You’ve probably heard that transparency is important in the restoration industry. But what is it all about?
Well, being transparent means communicating fully about all the things that matter. It’s really that simple. And it can make project completion a whole lot smoother and more satisfying for everyone involved.
Here are a few tangible ways you can achieve greater transparency in disaster restoration projects:
When you first meet with a homeowner who needs restoration work, start with a pleasant introduction. Talk about your training, past experience and professional designations. Show before-and-after photos of previous work you have completed. Reassure them that you are committed to repairing their disaster-related damage. This initial dialogue will help put the homeowner at ease, and will form a foundation for a comfortable working relationship.
Start off this conversation with a friendly opening line such as, “I want to walk you through our process, so you know exactly what to expect.” Then proceed to explain each step of your restoration process. Being upfront about your restoration practices will help avoid any surprises at the end of the renovation. It will also help the homeowner feel more involved in the process.
TIP: Take Time to Answer Any Questions That Come Up.
Your willingness to answer questions is another way of showing that you want to be fully transparent about how your business operates.
The homeowner will want to know the extent of the damage and how you’re going to fix it. Using visuals can be very helpful at this stage, because words alone can sometimes cause confusion. So, here’s a tip: Use a mobile floor plan restoration app to sketch the rooms that need restoration work. Next, mark up your sketch with annotations and attach photos of damaged areas. Then get together with the homeowner and use your sketch and photos as visual aids to go over the scope of work you are recommending. This will help establish expectations before you begin working.
Once again, encourage the homeowner to ask questions. Let them know it’s okay to ask as many questions as necessary until they feel adequately informed. Also, make an effort to break down any technical lingo into layman’s terms that are easy to understand.
TIP: Choose a Floor Plan App That Has a Reporting Function.
That means you can use your digital sketch document – complete with notations and photos – as the basis for a professional report. It’s a great way to save time and increase transparency! When your report is ready to go, you can easily email it to the homeowner and their insurance company.
Read more: How to Document Natural Disasters in Restoration
Being transparent about costs can facilitate faster claim approval. It also will serve to further educate the homeowner and keep their expectations on track. So, you’ll want to provide a solid, accurate and transparent estimate – one that contains a detailed breakdown of all anticipated labor and material costs. This is much better than submitting a blanket price for the entire project.
TIP: Also Address the Possibility of Unexpected Costs.
As you prepare your estimate, be sure to communicate any cost factors that could possibly fluctuate. For example, you may want to state that supply-chain problems could require making substitutions for certain materials. Being upfront about tricky matters like this helps prevent any pushback later. It also demonstrates that you have a solid understanding of the current state of the construction industry. And that can help boost your image as a knowledgeable, reputable contractor – exactly the type of contractor insurance companies prefer to choose!
They want their home to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Therefore, before work begins, be sure to share a timeline for your restoration plan. This is another great way to introduce transparency to your ongoing dialogue. When you present your timeline, explain exactly why that much time is needed for the whole project. And assure them that your goal is to repair their home correctly without any unnecessary delays. They will appreciate the fact that you are attentive to their needs, and they are more likely to be patient while your work is being completed.
TIP: Talk About Your Daily Schedule As Well.
Let the homeowner know when your crew will arrive and leave each day. This way, they can plan appropriately and adjust their daily routine to accommodate work that needs to be done. You may also consider listing the work you plan on doing each day at the job site. This extra layer of transparency is likely to be welcomed by the homeowner.
The best way to ensure homeowner satisfaction and prevent claim disputes is to communicate transparently with all parties involved in the project. As work gets underway, stay in contact with the homeowner, their insurance company, your work crew, your office staff, and any subcontractors you need to hire. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a widespread catastrophe, such as a severe storm, tornado or hurricane, you may also need to communicate frequently with various authorities.
TIP: Always Be Transparent About the Unexpected.
If you encounter any delays in obtaining materials due to unforeseen circumstances, explain that to the homeowner. Communication is also imperative if you encounter unexpected, hidden damage during the course of performing repairs. This will require extra work outside of your initial scope. So, be sure to notify the homeowner and the insurance company, and provide a supplementary estimate for the additional work. No one likes surprise costs after a restoration job has been completed.
The final step in providing transparency during a disaster restoration project is to conduct a walk-through with the homeowner. Go over the work that was performed, point out the quality of workmanship, and explain how the home is once again returned to its original condition. This is an integral component for ensuring customer satisfaction. Once the homeowner sees that your work has been done to their satisfaction, they should feel relieved and reassured that they can continue on with life as usual.
You can create transparency in disaster restoration projects through honest, open and ongoing communication. Use the concrete tactics listed above to communicate effectively and steadily throughout every future disaster restoration project.
Continue reading our guide on taking photos at job sites.
Or find out more about different ways to sketch professional floorplans.
Head of Product & Marketing