Welcome back to our 2-part series about how to start a contracting business. In the first post we covered how any business owner needs a brand, the right tools to be successful, transportation and protection in case the business was ever sued. While these are great pointers for getting started, every successful business owner knows there is more to it.
You Need An Office Location
Even if you’re on the go most of your day, you’ll still want to have an office to exist as your home base. If you consider all of the admin duties you’ll need to perform to be successful, you’ll quickly realize the need for an office space. Assess your office needs and where you would prefer to located, then contact a commercial real estate agent to find a building / office lease for you. Be cautious about signing a long-term lease in case you grow quickly and need a new space.
Referrals from Existing Customers
Every contractor knows the best way to earn new business is to get referrals from existing customers. A referral has a much higher likelihood of turning into a customer compared to other types of marketing. When you are on a job for a customer, always ask them if they have any friends or family to refer you to. In most cases, they will be able to think of someone they can refer you to and viola, your book of business grows.
Ask for Reviews from Customers
In the same mindset of getting referrals from your existing customers, you’ll also want to ask for honest reviews. The best way for someone to hire you is to find positive reviews about you on websites like Google, Yelp, Facebook and HomeAdvisor. Finding these reviews, assuming they are positive, helps a future customer be confident in hiring you. You can start acquiring reviews by asking customers directly when you’re on the job, set up a form through Google Forms or opt into a text message marketing program that will send your customer a review request upon completion of the job.
Create A Long-Term Plan
To truly be successful with any type of business, you’ll need a well-structured business plan. And in addition to a business plan, you’ll want something that is built out for the long-term. Consider planning for 6-months, 12-months, 3 years and 5 years. The farther out you can map your strategy, the better prepared you will be for changes and growth in the business.
Be Ready To Invest In Marketing
An old rule of the thumb for small businesses in a startup phase is to re-invest 10-15% of revenue back into business marketing. This could cover a wide variety of marketing strategies ranging from ads on Facebook and Nextdoor to hiring an SEO consultant who can manage all things Google for you. As you grow, so should your marketing. Plan to re-invest in your business to help you create new business going forward.
Of course, the next step is to get started. Using tips from this post and our last post in the series, plan out how you want your business to work, the prices you will charge, the area you will service and your ideal customer. Getting these pivotal things in place will allow you to hit the ground running and be successful in the long run.