With more than six million employees and 650,000 employers, the construction industry is more competitive than ever, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The industry is projected to remain steady and healthy for the upcoming years, making the landscape crowded with workers as well as contractors all vying for a piece of the lucrative pie.
Both residential and commercial projects are currently on the rise, but the home improvement industry in particular has seen tremendous growth, making the trade not just competitive but undeniably challenging for smaller construction companies. While customers continuously spend a considerable amount of money on home remodeling projects, contractors on the other hand needs to find ways to stand out and claim their share in the market.
From being creative to offering unique solutions and building your brand, there are ways to grow your trade and make your business stand out in a crowd of competitors.
Market to a specialized niche
While it would be ideal to become a jack of all trades and a master expert of everything, it’s hard to be discovered when work is centered towards providing generic services. Marketing your business as a collective construction contractor without an area of specialization is just too broad to attract clients. If you focus on a specific niche, however, it helps you build a unique reputation in sea of home-based businesses in a faster and more efficient way.
Your goal is to be the go-to person for specific types of work. You can do this in two ways: offer exclusive services catering to highly specialized fields or use geographically related keywords on your website or social media accounts to help customers easily find your business. Remember to:
- Harness the powers of search engines to direct people to your business.
- Add your business location with every keyword such as “Kentucky home renovations.”
- Use specific keywords to describe your services: roofers, installers, repair services, etc.
Get to know your clients
Another tip to increase your home improvement business opportunities and to separate your business from the rest is to establish a good rapport with clients. There’s a big difference between just answering your clients and getting to know them. Instead of simply answering their questions, establish a personal connection by talking with them and discussing their specific needs.
Bonding with your clients on a personal and professional level helps build trust, which will eventually lead to referrals and repeat business. In addition, marketing opportunities such as advertising and special offers will be more effective if you add a personal touch and build an empathic connection. Customers want home improvement businesses to give value to their personal time, and investing in a good client relationship is one of the most effective ways to do this.
- As much as possible, listen to your what your customer is saying.
- Assess your client’s needs and discuss your services along with proposed options.
- Be personable so that they will remember you and your business as “the one who cares.”
Become a great listener
There are tons of companies offering the same home improvement and remodeling services in the United States and many of them lose customers for no apparent reason. Some contractor businesses blame it on economic conditions, sudden decline in demand, or other factors beyond their control. But what they don’t know is that actively listening to their customers plays a huge part in maintaining and improving the growth of their business.
With great listening skills, customers will tell you right out what is wrong and what needs improvement. Positive or negative, feedback is necessary to assess your work and the reputation of your trade. If someone hires you for interior decorating, listen and understand their needs instead of bragging about your luxurious materials, which can be seen as a high pressure marketing tactic.
- Always pay attention when clients are talking so that you can better assess their requirements.
- Accept negative feedback to fine-tune and improve your operations as well as your business model.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the quality of your work or your customer service.
Solicit employees’ ideas
Continuing on these home improvement business opportunities that will differentiate your trade from others is the importance of asking your employees for their significant and valuable ideas. If there’s anyone in your company aside from you who knows your products and services well, it would be none other than your employees. Encouraging them to give feedback on how to carry out tasks and perform duties better will help improve efficiency.
Starting a home improvement business is not easy, but maintaining the uniqueness of your company is harder. Management often overlook the wealth of ideas coming from employees, but their creativity will lead your business to a position where everyone is engaged regardless of job title. To solicit valuable ideas from employees, make sure to:
- Motivate them correctly, not with money but with company goals and strategies.
- Include them in the loop and always explain the situation before asking for suggestions.
- Make it fun and exciting, remind them that speaking up won’t be held against them.
Build positive online reviews
Last on these home improvement business ideas is to leverage positive online reviews. Consumer nowadays will always search for reviews online before they close a deal or buy a product. Constructive reviews from your past clients will showcase your company’s strength and quality of services, which is definitely helpful for those who are considering your services but haven’t committed yet.
The best way to do build a good online reputation is to politely ask past customers to review your business through aggregator websites like Angie’s List, Facebook, or Google and other platforms with industry specific listings. Doing so will help your business increase online visibility, and when someone discovers your company it will be accompanied with influential feedback. Keep in mind that not all past clients will automatically review your business, so here are some ways to encourage them:
- Explain to them the importance of reviews and recommendations to your business.
- Don’t make it sound as if giving feedback is mandatory, instead politely ask for their help.
- After project completion, call your client or send them an email requesting them to write a review.