by Tom Egelhoff
The following scenario is very common to self-employed business owners in the construction industry.
When you are looking for construction jobs you're not making money and when you are doing construction jobs you are not finding new construction jobs and prospects.
The challenge is, how can you do both? Not only do the building and remodeling, but build your business to the point you can hire more people? Here are some low cost methods you can use to get the word out while you are working.
1. How to Advertise Your Construction Business On A Limited Budget
I'm not talking about spending big bucks on radio, TV or newspaper. Most print shops have ready-cut door hangers. If they don't tell them they can order them from http://blanksusa.com. You can make up your own, on your own printer, if you are computer savvy.
When you do a job in a neighborhood, hang them on as many doors as you can. People are always curious about who is doing what in their neighborhood and may ask the neighbor how the construction went and would they recommend you.
The door hangers will explain who you are and what contracting or remodeling services you offer along with contact info.
Important Tip: Also have a sandwich board made that goes near the street or on top of your vehicle to alert anyone driving by who is doing the work.
2. Advertising & Marketing With Your Construction Vehicles
When not in use, your construction vehicles, with your company name on them, should be parked in high traffic areas, where they will be exposed to high traffic volume.
If you don't work weekends, then your trucks are still working doing your advertising. Phone numbers have got to be on the rear of the trucks for people who pull up behind you at stop signs.
Everyone has a cell, and they will call, but not if your number is only on the side of your trucks. It's too dangerous to drive next to someone and try to write down or dial a number - although some people will unfortunately try.
3. Don't Do Things In The Light That You Should Be Doing In The Dark
This means, things like remodeling quotes and construction proposals are done after working hours. All things done in the light must build the business in some way.
4. Build Your Construction Business By Networking
Church, city council meetings, service organizations like Lion's or Kiwanis clubs. People who belong to these groups are usually the movers and shakers in the community and they will get to know you and recommend you.
Yes, you are going to have to budget times to do these things but they will pay off in the long run. Look for groups that have breakfast meetings or end of the week lunches.
5. Chamber Of Commerce Recommendations
Most chambers recommend their members to people who call looking for contractors and remodeling help. If you don't have a strong chamber in your town then find another high profile group to join.
6. Marketing Your Construction Business With A Business Card
My business card goes in every local bill I pay, every time I pay it. Paying bills online is fine, but the person who opens that payment envelope might need your construction and remodeling expertise, or know some one that does.
7. Using The Phone To Market Your Construction Business
Your construction company web site should be on your answer machine or voice mail. After three rings, my office phone automatically rings to my cell.
Many people will not leave a message; they will just call another contractor. I always answer unless I am with a client. If the phone captures the number I call them back as soon as possible.
If you have a store front office, make sure the phone number is on your sign on the outside of the building for people driving by.
8. Advertise Your Construction Business In The Yellow Pages
Not everyone is computer literate. Many people still use the old fashioned phone books. I tear out the construction pages of old phone books and save them.
If I see the same ads from competitors I know they are getting results or they wouldn't be wasting their money being there.
Put the following in your yellow page ad: "for special offers and un-advertised specials visit our web site."
You want to get people out of the yellow pages, away from your competitors, and over to your site so you can show them your products, services and expertise.
Make it easy to contact you. Contact info should be on every page of your site. Don't make people search for contact info.
9. Build Your Construction Business With Referrals
Start following up with all your old customers. Do they have new construction or remodeling needs? Is there anyone they know that might need your contracting or remodeling services? Put your name in their minds.
10. Build Your Construction Business With Direct Mail Postcards
You can also make these on your home printer. Send 50-100 a week to areas that you feel match your target market. Use the "godfather" approach. Make them an offer they can't refuse. Do this in the dark.
Some final thoughts on marketing and advertising your construction business.
The point is, think of as many ways as you can to keep your name in front of people. Make a commitment to do these things. You will only have to work your tail off for a short period of time because the work will start coming in.
If you manage your time and do some or all of the things I'm suggesting you will have a very profitable construction season.