The following scenario is very common to self-employed business owners in the construction industry.
When you’re looking for construction jobs, you're not making money and when you ARE doing construction jobs, you’re not finding new construction jobs and prospects.
The challenge is, how can you do both?
Not only do you have to do the building and remodeling jobs, but at the same time you have to 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’re 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’re computer savvy. Or, have your 8-year-old nephew help you.
When you do a job in a neighborhood, hang them on as many doors as you can.
People are always curious about who’s 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.
You might also offer an apology for any disturbing construction noise and give the hours when noise might be most prevalent.
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.
If you’re working in the middle of the block then put the sign at the nearest intersection. Note: Make sure you’re not in violation of some obscure sign ordinance.
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’ll be exposed to high traffic volume.
If you don't work weekends, then your trucks are still working doing your advertising.
Phone numbers and websites 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.
They can take a quick phone snapshot of the rear of your vehicle and have your contact information readily available.
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 Lions 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’re 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 construction members to people who call looking for contractors and remodeling help.
Join your local chamber if you have a strong one with a large membership.
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 someone that does.
7. Using the Phone to Market Your Construction Business
Your construction company web site should be on your answer machine or voicemail.
After three rings, my office phone automatically rings to my cell, so I never miss a call.
Many people will not leave a message; they will just call another contractor.
I always answer unless I’m 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 or sitting in the parking lot near your business.
8. Advertise Your Construction Business in Social Media
Put the following in your social media page ad: "… for special offers and unadvertised specials visit xyzconstruction.com."
I would suggest starting with LinkedIn. It’s the best place to recruit new employees, and there are many construction groups you can join and share tips with.
Best of all business owners and people with money are there. Show them iPhone videos of your jobs, — before and after videos work great.
You want to get people over to your website 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 website. Top and bottom of every page.
Don't make people search for your contact info. They’re on your website for a reason. They’re potential buyers.
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?
Everyone wants to show off the quality job you did for them. Ask them, “Who’s the first person you’re going to show off your new deck to?”
Always, always, always ask for referrals. No one is going to be offended.
Remind them you were recommended to them by someone.
Put your name in their minds.
10. Build Your Construction Business with Direct Mail Postcards
You can also make these on your home printer. An 8.5x11 card stock page is four postcards.
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. (See #3 above). Click here for postcard ideas.
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’ll have a very profitable construction business.
Based in Bozeman, MT, Tom Egelhoff is the author of, “The Small-Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less,” and "How to Market, Advertise and Promote Your Business or Service in Your Own Backyard."
He is also a seminar and workshop presenter and trainer. He may be reached at 406-580-1104. Have a business question for Tom? Click HERE to get Tom's advice for free.
Listen in on Tom's weekly Saturday radio show 8am to 11am Mountain Time "Open For Business" on AM 1450 KMMS Radio, Bozeman. Click “Listen Live.”