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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody. New member here. But I've been reading for a long time. I've been in business for about five years and have always gotten by with a little more than just a wage. Except for this year. This year was great. It is usually me and one other guy working doing the day to day work. On bigger jobs I sub out the bigger stuff like framing insulation drywall. Kitchens and baths, repairs, stuff like that we usually do everything ourselves.

My problem is I can't seem to close on new non-referred clients. It's about 10%of jobs that I actually get. If they are a referals it's about 99%. But the ones I don't get. Decide to not do the project all together. I've been doing radius mailings which usually ends up being a big waste of time because they seem to be tire kickers.

I need to grow but seem to have hit a wall. I know I know how to do the jobs and do them right and all of my clients are happy. My prices are usually right there with other decent contractors but always higher than the guys who are working for a days pay. My clients know they can get it cheaper by hiring one of these guys but they say they trust me in their home especially when they are not home. My subs (electrician, plumber,drywall guy,etc) are not the cheapest but I don't trust anyone else. I am very clean and neat and I've been told "the house is cleaner than before I got there" and "I can't even tell they were there". I have keys and alarm codes to most of my clients. So I know they trust me and are not getting other prices. But I need new clients to grow. How are you guys "getting your foot in the door" to new clients?
 

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Networking and word of mouth. Takes a while, but the leads you get will be a lot better than any advertising.
 
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Couple things that jump out at me are

1. the awesome customer comments you are getting should be in writing and handed to every prospect. You have some of the more passionate comments from customers and it will help with some. Hand out a sheet with the customer comments on it to all inquiries and to any GCs you might want to work for. Many GCs that are growing are looking for good subs and those comments are impressive

2. actively pursue referrals by formally asking for them from your customers. Be more assertive about that and never miss a chance to ask

3. if radius marketing is not working try something else

4. Do you have a website? Google places listing? PPC campaign? Do you make in person sales calls to GCs? architects?

5. Are you a member of the local builders association?

6. How well do you know your suppliers who recommend contractors all the time?

7. How well do you know your inspectors? They also tend to chat up the good contractors in the local market?

8. Have you ever given presentation to local groups?

9. Job site, truck & trailer signs and company uniforms?
 

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I'm right there with you Nick!

Do you have the standard advertising items like decals on your truck, on your trailer? T-shirts?

I think just having a good looking trailer with your information on it sitting in someone's driveway should do pretty well as for letting the neighborhood know that you are in the area. Someone is probably fairly likely to ask your customer about the job if they are considering having some work done.

How is your website?

I mention these things because they are all things that I have to work on myself. I have done a lot of reading and these things seem like they need to be done before other larger steps are taken.
 

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To play off of one of PoleBarn's points....

My local "Surplus Warehouse" is a good place for builders and home owners to buy some materials. I'm in their fairly often with my company shirt on and I left a few business cards on their board once, without saying any thing to anyone (which is ok to do here).

A few weeks later I get a call from a woman who needed a small job done, but it was a job. She said someone at Surplus Warehouse handed her one of my cards. I went and did the job and left another happy customer. I went into Surplus Warehouse the next day or so and mentioned the referral to the checkout woman. She remembered the woman coming in and getting my card. I thanked her quite a bit for doing that and we talked for a few minutes and walked over to the board where she told me I should put some more cards over there.

The woman acted like she really appreciated me thanking her and said she would always refer me and she would tell the other workers to do so also. I think things like that can go a long way, just show some kindness and appreciation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll admit. I haven't been very aggressive at finding work. It has always kind of come my way. But now it's not enough. I will start asking for referrals. I do have a website but it needs more content. www.redlinecontractors.net I am gonna get setup on google places. I've done the sub for a GC thing a while ago. But was for a friend who asked me to do all of the finishes on a very high end job because his guys couldn't. It was a nice project and was fun. It also kind of hurt my business because it was about 6 months that I wasn't doing my own work. But I committed to him and said I would stay until it's finished.

Besides subbing for another GC is not why I went into business for myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I do have shirts and cards. No lettering on my truck because I am hopefully buying a van and will letter it and keep my truck as my personal vehicle. I had a trailer for a year and it was used mostly as storage for my tools. It just didn't get used. There was either no where to park it or I has use of there garage as my work area. But I counted the times I used it in a year and it was only ten times. So I sold it and built shelving in my garage for now until I get my van. Plus I sold it for more than I paid for it.
 

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Get magnetic signs for your truck door for a hundred bucks that can be removed and get rocking on the job site signs, website.

You have to set aside time for marketing efforts and continue building up your investments init. My goal has been to generate more business opportunity than I could handle so I can pick and choose the projects I want to pursue and decline the rest or refer it out to other contractors I respect. It has been a very nice place to be with an abundance of opportunity.
 

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I'll admit. I haven't been very aggressive at finding work. It has always kind of come my way. But now it's not enough. I will start asking for referrals. I do have a website but it needs more content. www.redlinecontractors.net I am gonna get setup on google places. I've done the sub for a GC thing a while ago. But was for a friend who asked me to do all of the finishes on a very high end job because his guys couldn't. It was a nice project and was fun. It also kind of hurt my business because it was about 6 months that I wasn't doing my own work. But I committed to him and said I would stay until it's finished.

Besides subbing for another GC is not why I went into business for myself.
Your sure needs a little work. Move the text down and pics up. No one wants to be bombarded with a lengthy paragraph when landing on a home page.

You services page needs better content. It's just a few lines that every customer hears from every contactor. Maybe add some one or two line testimonies backing it up.

And stay away from long term commitments. You're business will suffer. BTDT.
 

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1 out of 10 sounds pretty normal to me for non-referral....I don't think you will move that % much no matter what you do.....at best you will get it to 1 out of 5

I used to do tons of bids that went no where....then I changed my advertising and geared it towards higher end clients...just add the phrase 'do it right the first time' to your adds and watch your calls go waaaaay down, but your % of sales go up...I now close on 1 out of 2 for cold calls......using words/phrases that target who your customer is prequalifies them for you....

what I found in the 9 out of 10 that don't choose you is most never do the project...they are dreaming and have 50% or less of the money for it...your just wasting your time

I know a gc who tells the customer that he will not give his bid to the customer until they have other bids...he doesn't want to be the 1st guy to submit a bid...he waits and then has a meeting with the homeowner...then shows his bid and compares it directly to the competition...that way he sees who he bidding against and he can explain why his way/company is better

before bidding on cold calls pre qualify the customer...

ask budget, how many bids your getting

if they have 1/2 the budget or are getting 5+ bids say no thanks
 
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