As a contractor, you have several goals. These include turning a profit, satisfying your customer and building a positive reputation.
It would seem that you have more chances to obtain your objective if you take each job you are offered. After all, the customer wants your company to do the work, so why not?
Each time you think about accepting a job, ask yourself four questions:
1. Is This My Area of Expertise?
If a customer has asked you to complete a project that is outside of your specialty, it is best to turn the job down. Perhaps you are a drywall contractor who received a call for repair to older lathe and plaster. While this falls into the walls and ceilings category, it may not be a project you are skilled in completing. Be honest with your client and pass on the job.
2. Can I Fit This Job Into My Schedule?
If you are struggling to complete projects on time, do not take on even more work. While you may think that you can fit in one more roof repair next week, it is quite possible an employee will fall ill, the weather will fail to cooperate or your truck will start acting up. Missing a deadline is not life or death, but missing multiple deadlines can really hurt your business.
3. Does The Client Seem Unpredictable?
If the client is pulling you in a thousand directions and has already changed the scope of the job four times in ten minutes, run for the hills. The same advice stands for clients who are known to pay late or request unreasonable revisions.
4. Are the Expectations Unrealistic?
The customer wants you to paint a detailed mural on a ceiling when your ad specifically states that you paint decks and gazebos. You, of course, explain that you cannot complete the job. However, the same should hold true when a customer wants subpar work completed due to time or financial constraints. Never let your business name be associated with a project that lacks in quality.
If you turn a job down--no matter the reason--do it with integrity. Explain that you would love to take the job, but due to time constraints or the scope of work you do not feel you can give the project the attention it deserves. If you know of a reputable contractor that can do the work, pass the information on to the customer. Word of mouth and networking go a long way in the contracting industry.