Be Candid and Careful When On All Job Sites

Residential projects should take an extra level of handling and care.

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Nearly every plumber has handled residential work, whether remodeling, new construction or emergency repairs.

I recently rode with a plumber for a story that will be running later this year. It was interesting to see everything this company does for its residential customers and how much communication there is with homeowners.

We started the day at a remodeling project where the owner was redoing a bathroom. When we arrived, the plumber on site was working with the homeowner on the placement of a tub and fixtures. The challenge was that if the handles were next to the faucet, they would hit the decorative wall when turned on. After some discussion, the parties decided that the best spot for the handles would be on one end of the tub opposite the faucet.

Later on, another challenge came up: The homeowner wanted recessed cabinets with mirrors, but water pipes were running through the preferred location. After looking at the mirrors, still in their packages, the plumbing company owner and the homeowner developed a workable alternative.

It’s that type of planning and communication that makes a plumbing contractor successful and respected. Here are some simple things you can do to develop a solid relationship with your customer:

Be candid — If asked whether doing something a certain way will cost more, give a straightforward answer. If you think something should be done differently, suggest it. Straight talk inspires trust, which is the most important piece of building a relationship.

Be careful — You are working in someone’s home. Treat everything as if it were your own. Also, take care in installing the products the customer is paying for.
Bring knowledge — You are the professional. The homeowner hired you for your skill and knowledge. If they ask you a question, make sure you know the answer. If you don’t, find it and report back.

Be helpful — Hiccups will occur and changes to the plan may be required. Help the homeowner through these changes. Explain the implications of, for example, moving the sink from one wall to another.

If you follow these four guidelines, homeowners will likely be pleased with the project. In return, they’ll more than likely contact you for more work and refer you to other potential customers.

Take a moment and look at how you act with your residential customers. They are just as important as those large commercial and industrial jobs.


What are some unique ways you’ve interacted with customers? Do you send them cards during the holiday season, or offer them discounts if they continue doing business with you? I’d like to hear your ideas.

You can email me at or call me at 800/257-7222.

Enjoy this issue! 


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