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.
Success depends on that one signature. In this guide, Sweeten shares key tips to smoothing the path to a signed contract. 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.
1. Establish a process
You’re the pro—it’s up to you to know everything you’ll need from the client, and when you’ll need it. Knowing your 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.
2. Communicate clearly and transparently
Don’t be shy about discussing your process with the homeowner. It’s likely this is their first renovation, so they will be comforted if you take charge and lead the way.
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:
- How much money you’ll ask for upfront.
- Are you asking for a large payment upfront? Explain why—for example, to order materials early and avoid delays, to secure your crew, etc.
- Are you asking for a relatively low percentage upfront? Use this as a selling point.
- If you’ll require a certain payment schedule, bring it up early.
- If your payment schedule is flexible, use this as a selling point.
- Discuss if you’ll take care of permits. If not, explain what the homeowner will need to do.
- Encourage questions. An informed client is a good client.
Some questions to be prepared for:
- Can I ask for a revised estimate?
- Is the estimate negotiable?
- Can I get a discount?
3. Communicate early
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.
4. Explain the contract
Before you send the contract, let the homeowner know what to expect beforehand.
- Will you send a paper contract or a digital one?
- If it’s a paper contract, do you need them to return a signed copy and keep one for their records?
- 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.
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.