How to Avoid Callbacks (and Other Customer Service Tips)

Avoid callbacks. Increase repeat business. Generate more referrals. These are must-read tips for all painting contractors, but they also apply to most business owners.

In the painting business, callbacks are profit killers. The good news is that most callbacks can be avoided by using the best products, building trust with your clients through better communication, and always trying to exceed expectations.

Remember the contractors golden rule: “Happy customers are repeat customers.” Here are some great tips to keep your customers happy and avoid callbacks.

Painter working with a customer | Construction Pro TipsShutterstock

Educate Customers Through Communication

Communication leads to trust, so open the dialog as soon as possible and continue it as the project progresses, the more information the better. Here are just a few of the things you and your client should be discussing:

  • Describe in detail how the entire process will take place
  • Discuss the possibilities of delays due to weather, other subs, or potentially damaged surfaces
  • Talk about start and finish times and point out any inconveniences the client may experience during the process
  • Distinguish yourself from the competition and build confidence by pointing out that you only use the highest quality products
  • Talk about color variation due to changes in lighting
  • Provide realistic expectations about surface performances and longevity
  • Convey any information that will eliminate surprises—surprises are rarely a good thing
  • Respond in a timely manner
  • There’s no such thing as too much information.

Painter rolling paint onto walls | Construction Pro Tips

Stick to Painting

Often times a pro painter encounters a job that falls out of their area of expertise like carpentry and electrical work. This is especially common on exterior paint projects where rotted wood and light fixtures that need replacing are frequent occurrences.

Instead of agreeing to take on major wood repairs or even replacing a simple floodlight, recommend they call a carpenter or electrician. Better yet do a little networking and build relationships with other trade professionals that you can recommend and who would be willing to recommend you.

Three types of paint application tools | Construction Pro Tips

Use Pro-Caliber Products and Tools

  • It’s impossible to achieve a pro-quality results with inferior tools
  • Poor results will negatively affect your reputation
  • Cheaper products will cost you more by lowering productivity

Dusting a ceiling fan with a paint roller | Construction Pro Tips

Leave it Better Than You Found it

Whether a general contractor or homeowner, your clients are guaranteed to sing your praises if you take just a small amount of time to give them a little “extra something.” They’ll also be much more understanding if a problem does arise. Here are few examples:

  • Lube a squeaky door on the way out
  • Offer to change a burnt-out light bulb when you have a ladder nearby
  • Dust off a vent register, ceiling fan or clean a window that’s high off the ground
  • Sweep a floor that may be just a bit out of your work area
  • Point out potential problem areas that they may not know about like roof damage you may have observed
  • Touch up the mailbox or bird feeder post when your finished with the fence

Remember: Happy customers are repeat customers!