McLennan Contracting

by Emily Blackburn
Alison McLennan
Tim McLennan

Lancaster, Pa.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 92%
Number of Jobs in 2021: 96
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Alison McLennan, Tim McLennan

Business technology and business software are offering new ways for remodelers and home improvement professionals to improve client experience and customer satisfaction. In what ways are you using software or technology to improve client experience?:

We use a lot of technology at McLennan Contracting. It was a shift we took back when the pandemic started. Almost all our meetings are done via zoom. That includes the virtual consultation and any design meetings. If clients are unable to attend any showroom appointments and are open to the idea, we sometimes zoom or FaceTime with them instead. Using these virtual meetings have helped us a team save time and be more productive. It has also helped the client. The meetings are more convenient for them and time saving as well.

Another way we use technology is with our CoConstruct software. All the project details are found in one place. Clients get access to this software once they sign and are able to interact with it. They can view selection options and can see firsthand how those selections can alter the price. Since all project details are in the software, it is easier to keep track of everything from selections and scheduling to contracts and finance. We also use CoConstruct to communicate with the clients. They are able to send messages, ask questions, bring up any concerns, etc. through the messaging and we are able to respond more quickly that way. Technology is a huge part of how we run our business. It has benefits for both us and the clients.

Rising costs for labor and building materials along with higher inflation on everything else is forcing remodelers and home pros to raise prices dramatically. Tell us about the most effective ways you are passing along these rising prices to your clients?:

Rising costs have created a challenge. However, we find that as long as we are upfront and honest at the beginning about the rising costs, the better it goes for everyone. When talking to a client about potential costs and pricing of their project we let them know many times that prices are constantly changing. Clients are also told that once they sign off on their project and final selections, those are the prices they are locked into. This helps to eliminate the fear of the costs changing if lead times are long.

Supply shortages have required you to ask clients to go back and pick another finish or building material. What are your tips for handing these product trade-off conversations?:

As much as we try out very best to avoid this and give the client exactly what they want, it does happen from time to time. If clients are set on their original pick or finish, we try to do everything we can to make that work for them. Sometimes that means working with other suppliers and accepting longer lead times. We always communicate these challenges with the clients upfront and let them decide how they would like to proceed. We have excellent project designers who are very knowledgeable of products and can quickly find great second options that still match the aesthetic and function of the original selection. When approaching a client with these conversations, we always try to have as much, if not all, of the information ready to present to them before having the conversation. Coming prepared with multiple options helps the client gain trust in us and they always appreciate the effort we made to assist them.

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