Under-promise, over-deliver for good referrals
It should be obvious to anyone in business, not keeping your word does nothing to enhance your image.
It’s often hard to tell a customer, very politely of course, “You’ll have to wait”. You might be a very small building company and know you won’t have a gap in your work for six months.
If this is the situation, tell the customer you can start in seven months, turn up after 6½ and you’ll be praised. Say you’ll be along in three months (to keep the customer happy) and they’ll hate you for taking six.
Never promise more than you can achieve. It’s better to lose jobs than to upset customers, because happy customers are the very people who are going to recommend you for your next job. You’ll get payback when the economy goes bad again, as it inevitably will one day.
You’ll get referrals when others won’t.