When you work as an independent contractor, your business depends on its reputation. For smaller businesses, just one bad review can do serious harm to your business. That is especially true if your business does work locally. A good reputation is key to your success. Here are some of our tips for how to maintain a good reputation as an independent contractor.
Tip #1: Get insurance!
Contractor insurance is a must-have. Not only does it provide a fallback if things should go awry on the job, or if a dissatisfied client sues your business, but it can benefit you by upholding your reputation. Think of it from the perspective of someone planning to hire a contractor to do work on their house: who would you hire, the business willing to invest in a comprehensive insurance plan that protects both their own company and you, or the one that wants to cut corners just to save a little bit of cost?
Clients have every right to refuse working with a contractor who is uninsured. In some industries, contractor insurance ontario might be a necessity to obtain and retain clients. Contractors who do government work will need to have proof of insurance before doing any jobs.
Tip #2: Treat your clients like they’re your close friends.
Customer relationship management can go a long way in the world of contracting. Even if you’re an independent contractor, it’s worth investing the time into your customer relationship management. No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a “machine.” Sometimes hired customer service reps can come off as robotic as well. To feel like you actually care about your clients, it’s a good idea to make a point to be friendly, personal, and attentive.
You can do this in a variety of ways. For one, when a client books a consult with you, be sure to address their concerns as a friend – not as someone who just wants their business. What can you do to solve the problem they have?
Continue that personal relationship once you arrive at your client’s home to do work. Think of it like you doing work to help a neighbour. What would benefit that neighbour? Clean up after you’ve finished work, make sure to communicate with the client and, above all, be attentive to their needs! A happy client is a client who might refer you to friends and/or be a return customer!
Tip #3: Take care of the “business” side of your business.
Even as an independent contractor, you are running a business. If you’re disorganized, if you can’t answer emails on time, if you’re missing meetings – that doesn’t speak well for you as a business. Prioritize communications and organization by plotting time to do so. Promptly return emails and flag important emails so that you can get back to them sooner. Show up on time. You can invest in time managers or quoting tools online to help automate some of your processes and save you time.
Tip #4: Address any concerns before they blow up in your face.
If a customer has an issue, it’s important to address that before it blows up. This comes with online reviews as well. Reviews will circulate very quickly and a lot of people will base their decision to hire you upon what those reviews say. If someone has a problem with your services, be sure to address it with them. You can even place your business on social media and definitely be sure to submit it to Google My Business where you can speak with customers directly. This helps to handle concerns in an efficient way and calmly respond to any customers who have “unreasonable” complaints.
Tip #5: Don’t become complacent.
The worst thing you can do as an independent contractor is become complacent. Your reputation is everything when you’re an independent contractor! Even if you feel everything is running smoothly, never let yourself fall into the assumption that it always will. Take responsibility and acknowledge that even the smallest mistake could snowball and quickly become much larger than you’re ready to handle. Running a business is hard work! But it’s also your work – be vigiliant!