An ongoing challenge for contractors—especially those just starting out— is finding new customers. Generally, by doing your job well and proving your company’s dedication to quality, professionalism and reliability, you are already well on your way to cultivating future work. Word-of-mouth builds momentum as your company’s portfolio of successful, completed projects grows.
Even though it’s called the “World Wide Web”, it still is a very powerful tool for a local company that serves local customers. Nowadays, establishing an online presence is crucial for getting your company’s name in front of the eyes of customers. That’s the first place most people look when they want to find something. Establish a website or get on social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and provide contact information, photo galleries, customer referrals, etc. Register your company with Google and be placed on Google Maps.
Email is another great way of keeping in touch with both existing and potential customers. The time you take by creating monthly newsletters, showcasing recent work and the latest products the industry has to offer can be time well spent. Place links for customers to sign up for your newsletter on either social media or your website.
Remember that just having a website or Facebook page is not enough if it is just static. Websites should be updated at least monthly with new content. Facebook and twitter should receive updates at least weekly. If doing this seems to take too much time, consider outsourcing these tasks to a professional, an employee or family member. Encourage your customers to write reviews online, or testimonials that you can include on your website and newsletters.
Take your search for new leads downtown. Affiliate with local companies that are relevant to either the nature of your business or your customers’ interests. For example, local hardware stores are an obvious place or how about the local coffee shop where your customers spend time and chat. By affiliating, you can either reciprocate advertising with chosen companies or refer customers to each other. Try to offer classes at the local lumber yard, showing customers how to do certain projects. All the while, they’ll be developing a relationship with you and your company, increasing the chances that your phone will ring when they need work done at home.
Don’t be afraid to enlist family and friends to help spread the word about your company --especially if you have a Facebook page. Most people within your potential clients’ demographic also have Facebook pages, so having friends and family spread the word on social media about the quality work your company does, can spread surprisingly far and wide. Likewise, encourage your employees and subcontractors to refer your company. Supply them with business cards at the very least.
Don’t ignore the power of your local Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, if you plan on doing business outside of your immediate local area, then consider registering with the Chamber of Commerce outside of your own town as well.
Offer a referral program to your customers. This can be anything from taking a percentage off the next project that you do for them, or a percentage off the current project that you’re doing for them. Likewise, simple, everyday objects such as magnets or calendars with your company’s name can be effective ways to keep your company in customers’ minds throughout the year.