On almost every building project we make sure to introduce ourselves to the surrounding neighbors. This often helps small problems from becoming headaches, plus it is a good marketing tool.
I always try to introduce myself in person, and if that is not possible I leave a letter with my business card in the mailbox. The letter describes the project in very broad strokes, mentions that we have an approved building permit, and includes an open invitation to visit the site and say hello. We also ask to please contact us with any concerns about the usual nuisances such as noise, parking, debris, et cetera.
On a recent project that lasted over 7 months, we claimed two parking spots on a street where parking is hard to come by. The neighboring home was shared by a number of students, and an effort to bring them up to speed fell through the cracks. Even though the officially sanctioned NO PARKING signs were obvious and impossible to miss, one Monday morning we found an old car parked in one of the spaces. The registration tags had expired 3 years earlier, and there was no note with contact info. I waited a day, and then called the parking enforcement folks to have it towed. I learned later that it cost the owner nearly $400 to retrieve her car from the impound yard. While I felt bad that she, especially as a student, had to fork over so much money, I also thought she was rather ignorant and laissez-faire about it.
In any case, a little courtesy goes a long way. Here is an example of the kind of letter we use. (this one was sent when the work was already underway). How do you handle relationships with your client’s neighborhood?