We live in a time when many people are more concerned about protecting themselves from charges or accusations of poor workmanship or materials – or in deflecting responsibility – than they are about doing the job correctly. There is nothing wrong with being prudent or careful when it comes to protecting our clients, their homes, ourselves and our associates from claims that might arise against our designs and workmanship. However, a strong personal relationship with the client and a commitment to them and ourselves to deliver a top-quality job will carry the day over any contract language that we might have an attorney prepare for us. It’s not all those words that are going to protect us. It’s doing the job right and having a great understanding with our clients that is going make the difference.
This begins at the initial interview when we take time to get to know them and talk more about them and what they need than about us and what we can do for them. We have to take the time to learn what their concerns are and make sure that we are addressing them. We need to earn their trust and confidence in who we are and how we can help them solve their issues.
It seems that it’s come to the point where we need to have multi-page contracts written by very expensive lawyers that unfortunately we seem to need, but the provisions of those contracts can’t even be enforced without those same lawyers spending even more of our money. Contracts don’t really protect us from disgruntled clients. Relationships do.
While contracts help to give us peace-of-mind and offer a degree of protection, they also establish the parameters, guidelines, and expectations for the client. However, nothing substitutes for doing the job right at every stage of the process. When we know we have performed the work to the satisfaction of the client, they will not be interested in challenging what we have done – and we will be confident that we have delivered our best effort.
Partly our success in doing a job well and in having it accepted as such comes from whom we choose to have as clients and how reasonable they are both in wanting our help and in accepting our solutions for them. Some people are harder to please than others, and some are just impossible to please. The sooner we learn that – hopefully before the contract is ever signed and we agree to begin work for them – the sooner we can decline the job or refer them to someone else. No amount of contract protection or legal language is going to help us when we are working with an unreasonable client.
Nevertheless, regardless of the client and how well we have chosen someone to help whom we feel will appreciate the end result we create for them, we must perform our duties to a high standard. We should rise above the concept of minimum acceptable guidelines or commonly accepted practices when they are not sufficient for fully addressing the client’s needs or treating them with the respect they deserve and that the job demands from us. We must do the job right regardless of what is expected or how someone else might have approached it. This is part of our brand. There is no just getting by or having something be almost good enough – we can settle for nothing less than excellence.
Another aspect of doing the job right comes with whom we choose to bring to the job with us and how we originally solicit the job or are introduced to the potential clients. This is a very important aspect of having a great working relationship. To complete successful aging in place renovations for our clients as contractors (or in working with a contractor as part of their delivery team), it is highly likely that we are going to rely on introductions from referring professionals such as those in the medical profession and in creating strategic relationships with building trades, designers, healthcare professionals, and similar professionals.
Some jobs are going to be relatively simple, and others are going to be more complex. We need to confident that we can deliver our services effectively whatever the situation might be.
Creating a successful aging in place services delivery team will mean that we can be confident of offering the best available services to our clients, of being known in our area as having assembled the best talent, of consistently delivering to our clients the solutions they need and expect, and for using cutting-edge solutions and treatments.