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The X Factor: What To Do After The Contract Is Signed

June 29, 2023


In this episode, Ari Greenbaum interviews Nicholas Miller from Mountain View Remodeling in Maryland as they discuss doing your due diligence, giving the homeowner homework, and what to do after signing.

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Ari: Hey, welcome to The X Factor. A home pro sales podcast, the podcast about all things sales to help your own prune pros generate high-quality leads and more importantly close more deals.

I am your host, Ari Greenbaum. And in this podcast, we’ll talk about different tactics, tips, and resources to help you grow your business while interviewing experts in the industry.

Before we jump into things as always, little housekeeping. Rate us on Apple podcasts, you know, the little purple icon, give us a five-star rating, and leave a review, hey, let us know you’re enjoying the Podcast.

Today we’re going to focus our conversation on a little bit of a different topic. And we focus before we’ve always focused our topics on the selling process. From the time an inquiry is made all the way through to the conclusion of getting a deal.

But today, we’re going to focus on what actually happens after the deal was signed. And I have a guest today, who is someone I am very fond of.

His name is Nicholas Miller. He’s the owner of Mountain View Remodeling. They’re based in Maryland. Nicholas has been a valued ConXpros client for over three years and has successfully taken his business to new heights and success; is clearly an expert in terms of taking care of customers.

So Nick, if you don’t mind introducing yourself, let everyone know who you are, and a little bit of your background, and then we can get into the fun from there. You know?

Nick: Appreciate our welcome guys.

Yeah, Nick Miller, Mountain View Remodeling. I’ve been in this business industry for 10-15 years. I started this when I was much younger than the working age. So I’ve always been very hands-on.

I’ve got different backgrounds in terms of construction, as well as sales, I started knocking on doors, worked my way up into sales with other companies, eventually into management. And from there, I was just excited to say, You know what, I’m gonna try this myself, implement the goods and the bads from other companies.

You learn a lot from different people. A lot of people will focus on the goods that they love the companies. But I mean, there’s definitely a lot of negatives as well. And we want to make sure you learn from those things and take from that and learn what’s different, or what could be better.

Because if not, then it’s just a mistake. So that’s a little about us. We’re out of Maryland, barely.

Ari: How long have you guys been going at it on your own? I know you’ve been with other companies in the past but run your own shop.

Nick: We’ve been in business for four years.

Ari: So I know you guys had some pretty awesome growth and look to continue that. So definitely someone that we’re all yours in terms of the kind of ideas and advice you might share, especially from the plethora of experience that you’ve had throughout your career. So, yeah, Nick, I just to get things started.

I mean, we were talking about topics. And you’ve mentioned this to me like, Oh, this is fantastic. But so many people focus only on, hey, let’s get the deal signed. And once a deal is signed, you release the steam, release the pressure, and we’re good to go. I know from conversation that that is not always the case; that there is a huge other factor. And yeah, figured out a great way to tee up at least a conversation you know.

What do you mean by post contract, you know, and how important that is? And some of the things that maybe you’re doing that are influencing the relationship with the client, because that is at the end of the day? What matters most?

Nick: Yeah, absolutely. A big thing is, like you said, is everyone is focused on getting the deal done, getting the money, and getting this big check. And what’s it looking like puppies, once they’ve got the paperwork in their hand, they’re like, oh, here we go. I got what I got. And then the next job.

Ari: Guilty. Been there done it, you know.

Nick: I definitely have done it. Definitely early in my career. Some positions, that’s all it is you sell in this management, things like that, and have worked for a $220 million company and so it was a sales contract and so on handles it. But I’m assuming those who are watching this don’t have that luxury and they’re under that ballers where they’re wearing a lot of hats.

The big thing there is really once you have that contract, then what happens obviously, you’re ordering materials that we’re all doing that hopefully. But once materials are there, they’re discussing with the homeowners what’s the next step and next process. Hopefully, it’s not: the roof goes on, collect, and check-in. That’s it because you definitely leave a lot of liability there. Things like cutting the grass, I should probably give you that.

I’ll always tell our homeowners that it’s really a partnership. This is their home, this is our project, we really need a man those together and things that needed really go hand in hand in terms of having a safe availability to have materials delivered. Not all materials are going on the roof for roofing projects. Yes, the shingles are things like that, but you’re not putting a ridge cap up there. So we still need a safe place.

Whether it makes sure that stolen, make sure it doesn’t damage the grass. Hopefully, everyone’s doing everything they can to keep things off the grass. But that’s definitely important to have those things in place. So that delivery drivers aren’t scrambling. I actually had one Saturday very close to my home and I was driving by and I can tell those are all materials I actually got out, directed them, hey, I’m chosen to go to x, y, and z. So they don’t end up either in the streets.

A lot of curb drops are happening. Excess materials, things like that. But a small thing with just getting the materials there on site, leave a coat and have it. I mean if you can offer the same delivery drivers do enough business with either one of the big suppliers or some of the smaller ones. Hey, the cone is your target. That’s your landing spot.

Ari: These are all things that you’re figuring out with the whole motor. I mean, that’s from what I’m gathering here is like, these are conversations you’re having and understanding, you know, what their situation, their home, as you said, is their baby, you know, your project, but you’re entering their home. So these are all things you’re gathering from them and having a conversation about.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I can take a step back and discuss it with I’ll use, I’ll use the Joneses. And it’s always my go-to talk to Mr. & Mrs. Jones and say, what is the best place to have materials because you don’t know how they use things in our home.

I’ve made the mistake of: I had to ground drop one time, and we put materials from a garage door, there were two cars in the driveway part of the street. I figured okay, you made me assume that’s the house. Do you assume so you know, that’s that, we’ll put it right here in front of the other garage for other cars, hidden, the whole nine? And I talked to one of the spouses, they were okay with it. Lo and behold, the Hutton’s Corvette was in there.

And he was going to take the car out for the day because he didn’t want a car. So you surely had to go move a whole bunch of extra materials, pallets, things like that, they’re as important as well. So, it’s little things like that of planning ahead and thinking like that.

And, again, I kind of followed the steps, but it still didn’t work out perfectly. So I mean, it’s foolproof now. But I mean, it’s definitely a very important thing to know what’s going to happen and give them a playbook because a lot of these homeowners either have never done a roof or this, this might be their second roof they’ve done in 10 years.

And I tell you right now, everything, someone’s life in 10 years, the last thing they’re gonna remember is how their last roof install when the list was really poor.

Ari: Hey, just to interrupt you for what it’s worth, not just applicable and you do also other things. You do exterior renovations, remodeling. You have a much larger offering than just roofing it but it’d be the same thing, not just roofing. The roofing happens to be a bit of a chaotic project as it’s happening and the shingles are being scraped off, and all the new ones are being hammered out and nailed in. At the end of the day, this is also applicable to anything else.

I mean, I’ve been involved in Windows and I do know the disruption that has the people’s homes and the nature of this. So it’s not just about supplies, it’s about more because it does apply elsewhere as well.

Is there a certain checklist or something like that, that you go through mentally? Or even your guys go through? If they’re the ones prepping the deal?

You know, with the homeowner make sure they know what to expect. I believe the right term is expectations.

Nick: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean even more comparable, a more, a bigger thing is dumpsters.

We do kitchens, baths, and basements when you started with gutters and decks. So it’s a little bit more GC oriented than just rubes that are out we’re not doing a kitchen in a day for doing kitchens and we’d be very though I’d be that’s another concern is where do you leave dumpsters things of that nature a little bit more long term or you leave the dumpster and street leave it in the driveway.

The family needs to know to look through these doors. They need to open, do they have access to dumpsters? A 20-yard dumpster is still extremely large. So discussing that with them and saying look just be careful I can sit there maybe nails for an Interior Home Improvement not mine of course with roofing there are definitely nails.

I do have a list of I tell the homeowner just cut grass to keep the grass short because when you keep the grass short, we can access the nails a lot better. I would really hope that everyone on here is picking up their nails and maintaining them. If not, I’m sure you’re buying a lot of tires.

Going through and checking the gutters. The tops the downspouts the bottom of the downspouts we actually will run water in the gutters to get the nails out of the downspouts because a lot of nails sit in the corners and elbows of the downspouts which I mean hopefully you’re not doing the roof in the rain while it’s raining. Run the water down there you will get a lot of it down there shortly.

Ari: Nature’s to clog them. That’s for sure. Yes.

Nick: We’ve definitely learned from our mistakes. I’m not gonna sit here and say we’ve never bought a tire before. So while we definitely learn from our mistakes, that 350-$450 tire shoots a little bit more cotton to spend five extra minutes getting as many nails as possible.

So we definitely go through do a full sweep, we get every doubt now we tell them what we’re gonna get every now and now. But we really ask them to do their part. Make sure the grass is short. You get probably 40 to 50% more nails with short grass. Obviously, we don’t want anyone to get hurt. We don’t have to be damaging anyone’s property with nails.

Ari: So kids, of course. Absolutely.

Nick: In terms of property, things off the walls. I mean, everyone has valuables. And we were laying what, two to 3000 nails on a roofing job. I mean, that’s not including plywood. Obviously hammering and nailing for roof installs is a full day for single-family homes and we have a date for a townhouse but still, I mean it’s a lot of banging vibrations. Oh yeah.

Ari: That’ll you’re not gonna get a nap and that’s for sure.

Nick: Yeah, basically, you’re a good sleeper, but now you’re out. I mean, same as siding, I mean gutters are a little bit quieter. But still, those vibrations could definitely cause things to fall off walls, even things that are on plate holders, things of that nature, even china cabinets.

I kind of advise people lay things down if possible. And there are even times when if you’re in a home and you see there’s a ton of stuff, you can’t see the walls, it’s all stuff on the walls. Look, let’s go through and look at what’s most valuable.

Is there anything that we could take down? day or two? Let’s be proactive about caring for other people’s stuff. So you’re not dealing with the reactive side of it. So and it’s a small thing.

Yeah, I mean, I’ve never had any issues with it being very proactive about it was done, what 1415 groups by now and so again, rather be proactive and reactive in the situations out there.

Another thing that people don’t think about, and I know this is a little different now that people are working from home with COVID. I used to just talk about animals because I would obviously train my reps on this well. I would always say animals that are high anxiety, high stress. Even if they’re not if you could do your best to either take them to work or get them out of the house for the day or the pup that puppy vacation healthy.

Ari: My wife calls it that.

Nick: So things they add to that on the same day for dogs, birds, fish, number of not really fish but dogs, any sort of an at home, we really would like to not have them there but we obviously don’t want the backyard nails are right, I think coming off the roof. We definitely don’t want them in that house as well. That way we can keep them safe, keep them calm. And obviously, it’s a lot less stressful for them to come and go.

Ari: And you mentioned the since COVID. It obviously changes your mindset to not just about pets, but also about the people so many people are working from home. So yeah, it is disruption going on on their own even though you know it is above it’s the roofer you know, whatever piece it is, I mean, there is disruptions going on. You can’t avoid it.

Nick: Yes. I mean, every now and then we’ll get somebody says, oh, I didn’t realize it was gonna be this loud or someone that didn’t go through with all or some of the dead souls like I’ll make it through their head have had a meeting during the day.

And we tell people: look, this is something that we don’t want anyone really home for. Obviously, we can be home and just not have our own meetings, things like that definitely encourage homeowners to be there during the day of installation. You like that, see that the work that we’re doing? I think those are a lot more valuable as well. No, we’re not a roof overlaying or things like that.

Ari: So and these are all things that you’re doing or your reps are doing, you know, they get a contract signed How soon after the contract signing? Was it like when it’s called the schedule? And then you’re going over these things? Or is that happening? After the contract signing? Maybe even as part of like, the cooldown period after signing to just start talking about what’s going to be and you know, get them prepped for the next steps. When do you guys do this?

Nick: I’d say it’s definitely situational. I don’t think you could do this too much. I mean, I don’t see why you can’t go through it with the contract signing day and say look, we appreciate your business. This is now that we’re on to the next step.

It’s a good transition. Hey, these are things we want to talk about X, Y, and Z with animals cutting grass and people being on so you could always still follow up with them. I think it will look really good on your part if you follow up with them the day before, saying: hey, just a reminder I know it’s been raining all week. Concerning what’s your favorite the grass palette is just too situational but I think if you have a throat once with a frog you can say look you could hold them accountable at the end of the project especially if you’re both homeowners.

Ari: So serves a dual purpose I mean it’s it’s also it’s helping them feel good about what’s about to happen and be aware of but also to a degree protecting yourself you know, why are these nails my lawn well it did Cove you know, we did a suggest cutting the lawn and made a little more challenging, but we did the best we possibly could with that, you know things of that nature does allow a softer response if there is something that was covered then having not been but the other thing was you mentioned you do this verbally you do this or is this something you also you know prep them in a you know in some kind of like an email like a get ready for your project kind of a thing whereas that is a more verbal.

Nick: Actually I was kind of vocalizing mister talking about it with you. I don’t hate the idea of even putting in our contracts. And then and I mean obviously homeowner homework or something and you’d have for a breakdown that way to heaven writings and obviously, the one thing that contracts is he dealing with his liability and not having it writing and saying it’s always a “he said, she said” kind of thing. And the more writing the better protective we are.

Because at the end of the day, I mean, I’m more of a: look, let’s just spend a couple hundred bucks and mediate the problem. But should they look at writing if it got to that point?

Ari: God forbid, but it’s about informing the client.

Yeah. Like we we deal with a lot of clients in our business and you know, it’s amazing how many of them don’t even want to speak to someone but they will read they they will happily read emails, watch the videos self educate, and do what they need.

And then there’s the complete opposite, they have no interest in reading anything, they only want to talk. So you know, different strokes for different folks. And, you know, making sure that all bases are covered and making sure that these are they get how much you care. But that’s what it screams to me.

And that’s what I just wanted to like really start focusing on is like, these are all awesome things to be doing. But there’s an impact on them. And you know, when we’re talking sales, and you know, the impact was on the sales during the contract signed by me, well, technically, they could back out. I mean, they were in a business that they have the ability to back out of a contract before we’re starting.

And this is an important period, because I mean, anyone who’s been in the business, I’m sure is that people back out on jobs, it’s a terrible thing to have happen, but it’s a reality. So I’m assuming this has a big impact on that in terms of cancellation rates, number one, you know, when you’re this caring about a client and their experience, not just the selling experience, but also the prep and project experience that speaks volumes to people is that what you’re finding as well, that the response from people is very warm, and perhaps even leading to a lot of referrals as a result of, you know, this kind of extra care? And they feel it? I mean, they got to see it from you. Yeah, absolutely.

Nick: I mean, a lot of companies that are also watching this, as well as myself, but are very, we do a lot of business in our kind of hometown areas.

So like Northern Maryland. And they’re very tight-knit communities and people talk. I mean, I always use the analogy of you go to a great restaurant, a one out of 10, my 10 People might leave a bad a good review, you go to a restaurant, you couldn’t stand nine out of 10 people leave a bad review.

So this doesn’t generate more positive business. It definitely prevents any negative business. But it definitely shows that you care. I mean, part of that is actually caring. Yeah, I think that’s something you can’t really fake. You either do care about your clients or what you do. Or it’s, you fake it till hopefully you do.

Ari: That’s obvious to you. I mean, you didn’t present this as a way to prevent liability, you presented us a way to help the homeowner be prepared for the project and everything smoothly sits where we put things first, you know, protect is the bottom of the list. But at the top of the list is the client and they’re the people and they’re the ones that matter.

And that’s what I heard from you, at least how you shared it. And that speaks volumes about the people, it is their home, and you’re coming in your project, but it’s in their baby, their child, and they love it. So does it 100% make sense? Why that would influence them in a very positive way?

Nick: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I would definitely say we’d never use it to try to protect ourselves. But I do know that I’m sure there’s a lot of people that go to court a lot more often than us, that may say, Look, this is something it would be good to have that we were responsible for XY and Z and clients can be tough sometimes. And who knows whose fault it was things like that it was just direction all the time, not just the harm.

Ari: So at the end of the day, look, there’s a lot of people competing for these folks’ business, as I’m sure you know. And the reality is, it’s who they connect with.

And if the person is caring, we’ve done a lot of podcasts with that in terms of the selling process and connecting with people and honesty, openness, all these topics, and how important they are. But when you’re sharing, I mean, it just continues that the whole process, it’s not just isolated to a contract, this is all the way through and even I’m sure post-contract, post-project, even that there’s still interaction feedback on because it’s like you shared you do multiple things.

So how does that impact you? I mean, when you have that, I mean how many return jobs, not that I’m asking you to pull the exact percentage up out of thin air, but a rough idea indeed of how many repeat projects meaning not doing another roof because he thought he did a great job on the roof. But you know, you come into new gutters, you come in to do siding or, you know, get a referral from them.

Do you have a rough idea of what kind of a REIT that is? 

Nick: I would say at least 50-60%. That’s huge. Yeah. They want yeah.

Ari: I know like I might be home right now. We just recently bought a home not too long ago. And I know I’ll do the roof. I got to do the gutters. Yeah, I mean, it’s gonna eventually have to happen. So I’d rather keep it in one house if I’m happy with them.

You know, the guy did choose to do the roof treats me well, why wouldn’t I give him the business? That’s the nature of it. I would think and this is all gonna play right to that. More business you said I mean, that’s a national astronomical number, which is very impressive.

And it’s clearly tied to how you interact with clients then people don’t refer they don’t ask you back in legacy, there was a real connection made and it was a genuine connection. It wasn’t just a, as he said, like faking it just to get the contract and then move on; it speaks volumes and that’s to me one of the biggest takeaways here is just to again connect with the client it’s not just about the selling and connecting. It’s post-sale keep the connection going the show but wasn’t fake, you know, that’s a critical piece.

Nick: Even after the review kind of tie back into this you can even look at these things. Hopefully, we’re going back and I mean, you use a payment where they mailed in or not, but I mean, I highly recommend going back to every job either you or the rep going back and going through gonna take a lap around the yard, bring your bag with you. I keep one of my trucks to do my best to kind of follow up with what the guys did after good.

Ari: sleeves volume cuz I mean, again, I get it. I love what I’m hearing from businesses I happen to, during a period before we started the company here, were doing things on the other side of it and were doing HVAC in-home sales and getting systems installed. And that company was tuned in, they were successful 30 plus your company tuned into the same kind of mentality that you have, which was the post-contract piece.

And they went to great lengths to prep the people, and we’re here in Atlanta. So you could imagine someone not having air on because their home getting their system changed out, when it’s 98 degrees outside, you got to prep people for this, and it could take two days, depending on the size of the home, you know, ductwork needed, etc.

So, you know, this kind of mentality is not, you know, unheard of, but it is unique because not so many people do it. And what you’re doing is obviously special, it’s obviously led you to help you to build your business further. Grow it to again, you know, the short period of time, extraordinary lengths. And that’s what it’s about. It’s not just happened by happenstance. This is all part of a process and a planning process.

Yes, fantastic stuff.

Nick: Yes. Absolutely.

When you go back to the home, I mean, I have so error, they say 400. Just for my the exact number in front of me.

Clients we have, we only have 50-something Google reviews. So that’s something I really refocus myself on is how do I get a good deal review because if you send someone a late, they’re not filling it out.

So this checklist back to him and say, Hey, here’s the checklist. We want to make sure we hit everything. Nothing’s broken inside. Nothing everything’s good all the nails route outside. How we’re Mr. Mr. Jones, how’d you feel that Mountain View did on this project? While we’re plugged that in 10? Perfect. Do you mind reflecting on our Google reviews, this helps generate business and makes us more noticeable online, through social media.

Ari: Huge added benefit of, you know, social proof, they’re more likely to do it when you treat them this way throughout the project. And it’s because you’re able to care about the stuff these days.

Nick: Yeah, I mean, drop, drop them a link right then and there. They’re gonna fill it out with me. They’re not gonna, I’m gonna put out later. I mean, do you mind taking 3030 seconds for this big Google review, I can AirDrop it to you. I can text it to you. carrier pigeon email, however, you want to get it, you’re right there, look at it, then ask them

Do you know any friends or family that are ready to have improvement projects? I mean, my benefits us that we do everything. So it’s like

Ari: Anyone that wants to put in a bid even if someone’s not just to me to relate to some of it is just focused on roofing. And that’s all they do.

I mean, the neighbors, if people in the neighborhood I mean, I’m sure most roofers, I mean, I know that I know have all gone door knocking in the neighborhood, you know, a project, a project kind of door knocking, hey, we’re doing your neighbor’s job? Well, if that neighbor didn’t have the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling and feeling good about who they hire, well, when they get asked by their neighbors. Yeah, they’re not going to recommend it.

So, you know, this is not just for the extra projects, deciding the gutters, I mean, this is also just to even focus on the reputation, like you mentioned, getting good reviews and positive referrals. I mean, referrals are slam dunks for any of us. So you know, that’s the name of the game.

And it really, I mean, you said a lot of different things here, but just wanted to make sure we could like, summarize this a bit for everyone that’s listening. Because there’s a lot of key points here, you got to figure out obviously, your own businesses, what those things are, you know, Nick was sharing ideas as far as what he does, and he’s doing extra renovations and a lot of roofing. And that’s where the focus of the primary conversation is. But again, like I shared, you know, with a track, it’s no different I mean, every category of business, every kind of contractor, from what I’m understanding you have the ability to not just be a deal and Dawn kind of a person, but also carry through the customer care of the customer experience by putting them at the forefront.

How is this project going to impact their lives, it’s going to impact their home and get them to feel good about that. That helps the project go smoothly. Having a happy customer and also a lot less friction or any potential for friction.

Do you use the word NIC proactive? It’s proactive customer care.

And this is something as we said, is going to not just help that person with the project. But they’ll have an impact on other businesses, whether it’s referrals or additional projects. Every person listening has different avenues of their business, a landscaper you know now has some deal to do tree work as well because this is who they want to have back as an example. It’s applicable everywhere.

And that’s the one where I’m pulling out of this is it’s about the relationship and how you treat that client, putting them at the forefront versus you know, again, just signed now you’re just about the check. That’s a very, very different feeling.

So I really appreciate you coming on here and sharing all this was a very different topic than we’re used to talking about. It’s always how to get the deal closed. But this is equally as important as we said, you also can lose deals.

And that’s the last thing anyone ever wants to do: work hard to get one and then lose one. But there’s a reason people don’t do what you’re suggesting here, which is again, they care about the extra step in going the extra mile. Someone a long time ago told me there’s no traffic of the extra mile. I think you’re one that is experiencing that first dance.

So I do appreciate you joining us Nick of course and I want to thank our listeners for listening to the X Factor home pro sales podcast. I do hope it brings you value and helps you take your sales games to the next level.

Be sure to subscribe so you can catch our next episode, your action items as a listener, or wherever you’re listening right now hit the subscribe button. Catch you next episode.

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