Home Improvement Contractors – Get More Referrals With These Customer Care Tips

Complaints against home improvement contractors and construction contractors regularly rank in the top five complaint categories of annual consumer affairs surveys, reports the Consumer Federation of America National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators. The most complaints received from customers involve poor construction contractor work quality, and inaccurate completion estimates. Ensuring a positive home improvement experience for your customer leads to future referrals.

To present your company as honest and well run, you’ll want to ensure you’re providing your potential customers the following information when you have your first formal meeting.

• Copies of your state license and registration
• Correct and current contact information for at least three references in your customers area
• Proof of contractor’s insurance
• Copies of any professional certifications you earned

Explain the significance of each item so your customers feel engaged in the construction process and don’t feel like you’re unnecessarily increasing costs. For example, if presenting a copy of your professional certification from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), explain to the customer that NARI only awards s certificate to established, professional contractors with a clean background checks who’ve passed a written comprehension examination.

Providing yours customer with the above items upfront says:

• You and your company are organized and proactive in attitude.
• You and your business are transparent and in compliance with the necessary regulations.

Pricing Transparency

Low-ball price estimates might attract initial interest, but they won’t boost your client referral rate in the long-term. Customers are less likely to feel cheated if they understand the pricing details before you begin the project. Review the price estimate with your customers and explain why a specific brand or material type is necessary for the project. Always provide a print-out of your comprehensive estimate along with a basic contract that includes the following information.

• A fully itemized list of estimated required materials including the brand and quantity.
• Estimated hours
• Total anticipated cost
• Also include possible scenarios that may increase costs such as discovering mold or unexpected rotten boards.

During Construction

• Check in with your customers frequently throughout the project. Inform them immediately of any unexpected obstacles and explain how this will affect the project price or timeline.
• Contain your construction-related mess whenever possible. A simple tarp or clear panel over the doorway keeps your customers from inhaling dust and residue. Always ask the customers’ permission before moving furniture or altering the home beyond the scope of the project.

After Construction

• A construction contractor with integrity will call customers within a few weeks of completing the project to answer any questions or concerns they have and address them as necessary.
• Provide extra business cards to make referring your services easy.

Distinguishing yourself professionally as one of the best home improvement contractors through superior customer service will ensure future business opportunities.

Home Equity Loan – What Is It?

Home Equity Loan

A home equitiy loan is a loan that you can take by keeping the equitiy that you hold in your home as collateral. To understand this we need to know what Home Equitiy is and what Collateral is.

Home Equity is nothing but how much of the value of the home actually belongs to you and for which you have paid. Let’s take an example to understand this, suppose you buy a home giving a down payment for $20000 and the value of the house is $200000 today. The rest you will have to pay in mortgages. So your equity today is $20000. Now say after a year the house appreciates to $250000, you have been paying your monthly installments and the part of the principal (apart from interest) in your installments has been $5000 for the last year. So the value of your equitiy becomes the principal that you paid till now that is $25000 plus the appreciation of the home which is $50000 because that is also yours. So your total Home Equity is $75000.

Simply put that part of the house which you have paid for plus the appreciation. Collateral is the property that you pledge as a guarantee for the debt. This means that if you don’t repay the debt the lender will take hold of the property and sell it to get his money back.

So to reinstate a Home Equitiy loan is a loan that you take keeping that part of your home as a security which you have already paid for and if you fail to repay the loan the lender will have the right to take possession of your home and sell it off to get his money.

Most of the time these loans have a repayment time of less than 15 years and is taken as one lump sum and once taken have to be paid off with a specified amount every month with a fixed rate of interest.

The interest that you pay on home equitiy loans may also be tax deductible but that depends on your current situation and you would have to take advice from your tax advisor to get an accurate picture of the same. Another benefit of course is that since this will be a secured debt you can get this for doing anything like buying a boat or taking a vacation and at competitive interest rates. This is because the loan is risk free for the lender as he has rights over your home and can sell it off to get his money back.

However buying a boat is hardly advisable!

The real benefit of this loan accrues from two facts – one is that it is risk free from the lender’s point of view and so is got at a competitive rate. Another is that in today’s scenario the value of the houses of most people have gone up and because of that they can borrow significantly more (based on appreciation) than what they actually had paid for.

To take full advantage of this rise in prices the best way is to consolidate your other debt and pay it off using a Home Equitiy loan. Simply put take this low interest rate debt and pay off your higher interest debts and reduce your cash outflow on interest repayments, this would lead to a situation for you where you are paying lesser for the same amount of debt than you already are. However, you can spend this money in any way you wish be it home improvements or holidays. It is generally easy to get this loan and generally no appraisal is required.

Some companies are also offering Home Equitiy loans online and you can apply for them free online, get it approved online as well and get the cash in around 10 days or so.

While this is a good way to consolidate your debt and take advantage of the rise in prices in your home the lure of easy money is always dangerous and as such you should be careful what you are going to do with this money given that you are pledging your Home Equity which might well be the most valuable asset you own both financially as well as emotionally.