How to Close: Best Practices for Getting Your Contract Signed

Want to know how to close projects? Establish trust with your clients and explain your estimate.

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Success depends on that one signature. In this guide, Sweeten shares key tips to how to smooth the process to close projects and getting signed contracts. These practices will reduce time and effort for you while reducing anxiety for the homeowner.

Sweeten matches general contractors with high-quality home renovation projects, vetted for readiness and appropriate budget. Contractors pay only when they win a project. Budgets start at $15,000 and average over $67,000.

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1. Establish a process and communicate it early

You’re the pro—it’s up to you to know everything you’ll need from the client, and when you’ll need it. Having an established process will help you show confidence and authority, which earns confidence from clients. You may find it helpful to map out the process in writing, even if those notes are just for your own use.

If you sense you’re getting positive feedback from the client, you can start discussing next steps as early as the site visit. At the latest, you’ll want to start these discussions when you deliver your estimate.

2. Communicate clearly and transparently

Don’t be shy about discussing your process with the homeowner. Most clients, especially first-time renovators, will be comforted by a confident contractor who leads them through the process. 

Some GCs avoid bringing up critical steps, like contracts and payment plans, out of fear that this will scare the homeowner away. Don’t fall into this trap! It’s always better to be upfront. Your transparency inspires confidence and will help you avoid springing surprises on the homeowner at the last minute. 

Consider these points:

  • Are you asking for a large payment upfront?
    • If yes, explain why—for example, to order materials early and avoid delays, to secure your crew, etc. Conversely, if your payment schedule is flexible or you are asking for a relatively low percentage upfront, use that as a selling point.
  • Will you take care of permits? If so, which ones? Will there be any costs associated with this work?
    • Be sure to clearly communicate what will be on the homeowner’s plate to manage and pay for versus what you are providing as value-added services.
  • Encourage questions! 
    • Homeowners appreciate the opportunity to learn from you and a healthy dialogue gives you the chance to demonstrate your expertise and listening skills. An informed client is a good client.

Some questions to be prepared for:

  • Can you revise the estimate (itemizing, reorganizing, taking things out, or adding additional line items in, etc.)?
    Be sure to set boundaries. Let the client know how many revisions you’re willing to make.
  • Is the estimate negotiable?
    Emphasize that you’ll work with them on revising their project scope to fit the budget. Set limits on how much time you’ll invest for free without a commitment.
  • Can I get a discount?
    Here it’s usually best to stand behind your work, and emphasize that you’ve already made your bid as competitive as possible. But make sure this is the truth! It’s always best to start with a competitive bid than with a high or low estimate or other sales gimmick. 

3. Explain the contract

Before you send the contract, let the homeowner know what to expect beforehand.

  • Will you send a digital contract or paper one? 
    • Pro Tip: Most clients prefer digital documentation. Use Sweeten’s e-signature feature to get contracts signed faster. 
  • Tell the homeowner that you’re comfortable with answering their questions about your contract.
  • If you use a standard boilerplate contract, send it with your estimate—don’t wait for the client to beg!
  • If you include your contract with the estimate, be sure to remind the client that it’s there.
  • Always include a time limit in your contract— “This estimate is good for 60 days,” etc. Make sure the client understands this. This speeds the process along, and protects you from a client showing up years later expecting the same deal.

In summary

Knowing how to close projects with clients takes practice and care. Always think about what you can do to inspire confidence and trust. Taking the lead, being open and honest, transparent in your communications, and clearly explaining your contract will all help you win the client’s trust—and win the job.

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