Does Professionalism Actually Matter in the Construction Industry?

I watched an alarming video on YouTube recently. An owner of a construction company was proudly showing off his employees’ work. And excellent work, it was. Dead straight lines and a clean job site. Awe-inspiring stuff.

I’d never hire him on one of my job sites or to work at my home.

How can I say that, you ask? If the work was spot-on and the job site was immaculate, what could be the issue?

His lack of professionalism. Let me explain.

During the video, this contractor used foul, explicit language. There was no call for it. It wasn’t a slip in the heat of the moment after an expensive mistake. He hadn’t just dropped a glulam on his foot. He didn’t just back the company truck into the port-a-john. He was just casually swearing as he showed off his employees’ craftsmanship.

Is construction still just a blue-collar industry?

I’ll be the first to admit my language is rarely PG. The difference is that customers, prospective or current, won’t hear me using foul language in a professional setting. Why? Because it matters.

As an industry, more is being asked of us every day. If we showed codes and regulations to the carpenters of 40 years ago, they’d assume today’s carpenters carry engineering degrees. In fact, many carpenters do have engineering degrees.

While the industry lacks skilled labor, the labor force we have is more highly-trained and specialized than ever. We spend years of our lives learning the trades, climbing from an apprenticeship to mastery. That time is worth something.

Doctors and lawyers are professionals, and we expect to pay a premium price for their services. We’d be shocked if they acted like a first-year apprentice on a Friday afternoon. We’d be asking why we’re paying such an unprofessional person such a professional-level rate. That’s why they meet with us in clean shirts, in clean vehicles, and speak to us professionally. They don’t swear or spit on the ground, at least in front of us.

They put their best, most professional image forward. That’s what we expect for the rates we pay. Your customers are no different.

Your customers should be paying you well for your services. Act like it.

Profitability and cash flow are the most critical factors in the success of your construction company. You deserve contracts that represent the years you and your employees spent honing your skills. You should price your jobs with this in mind.

When your customer signs a contract, they’ve agreed to pay you a good sum of money. They expect you to secure the permits, handle the inspections, oversee the work, and complete the project on time. They’re paying a professional rate for professional services.

Act like it. Be a professional.

Perception and our customers’ expectations.

Construction is a business, and in business, perception can be everything. Potential customers should perceive your company as a professional outfit. This includes maintaining clean vehicles or requiring your crew to wear company t-shirts. Most importantly, your customers should perceive their interactions with you as professional experiences. They’re paying for it. They expect it.

The same way we expect a lawyer to wear a suit and drive a clean car, it’s all about perception.

Your website is the first stop most of your customers are going to check when they consider you for their project. Does your website provide your customers with the perception of professionalism? If it doesn’t, you’ll have a hard time convincing them to sign that healthy proposal you submitted.

When it comes to residential work, the perception of professionalism can have an even greater impact. Customers want to know that your crew will be on time. They want you to keep the site clean. They definitely want your crew to act appropriately around their family. If your website doesn’t provide a professional first impression, they’re not likely to trust you to tick the other boxes either.

Let SCC help you with your customers’ perception.

If your website copy, email campaigns, and blog posts aren’t creating a professional perception, SCC can help. Contact Tom Scalisi of Scalisi Content Consulting to discuss your needs.

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