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Sales Models During a Remodel: Relationship Selling vs. One Call Close

September 8th, 2023 | 6 min read

By Jacob Livingston

custom built carpenter working on home remodel lansing michigan

Are you considering a home remodel? Whether you're planning a small-scale renovation or a complete overhaul, navigating the multitude of decisions and choices can be both exciting and overwhelming.

As a homeowner, you likely want a remodeling experience that's not only efficient but also aligned with your vision and budget. But with numerous contractors, sales models, and approaches available, how do you make the choice that ensures a successful project outcome?

At Custom Built, we understand the dilemmas homeowners face when choosing a remodeling partner. With over 15+ years of experience in the industry, we recognize that the sales model you choose can significantly impact your remodeling experience, determining factors such as project customization, timeline, and communication.

In this article, we'll delve into the two primary sales models homeowners commonly encounter: the Relationship Selling and One Call Close Sales Models.

By exploring the pros and cons of each approach and delving into the factors influencing your decision, we aim to equip you with the insights you need to make an informed choice:

Relationship Selling: Long-Term Partnerships

custom built team members and sales advisors lansing michigan

Relationship Selling places a strong emphasis on building long-lasting rapport with homeowners. This approach involves multiple interactions that foster a profound understanding of the homeowner's vision, preferences, and concerns. 

Remodeling experts who adhere to this model invest time in getting to know the homeowner, their lifestyle, and the specifics of their project. This approach proves valuable for complex projects that demand meticulous planning and a personalized touch.


  • Personalized Experience: Homeowners appreciate the tailored approach, considering their unique needs and desires.

  • Pricing Accuracy: From conceptualization to completion, your project’s cost and scope of work are defined early and accurately.

  • Trust and Comfort: Regular interactions cultivate trust and a sense of comfort between the homeowner and the remodeling company.

  • Ongoing Consultation: Clear communication and continuous consultation ensure the project aligns with the homeowner's evolving vision.


  • Potential Delays: The detailed nature of the model might lead to longer project initiation times.

  • Longer Decision Process: The focus on thorough understanding and collaboration may extend the decision-making phase.

  • Detailed Structured Process: The process is typically more structured, rigid, and controlled by the contractor. If you’re interested in self-managing more aspects of your project, this may not be a great fit.

The One Call Close: Quick First Interactions

phone headset for one call close sales model on desk

In contrast, the One Call Close Sales Model aims to streamline the sales process into a single interaction.

During this singular call or meeting, the sales representative overviews the remodeling services, project scope, and pricing. This approach is often favored for smaller projects or more straightforward projects.


  • Efficiency: Homeowners receive information in a concise format, enabling swift decision-making.

  • Simplicity: The straightforward nature of the model suits homeowners seeking an uncomplicated process.


  • Less Personalization: The concise nature of the model might lead to less personalization and customization.

  • Potential Lack of Consultation: Limited interactions may decrease the opportunity for ongoing consultation.

  • Cost Inaccuracies: Proposed budgets start higher in cost and, subsequently, are lowered on a single call to encourage a quicker decision.

  • High Pressure: As the name suggests, One Call Closes are designed to be conducted through one phone call. This means that your sales advisor will push for a decision now, and not offer to call back another day to let you think on the offer.

Custom Built Tip of the Day: If a company gives you an extremely high price first, then gives you five discounts (plus an “if you sign today deal”), you’re not necessarily getting the best deal.

Factors Influencing Your Choice Between the Sales Models

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When deliberating between Relationship Selling and One Call Close, homeowners must consider a range of factors that play a crucial role in aligning their choice with their project's nature, their preferences, and their comfort levels.

Understanding these factors will empower homeowners to make an informed decision that best suits their unique circumstances:

Project Complexity and Scope

The complexity and scope of the remodeling project stand as one of the most influential factors in determining which sales model is the most suitable.

Larger and more intricate projects, such as whole-home remodels or extensive additions, often require a higher degree of personalization and ongoing consultation.

These projects typically benefit from Relationship Selling, as it allows for in-depth collaboration and tailored planning to address the project's multifaceted aspects.

Conversely, smaller projects with straightforward requirements, such as replacing fixtures or updating countertops, might align well with the One Call Close. These projects can be summarized and discussed efficiently in a single interaction, eliminating the need for extended consultation.

Homeowner's Involvement and Preferences

The level of involvement a homeowner desires in the remodeling process significantly influences the sales model that suits them best. Homeowners who wish to participate in the planning, decision-making actively, and ongoing adjustments of the project often find Relationship Selling more appealing.

This model ensures the homeowner's preferences and vision are meticulously incorporated into the project's design and execution.

On the other hand, homeowners who prefer a more streamlined and expedient approach might gravitate towards the One Call Close. This approach lets them receive comprehensive information quickly, making prompt decisions without protracted consultations.

Timeline and Urgency

The urgency of the project and the homeowner's timeline also contribute to the choice of sales model. If time is of the essence and the project needs to be initiated promptly, the One Call Close provides a swift solution. Homeowners with limited schedules or time-sensitive remodeling requirements can appreciate the efficiency of this model in facilitating quick project commencement.

Keep in mind that all companies are different. So, while you might receive a faster budget negotiation, your project might not start as quickly as you’d like it to, depending on who you’re working with.

Homeowners with more flexible timelines might opt for Relationship Selling, which accommodates longer decision-making and planning phases. This allows for a more thorough exploration of design options and materials, leading to a comprehensive and refined final project.

Level of Customization

Projects that demand a high level of customization often align better with Relationship Selling. Homeowners seeking unique design elements, intricate detailing, and personalized solutions benefit from the collaborative and consultative nature of this model.

Relationship Selling provides ample opportunities for homeowners to communicate their desires and preferences, ensuring a tailor-made result.

Conversely, projects with limited customization requirements can benefit from the One Call Close. Homeowners with a clear vision and straightforward objectives can receive all necessary information in a concise interaction, allowing them to move forward promptly.

Budget and Cost Considerations

The available budget and the homeowner's financial considerations play a significant role in determining the appropriate sales model.

More complex and personalized projects often involve higher costs due to the level of customization and attention to detail. In such cases, Relationship Selling ensures that the investment corresponds to the involvement and expertise required.

For projects with budget constraints or prioritizing cost efficiency, the One Call Close can offer a streamlined approach that simplifies the decision-making process and minimizes consultation time.

As we explained earlier, the main tactic to achieve this quicker process involves starting with a higher budget proposal, and then negotiating a lower price during the first phone call.

Making an Informed Decision Between the Sales Models

When choosing a suitable sales model, homeowners must evaluate their comfort level, project complexity, and desired involvement. It's crucial to assess the qualifications and communication skills of the remodeling company's sales representatives in both models. Clear communication and alignment of expectations are essential to ensure a successful remodeling experience.

Here is a high-level overview of the differences between the two sales models, and how to tell what method your candidate practices:

Relationship Selling

  • No price negotiation

  • Multiple appointments

  • Structured process to follow

One Call Close

  • Price negotiation

  • Fast-paced process

  • One meeting or call to come to a decision

Custom Built’s Sales Model Recommendation

As a Relationship Selling-driven company, we at Custom Built have seen firsthand the direct benefits of our approach - as well as the downsides to a One Call Close Sales Model.

While you have a choice between the two options, be aware:

Slow down and consider the decision a salesperson is asking you to make. If they could discount a project by thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in one phone call, the initial price was never accurate or honest.

Additionally, if your salesperson isn’t giving you the time and space to sleep on your decision, they do not likely have your best interest in mind. 

Remember: Many One Call Close approaches prioritize the volume of appointments and pitches, not slowing down and fully understanding the customer and the project.

Next steps to hiring your remodeling contractor

Reflecting on the initial homeowner's dilemma and the complexities of choosing the suitable sales model, it's clear that the decision-making process is a critical step in your remodeling journey. The challenges and opportunities inherent in each model indicate the diverse needs and priorities of homeowners like you.

By reviewing the pros and cons of both Relationship Selling and One Call Closes, you now possess a comprehensive understanding of their distinct features.

You've gained insights into the advantages of personalized collaboration and the efficiencies of streamlined decision-making.

As a seasoned remodeling partner, Custom Built has supported homeowners through thousands of projects, and we continue to adapt our approach to ensure seamless collaboration. Our 15+ years of expertise spans our relationship sales model, and our commitment to delivering exceptional results remains unwavering.

With a team dedicated to understanding your unique vision and requirements, we're poised to guide you through every step of your remodeling journey.

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For more information on how to properly vet your remodeler options before heading into your project, we recommend the following articles:

Jacob Livingston

Jacob brings 20+ years of residential construction experience to the Custom Built team. He has spent years in the field learning the hands-on side of building from foundation prep to roofing shingles. With a need-to-know mindset and a desire to understand how things work, Jacob has studied building science, systems integration, home inspection, and radon measurement and mitigation.