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Business Advisor

Position Yourself as an Expert Eco-Builder: Get Organized With a Homeowner’s Manual

7 steps to successfully setting yourself apart from the pack

The story of a house. Photos in the roughing books (lower left) are keyed to the floor plans (top). The owner's manual (lower right) contains maintenance instructions, appliance and equipment manuals, building permits and more.
Image Credit: Scott Philips

Rapid changes in the residential construction industry are providing new profit and diversification opportunities for builders. Those who see and understand these opportunities can position themselves as experts in the field and provide exemplary service to gain an important edge in the marketplace. Knowing where you stand in relation to your competition is paramount. Educating and communicating that position to prospective customers is equally important.

Part 4 of a 7-part series

4. Get organized with a homeowner’s manual

A well-prepared homeowner’s manual should be a foundation of your customer service approach. The manual should educate the customer about what activities and services to expect from pre-construction to post-construction—yes, pre-construction to post-construction. This is a communication tool for the whole process, not just after occupancy. Everyone else treats a homeowner’s manual like a “How to Use This House” document, when in fact its benefits can extend much farther. Seize the opportunity to stand out from the pack by educating your customers throughout the construction process by integrating the homeowner’s manual into the home-buying experience. Introduce it up front during the sales process, and refer to it frequently during the course of planning and construction.

Take sufficient time to walk customers through the manual in the first place, explain each section, answer their questions, and address their concerns from the start. Do you know how many thousands of headaches, misunderstandings, and unnecessary phone calls (during your kid’s birthday party) this could save you and your customers?

Ask customers to bring the manual to all meetings during construction so that they can integrate any additional information provided during the meetings. This makes it a living document for them and acquaints them firsthand with the contents. Offering more information during these meetings will further emphasize the importance of the manual. Note: Have your legal adviser review your manual; this small investment could mean extra protection for you.

Next week: Update your website

Also in this series:

3. Listen to your customers

2: Deliver great value

1. Identify your ideal customer


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