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Whether you’re a young man arriving at a family’s doorstep to pick up your date for the Homecoming dance or a HVAC contractor starting seasonal maintenance – you’re both in the same boat. Within the first few seconds of seeing you and your marketing, your audience will make a decision about you. And whether you’re an acne-ridden teen or a well-mannered service tech – first impressions are important. Let’s take a look at where you prospective client may first run into you and the judgement call they may make about your business within the first few moments of knowing you exist.
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All businesses must exert their resources every day to continue to operate and grow. When you think about your spending on your business, consider both your wallet and your watch before you make your decision.
Most contractor start-ups are not funded by venture capitalists, so how you spend on your company depends greatly on the stage of your business growth. If you are a fledgling company, you like have more time than money to spend, even if that means taking withdrawals from your time committed to friends, family, and sleep. If you have a few years on the job and a couple employees or vendors helping to grow your business, your success has dictated that you can spend more money to make money.
We’ve got some suggestions to help allocate your resources appropriately – to make sure you are spending your time and your money efficiently.
Sometimes it takes being on the other side of the system for you to get some insight onto how to improve a service-based business. I recently had to find a company for air conditioning repair services. I was lucky enough to be referred to a great company — they were prompt with scheduling, fair with pricing, quick with service, and convenient to pay. But after the job was done – that was it. There was no follow through. They had wow’d me as a customer from a skill level standpoint, but I haven’t seen anything else from the company after the invoice was paid and the van drove off.
Customer service is about making connections. The business to customer bond can’t be instantly created. Sometimes, a strong connection can be forged when a business goes above and beyond to satisfy a previously disgruntled customer. A feeling of trust can be instilled when businesses honestly take care of a customer’s well being in an opportunity where they could have easily been overcharged. While cleaning out a condensate line isn’t as profitable as an air handler replacement, when customers realize they have been treated with respect and dignity – that value over time + the boost to your reputation can have a much higher impact on your bottom line than that one single install.
However – just like any relationship, even the strongest trust and admiration cannot be maintained in silence. You have to constantly be working on your customer relationships to nurture them. Otherwise, if you never call or never write, they’ll forget about that one time you came to their house at 3am to fix that leaky pipe – They’ll just call the first plumber they find for their next project.
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Running a small business means that you are constantly juggling your work and personal life responsibilities. Especially difficult when operating a small business is being able to take care of today’s tasks at hand while also looking out for the future growth of your business. Let’s discuss a few simple ways that you can try to maximize your time with a few productivity hacks and ideas to keep your business in order while keeping your sanity in check.
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First – A Disclaimer. “Keeping An Eye On The Competition” doesn’t mean you should copycat your client’s every move. We’ve discussed before that ripping off your competitor’s designs doesn’t equate to inheriting their success. Overall – to do well requires that you be more proactive and customer-centric. That being said, being aware of the competitors in your area can make sure that you avoid blindspots in your business operations while being able to perhaps take advantage of the weaknesses of other companies that service your area. Let’s discuss a few tips for keeping an eye on the competition.
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Whether your neck of the woods is starting to warm up or if there’s still snow on the ground, it’s time to get ready for the warm weather season. So even if it still doesn’t feel like Spring, it’s important to prepare your Springtime marketing materials and business plan to be ready to hit the ground running. Get your marketing in gear and “Go Green” to capture the moment!
When you’re at a customer’s home or business, you’re there to do work – not a photo shoot. But taking pictures of your work and documenting what you do for each job is essential if you want to market your business online.
Why You Should Be Taking Pictures Of Your Work
- It signals Google that your website is constantly updating itself, which is good for SEO, branding and marketing. It’s almost like a blog, except it’s much easier because you are already doing this work for money anyway; why not capitalize on your work further down the road?
- It widens your footprint on the Internet with consumable content; people love to look at things. Regularly adding collections of 10-20 photos to your website each time you finish a job gives people a reason to become more familiar with your business. Each job should have a page with photos that cover all stages of the job – the before, during, and after photos – accompanied by a description of what happened.
- You build a collection of valuable pages on your website which you can strategically share on Facebook, in emails, or with other online audiences. You can use these other channels to promote your work and drive traffic back to your site.
- You can use these project pages to instantly answer every customer’s question: “Can I see examples?”
If you are your own boss in the construction industry, you likely started off in the field, worked your way up, and one day decided to hang your own shingle (roofing pun intended). Whether you’ve operated your own company for 10 years or 10 minutes, it is to remember that running a contractor business is vastly different from working a job.
Running A Contractor Business v Working A Job
- Business Management – Taxes, People, and Money
- Jobs Are Day-To-Day, Businesses Look To The Future
- Businesses Require An Investment: Time or Money
When you are looking ahead and crafting your business marketing plan, it is important to keep seasons and themes in mind. Equally important – it’s vital to stay in front of those timely marketing pieces, so that you will be ready to strike at the appropriate time.
We know that you are busy, so we’ll do our best to keep you ahead of the curve and make sure that you and your company can be at the ready with your marketing materials and strategy. This month, we’re talking Valentine’s Day Contractor Marketing.