Contractor’s Tip: 5 ways to guide your clients through product selection

As the saying goes, time is money. If your clients are having a hard time making key material selections, it can hold up the entire project. Here are five ways you can help expedite the process.

Nail down the look

Before your clients can start choosing materials, they need to decide what type of look they’re going for. Are they traditionalists who won’t really be comfortable with a modern, boxy design? Or does the avant-garde speak to them? You can’t start selecting materials until this key question is answered.

Push for a designer

As a builder, you want to focus on constructing houses rather than spending time helping your clients make design and décor decisions. If your client can afford it, encourage them to consider working with an interior designer. You may be sacrificing some markups on product orders, but you’ll be able to focus on what you do best. Experienced designers will understand the timelines you’re working with and keep the clients on track. Shouldice Designer Stone’s Visualizer tool will help clients see exactly how their choices will look.

Formalize your processes

If you are going to be involved in material selection, you should have a process in place. If you’re not already using a construction project management software system, create some customized templates to do the job. No two projects are exactly the same, but they will often require many of the same fixtures and finishes. To keep yourself organized and make sure you don’t forget anything, develop room-by-room checklists for the entire house.

You also need a formalized change order system. Paperwork can drive you nuts, but it’s key to keeping your sanity if a client sees something and says, “That’s not what I ordered.”

Educate your clients

Many clients don’t realize the implications of delaying a decision by “just a week or two,” and the spillover effects it can have on other parts of the project. So, when critical decisions need to be made quickly, you need to spell out why. During your initial planning meetings flag any ongoing supply chain issues that may affect the project. Some window and appliance manufacturers, for example, have months-long back orders.

Minimize the options

Too many choices can be crippling for many clients. Once you know their budget and style, narrow down the choices they need to make. For the exterior, if your client is going for a classic look, suggest something like our Shale Stone. The variety of shapes and sizes – from small squares to large rectangles – and colours that range from light greys to rich browns make it the perfect choice for a non-linear design. On the other hand, the uniform, clean lines of Urban Brick Smooth in either a light Polar or dark Galaxy are perfect for a modern style. You’ll also have the peace of mind of knowing that all of our standard products are always in stock.

For more tips on how to streamline your next project, read more of our blogs.