The Top 10 Ways to Be the Best Contractor You Can Be

1. Know the product that you are installing.

Attend manufacturers training programs — and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many manufactures have local support specialists who can give you technical and product assistance. Most will have product samples to show you and your customer. You can sell a product more effectively when you are confident about it. Knowledge is key!

2. Pick a few manufacturers' products and stick with them.

This will help in managing your product inventory. It will also allow you to buy in bulk, saving you money and increasing your profitability. Stay up to date with new product releases and/or discontinued products so you can plan. Having a relationship with the manufacturers’ representative is very important.

3. Leave the job cleaner than you found it.

A shop vac, rake, and broom are useful tools to tidy up a job site. Sometimes it may be necessary to clean up for a contractor that might be doing another job on the same site. Do so graciously; they may not be as courteous as you are. A happy customer will lead to more referrals!

4. Be respectful of the owner's property and privacy.

Never discuss the home, its contents, or customers’ names with anyone. Only go inside a home or outbuilding if invited in by the owners. Make sure your vendors or manufacturers’ representatives only visit job sites when you are there — and advise the owners in advance.

5. Be organized

Take time each day to clean out your truck and put tools away neatly. Make notes of the day’s activities. We do not all get a chance to bill daily. When you do get time to bill, you can reference your notes. This effort will help you get paid for work you did.

6. Learn and develop the best installation techniques.

Sometimes techniques are mastered over many years, but a lot can be learned by listening to the advice of your peers at trade specific shows. Communicate with contractors across the country. Be friendly to your competitors; you can learn from them.

7. Look the part.

You and your whole team, including your equipment, should look neat and clean. You and your employees should have company attire. Your equipment does not need to be new, but if it does not look well cared-for, what does that say about the jobs you install?

8. Communicate!

Return phone calls and emails in a timely fashion. Quick turnaround on estimates is always a plus. You will win jobs simply by getting back to a customer before others do so! Try to see things from your customer’s perspective: The job you are doing for them might not be a huge deal to you, but to your customer, it is their whole world. From the customer’s perspective, any amount of money is an investment. Your customer needs to know they are at the top of your list. Make them feel happy they chose you!

9. Give back to others.

Get involved with your local community. When asked to donate time, product, or effort — do so. It will come back to you tenfold.

10. Live by "The Golden Rule."

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, always treat people fairly, honestly, and with integrity. Your character drives your business.