Developing Repeat Business

By Robert Robillard on Contractor Advice

Rob Robillard and Phil Benevides

Repeat Customers Are Key

In this economy of bankruptcy and unemployment, it’s been very difficult developing repeat business.  For me, that means finding new remodeling clients. Now more than ever is a time for re-modelers to take a step back and look to their past clients as their most lucrative and successful leads.  Take the time to identify good business habits that will bring you more work.

Keys Today For Remodeling Success

Past clients know you and your work, you know them, and if you’ve done a good job you have instant credibility.

Past clients will often call and ask, “when can you do this…” without wanting or needing to go through a three bid process, hours of researching and typing a proposal, subsequent meetings, etc.

A benefit of working for past clients is that you know their house and are familiar with their family’s lifestyle and school/work patterns.


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Getting Face Time With Past Clients

A key to working again with past clients is to get and maintain face time with them. Getting face time with these customers can be accomplished in several ways:

Emailing clients:

Get in the habit of emailing your past clients twice a year. One mailing may discuss or remind them about fall or spring maintenance and the other may highlight a recent project you did with a list of services you provide.

Thank you / Gift cards:

Lots of companies give out gift cards to thank past customers for referrals. Or Instead of giving out a $50 or $100 gift card for an expensive dinner somewhere spend that money on cards for the local coffee shop. That way, your client will get multiple uses out of the card and think of you every time they use it.

Mailing cards:

Keeping in touch with past clients through things such as Christmas cards, thank you notes for referrals and periodic letters.

Handyman and maintenance work:

Every homeowner has little projects that need doing and this also increases “face time” with your clients.

Setting up a reward program with your clients for any referral and rewarding them with two hours’ worth of handyman labor.

The program not only drives referrals but often also leads to additional business from the referring clients who may need more work done.

I’m the first to say that my existing clients are a great source of referrals. The difficult challenge, as contractors, is that our existing clients don’t think of us every day! As a result, they are not our best chance for a referral to new clients.

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Develop Contractor Referrals:

Another way to assist you in developing a repeating business is to look at your contractor base.  An excellent referral source is other contractor businesses that sell to the same target customer.

They are your non-competing businesses like your sub-contractors; electrician, plumber, painter, decorators, architects, lumberyard salespeople, landscape contractor, etc., are your best chance for continual referrals.

I get more jobs from referrals from my painter, Mark at O’Lalor Painting, than almost any other source! I, in turn, refer to him as well.

Just as we try to attract past clients to call us back for our services we should be educating, motivating and solicit referrals from our fellow trade’s people.


~ concord carpenter

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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