5 Ideas if You Can’t Find Work

     This dog has fun no matter how hungry he is. Do you?

 

If you are a contractor out there looking for work, here are a few ideas for you.

 

1. Pursue “Foreclosure Maintenance.” See this post by Contractor City for a little more information.

Here’s a brief quote: Thanks to foreclosure tracking sites like RealtyTrac, crafty contractors are now going directly to homeowners, property managers, and banks and offering their property maintenance services.”

 

2. If You’re Not Doing it, Then Do it. Check out this post from the Footbridge Media folks.

Excerpt: If you are not sending out a monthly newsletter, then send one out. If you are not canvassing, then begin canvassing. If you are not doing pay-per-click, then get started. This is the time to increase marketing, not cut it.”

 

3. Overhaul Your Website. He’s a list of free website tools you can use to drive traffic, increase conversions, and improve design. You can get a free website critique right here on this blog.

Some things to look for? Does your site have a clear call to action? Is your site optimized for the search engines? Is the design clear, uncluttered, easy to use, and intuitive? Is your website copy effective “salesmanship in print?” Does your site inspire trust? Is it maximized for Google Local search?

 

4. Work on Your Branding. Mark Buckshon puts his own spin on some ideas from Mel Lester about the branded experience.

Here are two simple examples about what you can do now to brand better in the future:

  • “[Develop] a deliberate process for consistently delivering the branded experience.”
  • [Rigorously solicit] customer feedback to determine what customers want.”

 

5. Don’t Sit There, DO Something. More specifically, think about how you can develop your skills and your business knowledge to increase your profits down the road. You have this free time. Make lemonade. Take some advice from the folks over at ConstructionDeal.com.

For example: “An example – say you’re a general contractor. You’ve always been asked by clients about design plans and ideas. But you don’t really know what good design is. You’d like to increase revenue by offering designs on all your kitchen remodeling projects. In tough economic times, help your business by studying design, taking classes, interviewing designers, and practicing the craft. When the good times come around again, you have not only added a new service to your business, you have doubled the opportunity for more revenue and higher profits.”

 

So, there you go. Don’t just sit there, do something. Work on your brand. Overhaul your website. Find what you’re not doing, and do that. And finally, try to drum up some business in the foreclosure maintenance market.

Best of luck, and remember to live life like a yellow lab…no matter how rough it gets, it doesn’t cost any extra money to have a good attitude, right? Maybe even have a little fun?

 

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LEED Simplified

Watch this video (Paul Holland, Foundation Capital) to see a nice, simple presentation explaining the basics of LEED in construction.

Green building is beyond popular these days. I have talked to many contractors who have grown very frustrated at all the barriers to entry for a small builder to do the “LEED Certified” thing.

It looks like it’s here to stay. Lets break it down, and get more comfortable with it. Trust me, your customers will ask you all about it. Shouldn’t you know what you’re talking about?

It all boils down to these individual areas:

1. Water

2. Energy

3. Waste

4. Materials

5. Site

These are the areas that need to be “just so” in order to get into the “LEED certified” club.

Here are the certification categories:

1. Certified

2. Silver

3. Gold

4. Platinum

Those are the basics. One of the things I was surprised to learn about was the importance of controlling dust and site debris. It sounds like a nightmare, but one contractor I talked to who has done it before says it’s mostly about getting used to it. When your subcontractors get over the initial shock of it all, and gain experience, the process gets smoother (and less expensive).

The lesson? Learn more about this stuff now. It’s the future. The first one to nail it down and get it done for a lower cost will ultimately win.

 

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Construction Advertising

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad series of books, made some really interesting points about advertising and promotion in this month’s edition of Entrepreneur.

Here’s a little excerpt of what he had to say:

 

“I’ve shared my rich dad’s lessons that when business drops off, many entrepreneurs listen to their accountant’s advice and cut back on advertising and promotion. That’s the worst thing you can do. When times get tough, your job is to promote more, not less.

“Promotion is a six week cycle. That means if I promote today, business increases six weeks later. Many businesses violate the six week cycle. They promote for, say, four weeks, and because nothing happens, they stop. Two weeks later, there’s a sudden increase in business. For four weeks, business remains strong. Then, just as suddenly, business drops off, because six weeks earlier, the entrepreneur had stopped promoting.

“My rich dad’s lesson was to never stop promoting. Promote whether the economy is strong or weak; promote even when you may not have the money. If you have no money, stand on a street corner at lunchtime with a sign hanging around your neck promoting your product or service. Not only will you meet new customers, but you might also save money on lunch, lose some weight, and get a suntan.”

 

In the construction industry, there’s always a lot of debate about the nature of the business, specifically whether there’s any value in promoting using any method other than going after referrals.

Like I’ve said in the past, referrals are king. Get all the referrals you can! (Most importantly, develop a referral system.)

But I am a proponent of balance. You should have a nice mix of advertising and promotion to balance out your marketing plan.

As a contractor, there are many ways to promote using advertising. Use caution, and be frugal.

Consider offering “filler” ads to your local newspaper. Develop a relationship with your sales rep, and send her your ad. Tell her to run your ad if she ever needs to fill a spot at the last minute. Name your price (of course, at a discount from her normal rates.) The worst that can happen is she says no.

There are many creative ways to promote your business without hemmoraging your cash. Have fun with it, and you might come up with your own “guerilla style” ideas.

 

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10 Link Bait Tips for Contractors

For Contractors, having a valuable offer built in to your website can really set you apart from the competition.

One way to do that is to take your expertise and bottle it up into a free report or a free guide of some kind.

I’ve noticed quite a few contractors struggling to find a report they could create that would attract clients.

Here are a few great ideas from devbasu.com that I adapted to fit the construction industry.

  1. What to Ask Your Contractor Before Hiring Them.
  2. 10 Ways To Save Money by Using the Right Contractor.
  3. How to Choose a Good Contractor.
  4. 5 Totally New Ways of Sprucing up Your Home.
  5. How to Get 50% Off Your Next Remodel or Addition.
  6. The Latest and Greatest in Green Building.
  7. 10 DIY Home Improvement Tips You Can Use Today.
  8. 15 Factors That Affect Your Construction Quote.
  9. How to Turn Your House into a Green Home in 6 Months.
  10. Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Contractor.

Use this list to come up with a great idea for a free downloadable report to offer visitors to your website. Then spend a week writing at least one page per day until you have seven pages. Turn it into a pdf file, send it to your webmaster and you’re done!

 

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