In an article published on ConsructionBusinessOwner.com George Hedley explained how a Plumber can get their phone ringing despite the slow economy.
1. Create Ongoing Revenue Streams
Charlie had built his business by doing excellent work and providing custom home-builders bids on a project-by-project basis. His customers liked dealing with Charlie directly and relied on him to do what was right on the jobsite. Because of his trustworthiness, Charlie received repeat business and referrals for high-end home plumbing contracts. And because his price was not usually the deciding factor, his crews had become less efficient and too detailed than they should have been. When competition increased, his prices and field productivity were not competitive enough to generate new contracts anymore.
With XYZ Plumbing’s current business model in mind, think about what type of customers will pay for high-end workmanship rather than low price. Charlie’s company is already known for providing the utmost in service and quality. He has over 275 past projects and customers who can vouch for his company’s reputation. Therefore, the best business growth alternative for Charlie is to exploit what he already has and use it to his advantage.
Charlie could easily start a home maintenance plumbing, heating and air conditioning service company just by offering a great service to his past customers. This division would be built by offering ongoing annual service contracts to high-end residential homeowners who appreciate the best service available. He could easily market to past customers with introductory specials and free home inspections to get his service business started.
2. Replace Yourself
You need help to grow your company-you cannot do twice as much as you are currently doing and do it well. You must hire someone to either do your current job or the new job created. Adding a service division requires different management skills to generate customers and direct workflow than running a new construction contracting business. One way to start a new business within your own business is to hire someone who has specific experience to grow a profitable company or division. Another option is to buy a territory from a franchise company that already has the systems and training in place. Either choice will take another key manager to make it happen.
3. Generate More Customer Leads
The first goal for a new service or maintenance division is to break even within one to two years. After the initial start-up period, your division should generate enough revenue and gross profit to cover your entire company’s overhead for both the service and new construction divisions. It will take an initial investment for marketing, staffing and training. But with strong leadership focused on generating leads, it will prosper quickly. Some ideas to generate leads for a service business include the following:
- Discount offers to past customers
- Direct mail postcards or flyers
- Rewards for referrals
- Keyword search engine optimization
- Job signs
- Truck signage
- Six-month customer follow-ups
- Annual free home inspections
- Quarterly customer e-newsletter
- Door knob hangers near jobs
- Frequent buyer program
4. Convert Leads to Sales
Once you start generating leads, the next step is to
improve your conversion rate. Keep track of how many calls your lead marketing methods generate. Then, track how many are converted into customers. Some ways to improve your conversion rates include:
- Use an inspection checklist
- Conduct video presentations
- Offer absolute guarantees
- Collect testimonials from past customers
- Present before-and-after examples
- Handwrite thank-you cards
- Offer first service for free or prepayment discounts
- Offer first-time buyer incentives or payment plans
- Accept credit cards
- Offer commissions to technicians
You can read the entire article directly at http://www.constructionbusinessowner.com/topics/strategy/construction-company-management/construction-business-development-overcome-business
I’d love to get your feedback and thoughts on George’s strategy. Post your comments below.