Complain at your own riskDon’t Do It

Have you ever complained to a customer about how much work you have to do to build a project? Or tried to get some sympathy from them by revealing your insane workload? How about talking about other jobs to your client, to clarify why you are so busy and haven’t been able to finish their job on time, or why a detail fell through the cracks?

If you have done any of the above, please, please, please, stop. These revelations don’t serve you at all. And they hurt you a lot.

Behind The Curtain

All of you have been to a movie or a theater show, right? It’s amazing what they can do, in live performances, and in film.

In movies one shot may take weeks to perfect. They travel from city to city, from country to country. They endure awful conditions, extreme cold and heat. They put themselves in situations no sane person would venture into.

And on a stage, while we are shown only what they want to show us, there is a tremendous amount of activity going on back stage. Sets are being assembled, costumes are changed at breakneck speeds. Prompters are readying the next group of people for the stage. It’s a veritable bee hive.

What would these performances be like if they stopped midway through a scene, and told us how hard their job is, or how much we should appreciate their efforts, telling us that their job may look like a piece of cake, but in actuality they are worth every penny they’re paid? It would totally ruin the act. The movie would be a bomb. No one would attend, because, in the first case, they came to escape. They are tired of their humdrum lives and want some fantasy. They get enough of reality at home and work.

You Are A Star

Your clients are no different from theater goers. They hired you because you are a “star”. They look up to you because you are an expert. You can make their dreams come true. They chose this “movie” with great care. They put their money down, and now they expect to sit back and enjoy the show.

What they don’t want is to hear how hard your day was, and especially they don’t want to hear about some other project you are building. They will listen, and they even may sympathize with you. But you have ruined the show. You’ve shown them what is going on behind the curtain. Things will never be the same.

The Consequences

What happens when you expose your travails to them? They may start to complain a little more. They collect each piece of extraneous information you hand out, and when the time is right, when things go bad or become difficult, you can count on them using this against you.

They become more involved in the project. That’s good, right? No, it definitely isn’t. You planned the project with them in great detail. You did that precisely so that there is not a lot of client involvement in the building process. You have to always control the process. By giving out too much, or unnecessary information, you are actually inviting them to throw in their two cents. It’s like, “So, you have had a hard day, huh? Well, let me tell you about mine… And by the way, I’m not real happy about… In fact, I’m sick and tired of… etc.”

Here’s a simple, but incredibly useful question to ask yourself before you act on anything – “Does what I’m about to do or say really serve me?” In other words, am I just talking for the sake of talking, or am I relating something really useful and/or relavant to me and the client.

Treat Your Clients Like VIP’s

Remember not to complain or get overly personal with your clients. They have expectations and you need to meet them.

Always treat their project as if it is the only project you are working on. Never mention another project to them. This has been a hard and fast rule for me. Often I’m tempted to explain why a detail got dropped or why I’m a few minutes late due to complications on another project. Then I quickly remember what consequences could follow by handing out this information.

Don’t tell them about your day if it’s not relevant to their project. No matter how tired and beat up you are, try to be cheerful and make each encounter with your client a pleasant experience.


In closing, here is a wonderful quote from Earl Nightingale, “Always remember that the most important person in the world is the one you are talking to.” Keep that in the forefront of your mind and you will be a real Super Star.

This article was written by Randall S. Soules, writer, remodeling coach, advisor, and educator in the remodeling industry. You are free to reprint or copy this article to your blog, newsletter, staff, etc. as long as the article is shown in its entirety and has a live link to Learn more ways to grow your business at © 2015-2016