Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Three Indicators of A Bad Contractor

Lizzio Development Group has a long history of working in the construction business, and we know how to tell a good contractor from a bad one.  If you're thinking about hiring a contractor to work on your home, make sure to be wary of these actions.

Pressure To Sign

Every contractor wants to sign on a new client, but their potential clients shouldn't feel like they were forced to sign a contract before they felt ready to.  High pressure sales tactics aren't just uncomfortable for the customer; they also are a significant red flag about a business' reputation and standing.  Clients need time to be able to decide on whether or not a building plan and business agreement with their potential contractor is what is right their needs.  Pushy sales tactics could be a sign that the contractor is trying to get you into a legally binding agreement that could cause trouble in the future. 

Lack of References

You wouldn't go to a job interview without a list of references or a few letters of recommendation, and you shouldn't hire contractor that can't provide you with a solid list of references.  Good references and satisfied customers are crucial for every business, and any contractor you use should have some proof that they've been able to do good work and please their past customers.  If your potential contractor doesn't have references or refuses to provide them, you need to look for a different contractor to work with.

No Proof of License

Luckily it's easy for Tennessee residents to find out if they're working with a licensed contractor or not.  The state government has a website where you can easily verify if the contractor you're working with is licensed or not.  Never work with a contractor that isn't currently licensed to do work in the state.  You can lose your license for a variety of reasons, and if the contractor you're thinking about using doesn't have one it's a big indication that they won't be able to properly do their job.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Three Things To Avoid When Trying To Get Ratings and Reviews

Sometimes the sleekest ad campaigns and marketing techniques are no match for good PR from your customers.  At Custom Smart Homes reviews and ratings play an important role in improving our services and getting other potential customers.  There are a lot of businesses that try to get their customers to write ratings and reviews, but there are some seemingly helpful things you can do that end up doing more harm than good.

Avoid Over Using Incentives

A lot of businesses offer their customers something in return if they write up reviews and rate their business.  This may seem like a good way to get your customers to offer their opinions, but if you want genuine reviews you should avoid relying on incentives.  There are quite a few of your loyal customers that would be more than happy to write a review for your business, and their answers won't be affected by whether you're giving them free things or not.  A free item or service once in a while can be a great way to drum up some reviews, but if you rely on it too much you won't get the kind of genuine reviews and ratings that you want.

Avoid Pushing Yelp

Yelp is one of the most trusted consumer review and rating sites around, and there isn't a business owner in 2013 that doesn't want to have a Yelp profile that's full of positive reviews.  You may feel tempted to encourage your customers to go on Yelp and write a positive review for your business, but having your customers sign up for Yelp to post one review can hurt you in the long run.  Yelp spam filters usually remove reviews that are posted from inactive accounts, so your customers will be doing work for nothing.  If you have some regulars that are dedicated Yelpers trust them to do it on their own.

Avoid Posting Responses Right Away

Promptness is an important factor in customer service, but you should let a little time pass before you or an employee responds to a negative review or rating.  A lot of rating and review websites operate like a forum, and anybody is free to register and offer their opinions about a poster's review.  A lot of businesses have their own accounts on these websites so that they can publicly respond to their customers who have given them negative reviews.  If done properly this can be an excellent way for you to show your customers that you care about their opinions, but if these are written in the heat of the moment you may not come across as you'd like to.  A little bit of time can do a lot to help take the emotion out of a situation and provide a lot of clarity on the best way to respond.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Home Building 101: Picking a Site and Setting Financial Goals

 At Custom Smart Homes we work together with our clients so that we can help them build the green home that they've always wanted.  Since our clients are working with professional certified green home builders and are getting Nationwide designed homes, a lot of the difficult planning aspects of building a home are already covered.  We'll be able to help you and offer advice throughout the entire construction process, but there are some pieces of home building advice that you should know right off the bat.

Picking a Nice Area

A lot of preparation and research should go into choosing the plot of land you want to build your home on.  When it comes to choosing a home location, you need to think about what you want to get out of your new home.  Do you want to have a home that's located near your job?  Do you want a home that's located near public transportation or the local downtown area?  These are all important factors to consider.  The website has been helping home owners decide where to build their new homes for years.  The website will tell you everything you need to know about the local area, and could even help you find a place that's more suited to your interests.

Financing the Project

A construction budget should be set in stone, but there are some unexpected things that could occur that may change your original financial plans.  Instead of setting a hard number to stick to, it would be much more realistic to come up with a range of prices to stay in.  Sit down and think of each aspect of construction that needs to be financed.  Then look at your finances and determine which things you're willing to spend a little more on, and which things you need to stick to a close budget on.