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J.Snow
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok Guys, relatively new to this site but really enjoy the feedback and involvement here so I have a question for you.

I've been a full service remodeling contractor here in Massachusetts for the past 20 years. We are relocating as a family to S.E. Florida this summer due to an job opportunity my wife has received that really was too good to pass up for her. After a couple of difficult years here, I'm ok with a re-start down in the warmer weather but with obvious concerns.
I'm already in the process of dealing with the license issues and need to consider where a customer base is going to be generated from. Rather than be a full service contractor, from the start anyway, I'm thinking of focusing more on a niche or something like kitchens or interior finish.

Question: If you were I, what would be your first means of marketing yourself? My work has always been word of mouth so I haven't had to do a lot of marketing. Do I go after architects? homeowners? storefronts? Mailings? Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance,
John
 

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Love me some Concrete
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I had a done small jobs for years for friends of friends, so I had work pretty much right off the bat when I hung my sign.

The other way was I installed for Lowes, loved it and hated it. The corporate thing sucked the fun out of it but I made some very good clients and was the #1 rated installer for the tri-state region 1 year. Heck, the millwork people still hand out my card instead of using their own installers, shhhhhhhh.

So all in all, that was a good move.
 

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When I was visiting in Florida, I noticed that everything is different than in Mass. the finishes, the stucco exteriors, tile everywhere, no basements, clay roofs, etc.

I wondered how much different the construction techniques were down in FLA.

I do not think I would try to learn the differences on my own, I would try to get a job with another company and start over.
 

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John
I made a radical move like you are talking about some 17 years ago. Like you, I was a full service contractor. What I did was decide on a niche - Kitchen cabinet installations and trim. Back than I came to the new area and got the yellow pages. I sent a resume out to every cabinet shop / seller I could. I told them when I would be in the area and included a lot of references. I ended up subbing to several of the places and finally building a new customer base. A lot of guys left the field when the economy tanked and it is starting to recover so it may be a good time to make the move. Good luck
Bill T
 

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J.Snow
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Kevin, Those are definitely some of my concerns with building methods. More procedural than building systems but both are concerns. I've been going down there for quite a few years and occasionally snooped through a few construction sites to see what was going on. In the end, I think the learning curve can be dealt with pretty quickly. But that is also one of the reasons for becoming more niche orientated.

And Bill T, you did exactly what I'm thinking of. We're headed for the Jupiter/ West Palm area. I've always enjoyed the Kitchen and interiors more than most of the other components. I wondered how much I was going to be able to rely on my accomplishments and references from 1500 miles away but it sounds like it worked out for you.

Thanks for the input!
John
 

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I would try to get a job with a tradesman in a non competing field. This gives you time to familarize yourself with the new community, and some of their ways of doing things. The new employer could likely help you in getting your name out, when you are ready to do your own thing.
 

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Most seriously look for and join a BNI networking group.

BNI Palm Beach Link

Most here are going to rip on this, however you're new to the area. This is a great way to get a little traction fast, meet some other tradesman and professionals you may be able to leverage. I will say from experience it works, initially for sure, to generate some good leads. Long term it's up to you. They do offer a training seminar for new members about how the system works and how to be successful BNI networking.
 

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Most seriously look for and join a BNI networking group.

BNI Palm Beach Link

Most here are going to rip on this, however you're new to the area. This is a great way to get a little traction fast, meet some other tradesman and professionals you may be able to leverage. I will say from experience it works, initially for sure, to generate some good leads. Long term it's up to you. They do offer a training seminar for new members about how the system works and how to be successful BNI networking.
Took the words out of my mouth......if I moved to a new area, that's the first thing I would do. Hit the ground runnin with your own sales force....not to mention get some good work out of the group.

I'm not a joiner of things/groups but a good BNI chapter can be a gold mine!

___________
Mike
 

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I'm surprised that no one else has mentioned that there may be a significant price drop from MA to FL.

It is what it is when the family is following a better job, imho. Although having a good idea of average rates will help get the numbers in line faster. Good chance the cost of living is proportionally LESS too.

I'd be more worried about talking funny down south. That reminds me I still haven't signed up for my East Texas talk'n speech therapy class.
 

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It is what it is when the family is following a better job, imho. Although having a good idea of average rates will help get the numbers in line faster. Good chance the cost of living is proportionally LESS too.

I'd be more worried about talking funny down south. That reminds me I still haven't signed up for my East Texas talk'n speech therapy class.
Thanks, absolutely you're right. Just a reality to be aware of-Bob
 

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I'd dig in to the regional pricing in the back of RS Means publications... Even 5 year old ones will yield a lot of relative pricing info, commercial/residential.

Find some retired GCs from the area and buy them lunch?
 

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Buy or partner with a retiring/selling local contractor with a transition period?
 
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J.Snow
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You can jump in with the 10,000 other cabinet guys here. :whistling

Good luck, there seems to be room for another guy.:thumbsup:


Watch out for a grumpy old drywall guy. ;)
That's a concern also. For a variety of reasons, I'd rather get involved with a niche versus full service. What that niche is, I'm not positive but finish work or full kitchens and baths are what I enjoy, and frankly I'm better at.

Pricing certainly will be different than Mass. And the only cost of living reduction seems to be housing. Groceries, utilities ect. are relatively similar except...NO HEATING bills!:thumbup:
 
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