Tradie tips: What if the client’s got it wrong?

Sometimes, your clients will have truly awful home decorating ideas.

Not everyone will be as clued up about the best approach to renovating their properties. That's not to say people aren't dedicated to redecorating their homes – they just might need a gentle nudge about the best approach. 

As a painter, you'll have a sound understanding of the best application methods and colour choices. Plus, you'll likely have an extensive understanding of paint products on the market, and which ones are right for the job at hand. 

Sometimes, it can be hard to explain to a client that they've got it wrong. Here are some approaches that will help reiterate to clients that they might not be making the best decision!

1. Take a step back

Before you launch into a tirade about a client's paint or curtain choice, step back for a moment. Being able to appreciate different preferences will come in handy. 

If a client wants to paint their kitchen bright orange and hopes to sell their home in six months time, it's worth gently explaining that this hue could decrease their pool of interested buyers. If a client is keen to explore an interior design trend that you're not a big fan of, pause before you dismiss their idea.  

In the world of home renovations and design, you're bound to deal with clients who have different tastes to you. If there's a negative ramification from undertaking particular renovations, tell the customer this. However, if their suggestions are simply different to your personal design aesthetic, appreciate their own creativity!

2. Say yes… with conditions

Sure, some clients will suggest things are just plain silly. If someone is asking you to skip necessary preparatory steps before painting their property's exterior, you'll be understandably hesitant to take on the job. 

However, clients don't want to hear you say no. Instead, rephrase your response so your client knows they're being listened to.

Tell them you'd be happy to take the job on and are impressed with their colour choice, for instance. Then, follow this positive reinforcement with your caveat. In this example, you will need to explain the importance of completing the appropriate steps before applying the paint colour. Once you present your clients with well-reasoned explanations, they're less likely to see you as someone who says no. Instead, you'll be viewed as a trusted professional.

3. Be confident

If you're convinced a client's home decorating ideas are sub par or there's simply a better choice open with them, you need to be confident about your convictions. 

In order to make your voice heard, it's essential to explain the options clearly, with reasons to back up your suggestions. You may find that with many years of experience under your belt, you're already confident at explaining why certain approaches work better than others. 

4. Don't compromise on quality

A client might want you to do a paint job for them that seems straightforward enough – until they give you a ridiculously tight deadline. 

However, you might really want to take the job on. You're instantly presented with a conflict. One one hand, there's a financial benefit. One the other, you might not do a proper job or you may fall behind with other clients' tasks. 

While it's great to keep your clients happy and say yes to jobs, you should never compromise on quality. This could come back to bite you if clients – despite their requests for a quick job – spread negative word of mouth comments about you. 

Be upfront with a client in this example and explain why you can't complete the job per their timeline. If you emphasise that you're pressed for time because other homeowners have hired your services, this may show the client that you're great at your job, and worth waiting for. 

Just be sure to suggest a time you can complete the job by, and follow up your offer.

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