6 minute read
Breaking down barriers
from CCR Issue 11.22
How to clear the obstacles limiting your contracting business
By John Jacob
Oxford Economics predicts that construction contracting will increase by 42%, or nearly $4.5 trillion, between 2020 and 2030 due to government stimuli brought on by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This increase also is a result of growing residential construction demands due to low mortgage rates and the desire for bigger homes.
As demands grow, ambitious entrepreneurs have a prime opportunity to start—or expand—their businesses. But where should they start? This can be a difficult question for business owners to answer. Many get lost in the fundamentals of building a brand and securing a foundation that their company can grow upon. The most important things business owners must consider is how they position themselves in the marketplace and how that positioning aligns with their future goals.
Build Reputable Online Branding
Establishing a reputable brand is crucial for all business owners and is the determining factor for how consumers view the company. This influences their likelihood to contact you for an estimate—which has a big impact on your top-line revenue. Most prospective customers look online to hire a contractor, so having a strong presence on search engines is crucial. According to Chikita, an online ad network, 95% of all traffic from Google goes to websites on the first page. Ensuring your website is on the first page of Google when someone searches your brand name—or industry, region, or job they need done—determines if customers call you before they consider your competitors. To nail down first-page placement, implement keywords into your website copy, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords. For example, if your painting company is called “Smith Home Services,” many people who know of you may search “Smith Painting” instead. Understanding how Google uses these keywords to prioritize the best match to a user’s search query allows business owners to leverage the algorithm to make their business appear higher on the first page. Having a strong search engine presence goes beyond launching a website. Creating a Google Business profile, as well as profiles on other sites like HomeAdvisor and Yelp, makes a big difference. Hootsuite reports people are 2.7 times more likely to consider a business reputable if it has a complete Google My Business profile. Testimonials on third-party profiles like HomeAdvisor and Google are typically more trusted than testimonials on your own website—although, you should have them there too— because it is harder to fake profile reviews. Reviews on these sites impact the buying decision of 93% of consumers, according to Podium’s “State of Online Reviews” report.
Find Responsible Subcontractors
As your business continues to grow, the need for reputable branding will increase too. With larger work flows, branding will not only be based on your website and reviews but also who you hire. Maintaining a reputable brand through smart subcontractor partnerships and hires is especially important. Finding responsible subcontractors who pay attention to key details helps grow your brand, and they are harder to find than you may think. To find the top subcontractors, networking is your best bet. Personal referrals, whether from other business owners, or nearby home improvement store employees, are a great place to start. If you are unable to find subcontractors via networking, another option is utilizing job listing platforms such as Craigslist, Google and Indeed.
Make Sure Subcontractors Fit Your Brand
To determine whether potential subcontractors will meet your needs, asking them to provide examples during your initial interview is a great way to ensure credibility in their answers and gauge ownership of their work.
After all, if you cannot trust your hires, your business is bound to fail. My favorite questions include: > What’s an example of a point in time when you have gone above and beyond and why did you do it? > What’s an example of a time a client was upset or disappointed with the work you or your team provided? How did you respond? > What are you most proud of about your career thus far? > Describe a big setback you have dealt with. How did you react? > How do you react when you notice other crew members have made a mistake at a job site? > How do you typically respond to clients pointing out flaws or imperfections? > What’s your process for your final quality check?
After finding candidates that meet your standards, training them properly and establishing trust is key. Making sure all their work meets your high expectations and upholds the values of your brand goes a long way. After all, these employees are the face of your brand and will have much more interaction with customers than you do on a daily basis. Additionally, it is imperative that once you have a solid crew of contractors you can trust, you do not stop networking. This prepares you and your business for any increases in work that may pop up and allows you to continue solidifying a strong reputation for your business. In other words, prepare now for what comes in the future. These oft-overlooked steps for building a reputable brand give business owners the right tools to set their work apart from the competition. Breaking through the noise with established branding throughout all elements of your business establishes trust and transparency sure to attract a wider customer base. Continuing to establish your reputation through digital marketing and quality subcontractor work as the business grows will secure a solid foundation for your business.CCR
John Jacob is co-founder and CEO of Hoist, a business building platform. A life-long entrepreneur, John spent a few years running the family pest control business before building several technology companies. He resides in Ventura, California with his wife and daughter.
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