise, but you have some knowledge about it, that’s when you can really get into trouble. The worst part about this situation is that many times you’re just trying to help by providing what little insight you have.

This is particularly common when the questioner is your boss or your client.

The best thing to do here is to use the responses outlined in the previous section; refer the questioner to the subject matter expert.

If, however, you’re determined to go down this path, you need to be sure to include “disclaimers” in your response, so the questioner is fully aware of your position on the matter. For example:

What I do know is ______, but I don’t know ________. I suggest you speak with ______.

Using this cadence protects the questioner from taking your response as gospel. The second part underscores that there are pieces of the puzzle that are missing (in other words they don’t have the whole picture), and the third part is giving them a resource. The questioner will greatly appreciate your honesty and eagerness to help.

How to say it

keep calm and gain credibilityThe one thing that all industry experts and thought leaders have in common is not only that they’re willing and able to say “I don’t know,” but how they say it.

Whenever you’re asked a question that stumps you, you must remain calm, cool and collected. Your body language and facial expression must convey as much.

And finally, your response – whatever it may be – should be delivered with confidence and class.

If you’re secure in yourself and your overall competence, then you will never diminish your credibility by not having the answer at your fingertips.

As I said earlier, the opposite is true.

Your audience (even an audience of one) knows deep down that you can’t possibly have every answer to every question. When you say I don’t know with confidence and class, they tap into that knowledge. What results is greater credibility and respect for you.

To this day, not one speaking engagement goes by where I’m not asked a question that catches me off guard. And it’s okay.

What about you?

Do you have any advice for saying I don’t know without sounding clueless? Please share your tips in the comments below!

9 Keys to a Company Wellness Plan

length 3:39 (not including bonus content)

Have you ever wished you were in better physical shape? Do you find yourself watching your weight at home but totally ignore calories when you’re at work? Or are you working so much that you’re not taking the time you need to work out and be healthy?

Well, in this week’s episode, I’ll give you a blueprint for creating a company-wide wellness plan that’s sure to get everyone in shape! A huge thank you to the Bellamy Construction team for inspiring this awesome episode of PowerTips TV!

What about you?

Do you have any other suggestions on how to implement a wellness plan for your team? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!


Pricing on Your Website? Don’t Do It!

A couple of weeks ago I received a guest contributor submission from one of our Marketplace partners, Brian Brauntuch of EVEN Financial. The moment I opened the draft and read the title, 3 Reasons to Put Prices on your Website, I recognized it would be controversial to say the least. I had my reservations about publishing the submission, but in the end, I chose not to let my personal opinions dictate.

That’s the thing about marketing: there is rarely a right or wrong. I like to think of various strategies and tactics that come my way as merely different approaches.

(I’ve seen it many times. Something will fail miserably for one company yet work flawlessly for others.)

But back to Brian’s article. It went out in our PowerTips newsletter and, as I predicted, the comments lit up pretty quickly. Some good. Some bad.

In addition, I received an email from Chris Stebnitz of Stebnitz Builders. He had some strong opinions about the topic and wanted to get it off his chest. He was so passionate in his response, I thought I should share his perspective on the idea of posting prices on your website.

And so, with his permission, I’ve published his email as a counter-point to Brian’s article. (And yes, the email included all the screenshots you see below.) Enjoy:


Mark,

Remodelers Advantage ran an article this week by Brian Bauntuch on the “transparency of pricing” and how professional remodelers needed to catch up with the shopping habits of today’s more tech-savvy consumer. After reading it several times, I was left with the reality that I was so opposed to this position and that it was so far off from the reality I knew, I needed to pen a response.

So, in the interest of fairness, I figured I should give this concept of transparent pricing a fair shot. Maybe people CAN go online and find realistic and reliable information on the internet to give them an idea of what a professional service should provide and at what price. I did as Brian had indicated everyone can do – a simple search online to find out the cost of hiring a professional be it remodeling, finance, tax preparation or even a lawyer.

My search was: “How much does it cost to complete my business tax preparation”

how much to complete tax prep

I took the first website Google gave me, right after the paid ads. Small Business Cost Helper sounded perfect for what I was looking for.

But, before I could get very far, I realized this was anything but the clear-cut answer Brian promised was out there.

  1. First thing (in yellow below) I noticed was “Low $250” to “High $2,000+.” I’m certain those are similar services. You know, like how similar the steak filler at Taco Bell is to a Ruth’s Chris NY Strip. (Plus, can you really get away with telling potential clients that their kitchen remodel may cost, Low: $10,000 and High: $100,000+? How would this ever be useful?)
  2. Next (in purple below) notice the statement “Charges…vary depending on the complexity, the size of the firm and kind of the business.”  Looks like this site doesn’t believe it’s quite so easy to price this professional service.huge price ranges!
  3. And there’s so much more. The first bullet says that tax forms are “usually included.” Does this mean I could be charged as high as $2,000 and then get jacked up for additional fees?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you take the time to read through the page, you’ll see the word “depending” throughout. Which effectively nullifies any statement the sentence is making. I could go on but I think you see my point.

Actually, one last thing on debunking the myth of professional service pricing over the internet. Check out the website for Ruth’s Chris Steak House. You’ll find no pricing! (With the exception of a “Season Favorite’s Special”). How can this be? I thought everybody was doing this. I thought the public demanded this transparency before making a decision.

If you’ve read [my email] this far, Mark, then thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to let me vent and present my reality.

I realize R.A. used Bauntuch’s column as a launching pad for conversation. But, to newer members, or those just starting out in business, it looks like you endorse it as a “new movement.”

I think these business owners should be made aware of the drastic difference between comparing the price of  “Liver and Gizzards Snacks” with pricing the services of a professional remodeling contractor.

Chris Stebnitz, Stebnitz Builders


Conclusion

So, there you have it. A passionate remodeler’s opinion on putting pricing on your website.

Now to be fair to Brian, I think it should be restated that his original point was that you should make an effort to give your website visitors a general idea of what to expect.

As he wrote, “It is clearly impossible to estimate an exact cost for any project without hearing more from the customer, but your customers will understand and reward your efforts by giving you their business. You’ll be surprised – a little transparency will go a long way.

And to be fair to us, I don’t know that we “endorsed” it. In fact the email that went out said: “[here is] a very interesting take on a contentious subject. See what you think!”

So, I recommend you read through both articles (and their comments) and determine which strategy works best for you.

Thanks for reading and remember… Opinions expressed by PowerTips Contributors are their own. 🙂

See you next week.

3 Reasons to Put Prices on your Website

Imagine walking into an upscale restaurant on a Saturday night. You’re willing to spend $75. That should include an appetizer, an entree, two drinks and maybe a dessert if it fits within the budget. There’s only one problem: the restaurant’s menu doesn’t have any prices listed.

Based on reviews you’ve read, it would seem the pricing is arbitrary because patrons are reporting paying different prices for the very same dishes. Apparently, the only way to estimate the cost of each item is to have the waiter and chef consult on a “fair price” for each guest that evening.

This is a pretty frustrating scenario, isn’t it? Of course it is. But it should also sound very familiar. This is the experience that most customers have when looking to remodel their home. It’s unlike virtually any other purchasing experience they will have.

We live in an age where any information you need is just one Google search away. As a result, the consumer experience has now become entirely transparent – when a customer is looking to purchase an item on Amazon, they can clearly see the price and customer reviews for any product Amazon offers.

sample amazon reviews

We see this change happening in the financial world, where consumers demand to know any and all fees associated with a financing option or a mortgage before they choose one. More and more consumers are looking to comparison shop to find the best financing options.

As difficult as it may be to create, consumers want the same experience from you. Before they request an estimate, they want to have a good understanding of how much it will cost them. Remodeling is scary to a consumer because it is 1) a big commitment both in terms of time and cost and 2) difficult to translate a vision into a price without the help of a professional.

So why should you attempt to provide definitive cost ranges of projects on your website, given that there are an infinite number of variables that go into an estimate? Here are three important reasons:

  • You’ll win more business through trust: Given that this is likely a first-time customer, they are overly cautious to make sure they are not getting ripped off. By being upfront and transparent, you are showing that you have nothing to hide and will be honest throughout the entire process. This will drive more sales and make a customer more willing to commit to a higher budget.
  • They’ll make faster decisions: If a customer has a good sense of cost per item ahead of time, they will spend less time weighing options with your sales team and feel more empowered to make the yes/no decision at the end of the consultation.
  • They’ll be more satisfied: According to the McKinsey Global Institute, Banks have reaped the benefits of improved customer satisfaction and increased sales by making data available to customers online. The effect will be the same for your business if you make costs and other information readily accessible to the customer.

It is clearly impossible to estimate an exact cost for any project without hearing more from the customer, but your customers will understand and reward your efforts by giving you their business. You’ll be surprised – a little transparency will go a long way.


Opinions expressed by PowerTips Contributors are their own.