If the customer feels they've been part of the colour choosing process, they're more likely to be satisfied with the colour after the job is done even if it is not quite right. This process also gives the customer and the finisher an opportunity to review the job so far. Customers appreciate this!
People see colour differently. A colour match for one person may not be a colour match for someone else. Hardwood changes colour depending on the angle of the light (time of day) in the room and the direction at which you look at the floor. For a finisher to just go ahead and do a great job matching the colour in his mind is no guarantee of job acceptance later on. The customer's approval should always be obtained.
- Don't rush the process. Set aside an hour to meet on site with the customer and the finisher to review the colour options. This also presents the opportunity to talk about the rest of the job, the schedule, the work done so far and address any concerns the customer may have.
- Ensure the sample area is prepared in the exact same way as the rest of the floor. If you are 'popping' the grains with water prior to staining then pop the grains for the sample patch too.
- Have the finisher prepare a small section of flooring in a closet or indiscreet area of the floor where small samples of different stain colours can be applied.
- Have a form the customer can sign off approval on. The same form should have a space where the finisher can write down the approved stain combination. This pre-printed form could also include useful maintenance instructions which will encourage the customer to keep the form on hand for future reference.
Advise your customer upfront to avoid problems later....
When the floor is freshly stained, it will look rich and deep in colour - almost like it will when the finish coats are applied. Inform your customer that the freshly applied stain will quickly dry and begin to look pale, dry and not like the colour they chose. If the customer understands this ahead of time, you'll avoid a stressful moment when the customer phones upset that the colour they chose is not the one that was applied.
Be clear with your customer that they must not walk on unprotected stain - stocking feet will leave foot prints that may show up in the stain after the finish coats are applied. If they must walk on the unprotected floor, advise them to wear runners, walk carefully and don't twist their feet when they turn.