Residential construction has been on a tear—in fact, a recent survey found that more than three-quarters of Americans would prefer to designate money for a remodel than to use it as a down payment for a new home. That means that demand for licensed contractors will be high, and now is the time to turn up your construction business marketing so that you can be ready to bid and win on the most coveted jobs.
Referrals are the lifeblood of most construction businesses. That’s because having someone remodel your house can be an expensive, disruptive process, so homeowners are likely going to turn to people they trust to seek names of potential contractors.
That means that you need to ensure that your work is always “referral-worthy,” and that can depend on your communication and interpersonal skills—often as much as your work.
For your client, their home is truly their castle, and it can be disconcerting to see a contractor who leaves a mess everyday so make sure that your crew always treats the site respectfully.
Another hot button is budget overruns and schedule delays, and yet as a contractor, you know that those are often outside of your control. The best strategy is to manage expectations at the outset and then all along the way—when you overpromise and underdeliver, you wind up witha dissatisfied homeowner, no matter what the circumstances were. Be candid with your clients at the startabout the types of issues that will delay the project, such as change orders.Frequent and complete communication will help the homeowner feel in control orat least understand why there have been changes.
Meet the neighbors.
When a home is being remodeled, people are naturally curious which can attract attention. Your work can even inspire them to consider their own remodeling—and it would be great to be the contractor they turn to. Help cultivate this type of traffic by trumpeting your involvement.
First, put a sturdy, attractive sign in the yard so those driving by or walking their dog will know which construction business is doing that great work. Give marketing material and cards to yourclient so they can easily pass on your name. Hold an open house event when thework is done to show off the new upgrades—and pass out your cards, of course. Finally, do a canvass once the project is complete and leave flyers with your name and contact information, along with a marketing message like “I just finished remodeling one of your neighbor’s homes. Are you the next one to improve your home’s value and comfort?”
Forge relationships with other industry professionals.
Real estate agents, interior designers, and architects can be great sources of leads as they have every incentive to make sure that their valued customers are put in good hands when choosing a contractor. You also should find out if local home improvement and hardware stores will allow you to post or leave marketing materials about your construction business. And being involved in your local home builders’ association can help establish youas an expert and keep your name top of mind whenever anyone in the industry isasked for a recommendation.
Have a professional online presence.
While some potential clients might find your construction business exclusively through an online search, the goal of your website and social media is also to establish your credibility should someone hear your name and want to find out more. So be sure that your testimonials are front and center, along with pictures of recent projects and information on your working “style.”
You’ll also want to optimize your site to be found better in searches…most potential customers will search “home builder +city” or “contractor + city” so be sure that your website has the right keywords to turn up in those types of searches.
Your social media channels are another way to showcase work you’re doing (always ask for permission) and can also show your personality—remember, that can be a huge part of why someone will choose to work with you.
Make sure your licenses and insurance are up to date.
Savvy customers will want to have proof that your license is current and that you have all the necessary insurance, including worker’s compensation. Having your policies ready to show underscores that you care about the safety of your customers and your crew—and that you take your business seriously. Stories abound of homeowners getting burned by contractors so portraying as professional an image as possible is important to win their trust.
During boom times, sometimes home construction businesses and contractors have more business than they can fulfill. No matter what the circumstances, always make sure you respond promptly and courteously to inquiries. Your goal with your construction marketing is to become the go-to contractor in any market conditions.