The power of saying “No”

February 15, 2013

To a remodeling contractor, saying “no” to a potential client could possibly be the best decision you make for your company.

A few years ago, I was talking to a number of decorative concrete contractors during an industry event, and despite low, even non-existent margins, most contractors admitted they had a hard time turning down a job. Of course, their decision was influenced by the poor economy and the challenge of maintaining a client base when there were few jobs to be had. The decorative concrete contractors were forced into bidding wars, which led many to accept jobs at a loss.

Does this sound familiar?

Remodelers faced the same type of cutthroat competition in recent years as well, which eventually forced many remodelers to shut their doors. In this battle of survival of the fittest, the strongest remodelers survived partly because of an effective business plan, solid company culture, and a willingness to say “no” to a potential client.

This month’s Remodeler’s Exchange looks at how and why a remodeler should turn down a job.

When I reached out to Paul Eldrenkamp, owner, Byggmeister, Inc., Newton, Mass., and Ben Morey, founder and president, Morey Construction, Signal Hill, Calif., both jumped at the chance to discuss this topic.

Eldrenkamp outlined three main reasons for not taking a job:

The client’s budget expectations versus their wish list.

Clearly establishing who (i.e. the remodeler) must be in charge of the project.

Determining whether your remodeling firm is best-suited for the specific type of job.

Morey agreed with many of Eldrenkamp’s discussion points, but he also spoke about the relationship between the remodeler and the client. Specifically, he spoke about the issue of communication and trust between the two parties as a reason to say “no” to a job.

Eldrenkamp and Morey, along with our moderator Tom Swartz, examined a breadth of topics and reasons why to turn down a job. Determining whether there is a good fit between your business and a potential client is essential to the health of your business. Many of you have had projects that, for whatever reason, did not work out to your expectations. We all know this happens from time to time.

In reality, there are dozens of reasons as to why you should say “no” to a job, and each of them must be examined before you agree to take on a job.

 Eldrenkamp, Morey, and Swartz delve deep into the topic of saying “no” to a potential client. Pay particular attention to the portion of the article where our experts discuss “how to tell a client that you are not going to do their project.” It may be difficult to turn down a project, but it is critical that you understand how to turn down the business.

Eldrenkamp, Morey, and Swartz offer powerful advice and tips on how to handle not taking a project. Their advice keeps you in control of your business and not at the mercy of the client. The ability to say “no” to a potential client demonstrates your power and efficiency as the leader of your company. PR

Tim Gregorski is the former editor-in-chief of Professional Remodeler. He joined PR in 2012 and was editor until late 2014. He has more than 15 years of B2B editorial experience in the highway and bridge, transportation management, water and wastewater, concrete construction, and AEC industries.


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