6 ways to score great reviews and more business

Many contractors develop counterproductive habits that can make a bad situation worse. But the successful contractors are those who are willing to work hard to overcome their worst habits. Even businesspeople with Olympic skills and a drive for perfection will suffer if they alienate customers with their thoughtless behaviors. With that in mind, enjoy the following list of bad habits to un-learn in order to score great reviews and booming sales for your small business.

#1: Don't be flaky
Don't change appointments on customers at the last minute. Always show up when you said you would. Be perfectly punctual – that is, ten minutes early every time. It shows that your company is well organized, which the customer will interpret as the standard of what to expect going forward.

#2: Stay on budget
If there is one habit you should shut down, it's going over budget. There's no more surefire way to lose customers. Yet it's not only novice contractors who have a bad habit of driving up the cost of a project. Many a talented entrepreneur has been sadly foiled by this unwarranted practice. Train yourself to maintain budgetary discipline at all times, and watch the positive reviews rack up.

#3: Over-communicate
Of course, you can't always control the wild cards, like bad weather, late deliveries and unexpected costs. If the project budget changes, don't avoid the customer. Keep them up to speed on all important developments to the best of your ability. The best contractors are those that can communicate on an interpersonal as well as professional level. You never want to leave the customer in the dark about how much money they're spending.

#4: Share the risk
Demanding all your money up front is a really bad practice. If you are working with first-time customers, they don't know if they can trust you yet. Even if you're working with repeat customers and have a stellar resume to back up your demands, you'll cultivate a much better reputation by agreeing to share the risk. Require a deposit in the beginning for your own security, and be paid in full when the project has been completed in full.

#5: Clear your footprint
Never leave a mess on someone else's property. You can only expect customers to recommend you as a qualified professional if you demonstrate professional behavior, and keeping things as tidy as possible is a big part of that. Even if you are working on the same job for many days in a row, take the time after every shift to remove all trash, debris and tools, and organize the space a little.

#6: Mind the details
Many habits are so engrained, we just don't notice them. Only you can recognize your worst habits. Do you take up all of a customer’s driveway space with your muddy big rig? Do you warn those in the proximity when very loud noises are about to occur? Sometimes, it's the little things. Try to maintain a steady awareness of everything that happens in the course of a workday. Don't just zone out; it could be costing you great reviews and more business.

For over 40 years, American Home Shield has helped homeowners protect their appliances and systems through the nation’s largest network of independent, pre-screened home service professionals.