Working as an independent home improvement contractor can be a great way to do what you do best and what you love doing, all while maintaining a high level of control over your own work schedule. Another desirable aspect of this profession is that your skills are, and will always be, in demand. After all, as long as people own homes, there will be a need for home improvement projects. The total amount of money spent on home improvement projects in the U.S. has grown over the years. In 2015, it was about $340 billion. So, there’s plenty of demand for your skills.
Even though you can be confident there are plenty of people in your area who need a home improvement contractor, you can’t be confident that they’ll choose you. After all, there are other contractors in your area who are vying for the same jobs you are. And even if you don’t have a lot of competition, people may not know about you. This is why marketing is a crucial factor in your success as an independent contractor.
In this three-part blog series we will talk about finding those first clients for new businesses, home improvement lead generation ideas and marketing strategies, whether to hire a professional to do your marketing, and some quick wins to give your marketing that extra boost. This week, we’ll start with looking at lead generation and marketing strategies.
How Do New Contractors Get Clients?
If you’re just starting out as an independent home improvement contractor, then generating leads and getting these potential clients to hire you can be challenging. After all, people want to hire a contractor they know they can trust based on previous work and plenty of positive reviews. Establishing this reputation may seem a long way off, but don’t worry. Right now, you just have to get the ball rolling, and the rest will follow.
1. Find the First Few Clients
First, focus on getting those first few clients who will leave you positive reviews and help to get your name out there. How do you get these first few clients? You may not have a network for your business yet, but you have a personal network, so use it. Ask your family members, friends and neighbors if they or anyone they know needs some home improvement work done. Consider offering a discount to these first few clients to incentivize them to take a chance on you. Remember, you may know you’re going to do a great job, but they don’t necessarily know that yet.
2. Generate Online Reviews
The next step is to ask these folks if they could leave a review online to let other potential clients know what their experience was like and whether they were satisfied with your work. Though you could wait to ask once you’ve completed the job, if you tell them upfront that you’d like them to leave a review when you’re done, you give your client peace of mind that you’ll do your very best.
3. Encourage Recommendations
Word of mouth is so important in this industry, so getting people to personally recommend you to their friends, family, co-workers or neighbors will help you tremendously as you build your business. Especially if your first few clients are close friends or family, they will want to promote you to everyone they know and help your business succeed. Equip these clients to more effectively promote your business by giving them a handful of business cards that include your name, what you do and your contact information.
4. Use Traditional Advertising
We’ll talk more about advertising in Part 2, but it’s worth noting here that traditional advertising tactics can also help you get your name out there. One method to try is to have some promotional doorknob hangers printed and to hang these on the front doors of houses in a neighborhood where you’re doing work. The great thing about this tactic is that these folks can talk to their neighbor who hired you to learn more about your services and the great job you did for them. Including a promo code on the hanger helps you to track your return on investment (ROI) from this advertising campaign.
Was this helpful? Share it on social media, which is another great way to get your name out there! And stay tuned for next week’s post when we look at the pros and cons of hiring a professional to handle your marketing and advertising strategies.