Asking smart questions will set you apart from the competition
Asking the right questions will save you time, help you get to know your clients better, provide opportunities to ask for feedback, and impress prospects.
Vetting potential clients shows them you respect their valuable time and helps you not waste yours. While you should tailor questions to your own business, we've put together a helpful list (that applies to almost any trade) to get you started.
5 Pre-Sale Questions
Part of processing new leads is vetting them to ensure you and the potential client are a good fit. The questions you ask pre-sale are all about getting to know the client, including their goals and expectations.
Consider adding the following important questions to your lead sheet, contractor client questionnaire, or the intake form on your website.
1. What Is Your Budget?
From residential homes to large-scale commercial builds, clients may not realize how much their goals will cost them. Once you know a potential client’s budget, you can determine whether the job is worthwhile. You can also better help them find the right products and solutions.
Depending on the project type, you may find it helpful to ask budget-related questions specific to the work you do. For inspiration, browse the Angi Project Cost Center for home remodeling, electrical work, plumbing, and landscaping information.
2. When Are You Looking to Start?
Your potential client may have a very specific timeline in mind, and you need to be able to meet their expectations or set more realistic ones. Knowing their ideal start date will help you determine whether you have the resources to take on the project.
3. When Do You Want the Project Done?
Again, expectation-setting is critical. If your client has a hard completion date, you can determine whether you and your team can satisfy their needs. If not, you can let them know promptly or make adjustments to remain within their timeline.
4. Why Did You Contact Us Specifically?
Find out what the client is looking for in a general contractor and why they think you’re the right team for the job. Chances are, they’ll be expecting consistent open communication and organization. You can use digital tools like the Angi Pro app to update clients directly, show progress images, and collect reviews.
5. I Only Accept Cash or Checks. Does That Payment Method Work for You?
Asking clients about payment can be awkward, so frame it in a way that’s focused on their preferences. It’s crucial to clarify where funding is coming from and what form it will take. Put it into writing before starting any work—the last thing you want to deal with is a payment dispute over insufficient funds on the client’s end.
If customers only want to pay with credit cards, let them know the surcharge and add that to the invoice. Some clients will pay the extra 3.5% in order to get airline points or cash back. You’re not against their payment method; you just want to receive the total amount that you invoiced.
If you use the Angi Pro app, you’ll be able to easily accept multiple payment options, including Apple Pay and credit cards. Customers can pay you directly through Angi, and you’ll be able to quickly request and manage payments too.
5 Project-Specific Questions
Once you’ve determined that the client is a good fit, it’s time to dig into the scope of the project.
Knowing all the details about a client’s plans, goals, and experience will help you provide better service and more accurate estimates.
1. What Are You Hoping to Change About Your Home?
How your client answers this question can tell you a lot. Find out their goals, tastes, likes, dislikes, and problems they’re hoping to solve. You can also follow up by asking what they’re hoping to maintain once the project is complete.
2. Can You Share Any Project Inspiration With Me?
Many homeowners won’t have a clear picture of what they want up front and may end up changing their minds repeatedly. This can make it hard to provide accurate estimates and may lead to payment disputes later on. Have them share as many details as possible about their design goals from the start. Using your notebook, write and date these details so that you have a record that will jog their memory down the road.
3. Are You Expecting Any Big Life Changes That May Impact Your Needs?
This question can refer to a variety of factors and may need to be more specific.
Some notable long-term goals to consider:
Does the client intend to grow their family in the future?
Do they plan to remain in the home for a specific number of years?
Do they hope to sell the home at some point?
Are they quitting/changing/retiring from their current job? This is a red flag, as changes might diminish their ability to pay.
4. Have You Ever Done a Home Remodel or Similar Project Before?
If the client doesn’t have any experience with construction projects, you may need to prepare your team to provide extra communication through each step of the process.
If they’re experienced, find out if that experience was negative. Ask what their challenges were, and why they think it went well or poorly. This will help you determine whether your company can prevent similar issues.
5. Are There Other Contractors Involved With This Project?
Unless you’re their general contractor, your client may have hired multiple subcontractors for various aspects of the project. Get that information up-front so you can coordinate with the other teams involved. You can also get a sense of how involved they want you to be compared to the other companies.
If the project still needs subcontractors, take this opportunity to let the client know you can connect them with quality professionals.
5 Post-Job Questions
Just because the job is complete doesn’t mean the communication should end. As you wrap up the work you’re doing, reach out to your client with a set of post-job questions to gauge their satisfaction and obtain feedback.
1. Do You Feel the Project Was Successful?
Your client is the judge of whether the job is done, and whether it was done to their standards. Whether success to them means completion on deadline, under budget, or simply a beautiful result, you should be confident they’re satisfied when the work is complete.
2. Was There Anything You Would Change or Improve About Our Process?
This question has two purposes. First, to pinpoint any unresolved frustrations on your client’s end before you’ve completed the job. Second, to obtain feedback so you can address concerns with your team and improve in the future.
3. Was There a Particular Team Member Who Impacted Your Experience?
If you have one or more employees or work with a team, you can use this question to find out who to follow up with after the project is complete. If a client enjoyed working with someone in particular, that team member might be able to offer more insights about the project. This might include problems resolved or suggestions to make future projects go more smoothly.
4. Do You Plan to Have Additional Work Done in the Future?
While your client may choose to work with you again on their own if they’re satisfied, don’t pass up the opportunity to plant the seed. Ask about future goals and let them know you have the tools and capabilities to complete additional work on their home.
5. Could You Leave Us a Review?
This may be an uncomfortable question for some, but most happy clients would be willing to leave you a review—they just don’t always think to do so. A polite reminder can pay off, since reviews help establish your credibility as a business and make your services look more attractive to other potential clients. You could also ask the customer to submit any photos or videos of the project.
Implement These Questions in Your Own Process
You can use these questions as-is, or they can serve as inspiration for your own business-specific process. If you choose to use our suggestions, remember to put them in your own voice.
Always assume potential clients have never had previous construction or remodeling experience, and avoid too many complex terms and jargon related to your industry.
If you ask the right questions at each stage of your project, you’ll end up saving time and having constructive conversations with clients. Better yet, you’ll leave them with a great impression of you and your company.