Advances in technology have had less of an impact on my particular business than most. My company provides a service that requires manual labor, making many of the inventions in the last 20 years less valuable. In fact, in some ways it is the exact opposite. I have steadfastly preserved a very traditional method of customer financing that was handed down from my father and his father before him; “The Handshake.”
Most roofing contractors take a sizable down payment on a job (about 50%) after the contract is signed before they will agree to begin the work. Not Michael J Harris Inc. After our customers sign the contract we do not ask for any money. Instead, we use an old fashioned way of solidifying the deal – we shake hands. In this day and age it sounds like a recipe for disaster – right? Well, I am happy to say, home owners are incredibly honest people and in the 30 years I have conducted business, not one customer has ever stiffed me.
We are a mid sized business competing in a vast sea of area contractors and standing out is critical. The “handshake” instills an incredible amount of confidence and loyalty from our customers who, in turn, help generate new business for us through referrals.
Because we have good relationships with our suppliers, we can afford to wait until the job is complete and the customer is 100% satisfied before collecting our fee. We can wait because our craftsmanship and service are never an issue for our clients. For the most part, people do not mind paying for a job well done. But, asking them to put their money upfront – well to me it sounds like your business isn’t well financed or it has had complaints in the past preventing it from collecting in full.
Many other aspects of the business have changed including auto payrolls, cell phones, new roofing technologies and GPS. But looking a customer in the eye and shaking hands still seems like the best way to seal the deal for us. Learn more aobut our company’s 103 year history here