As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

Why Contractors Should Strive for Excellence

I have many clients who tell me that they've never been sued. If a problem develops, they work with their clients and try to resolve it. Working as a contractor who does new construction or remodeling has never been harder. Clients turn to the internet and believe they know how to do it faster, better and less expensively. They are savvy consumers who monitor time spent on the job and costs of materials.  Sometimes they work at home and keep close tabs on the work. The pressure on contractors is enormous, and in some cases, can make them discouraged and less motivated to do their best. Despite working in a stressful profession, contractors should always strive to do their best; even if the owner is very, very difficult.

The reason for this is simple. A contractor or construction company's reputation can make or break his business. I have had clients receive bad reviews on known websites and seen them severely damage their financial condition. Unfair as it may seem, once a bad review is posted, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove. We all seem to remember the bad reviews even if there are numerous good ones.
Marketing literature says getting a new client is hard. It is much easier to get new business from an old client, so it is important to keep the relationship on good terms. In addition, most established businesses get their work through word-of-mouth. In that respect, you are only as good as your last job. References are everything.
On that note, the other day I heard a story that amazed me. As part of my practice, I coach my clients on how to deal with difficult clients. Some have had the door slammed in their faces, the locks changed, received nasty emails or been wrongfully terminated. One client was having repeated issues with a job, but he handled every insult with class and respect. He never challenged the owner head on, followed through with his promises and asked for payment nicely. Meanwhile, he never knew what was coming next.
Imagine his surprise when he overheard the owner telling a friend what a great job his company had done! After all his trouble, this same client was giving him an excellent review and the opportunity for future referrals. So, the next time you want to throw up your arms and walk off the job, keep this in mind. It is really worth it to always strive for excellence.

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