Custom Builders like to Build, Not Hand Hold Homeowners

A Communication ‘Best Practice’ from Listening Arts

As a custom builder, do you find yourself complaining about how much uncompensated time you spend helping your client in matters best left to design professionals? Are you feeling resentful? Are you finding yourself wanting to throw in the towel rather than build another custom home!

There is hope. After listening to these kinds of complaints, the first thing I evaluate is what business communication practices are needed. Complaining is a symptom of a policy that the builder is failing to communicate in a clear and concise way. It’s indicative of a business relationship boundary that needs to be established.

Many of us are people-pleasers. If you are one, you are most at risk for finding yourself in the above predicament. If so, it’s time to learn how to communicate what your role is and what it is not. Only when you can clearly communicate, both in writing and verbally, what your role is and what it is not, will the old pattern begin to change.  Even with this, you can bet you will be tested to hold to your boundary. You will need to remain watchful throughout your client meetings to catch yourself sliding back into the old pattern of wanting to please and overextend yourself. You’ll need to listen for being wishy-washy in how you speak, thinking it’s easier to be the nice guy to avoid conflict. At these times, just simply remind the homeowner of your policy. Ask them to seek a designer’s assistance, rather than yours.

You are undertaking a re-patterning of your previous behavior to reap a corresponding new result.  Homeowners like to know what to expect and from whom. They like, and are seeking clarity. It brings certainty and certainty brings peace of mind. Just lead them in a pleasant, respectful and no-nonsense way.  They will follow and you will be a lot happier.