5 Ways A Construction Contractor Stands Out
It is in the potential. And it is looking outward. The potential clients who need your services aren’t mind-readers.
You must tell them (right up front) what makes your construction contracting business so blasted special. You’re not the first guy-to-walk-on-the-moon. But you have other qualifiers that set you apart, things that allow you to stand out.
Note – Let’s clear this up. We’re not ignorant of the bidding process. You know, and so do we, that many times the lowest bid is the one that gets the go-ahead. And, both you and we know that is frequently a terrible idea.
Here is one powerful example of how a badly needed new firehouse proved low bids' danger to the consumer.
And as for you? The danger is just as bad or worse. Set yourself apart as the contractor who is happy with low to no profit, and you’ve set yourself up to lose the race.
Choose a different lane.
Our stance as financial advisors to construction contractors is that trying to stand out by offering the lowest price is the fastest way to disaster.
Choose one or more of these five ways to be different, stand out, and get the attention of all the potential right clients for you.
Do what your competitors won’t do
Take advantage of the gap.
A few years back, one of my friends made her living cleaning other people’s homes. She told me that one little line in her ad was the one most mentioned by the folks who became her clients. The line? “We do windows.”
What set her apart was easy to see. Many of her competitors boldly stated they did NOT do windows.
By the way, her rates were slightly higher than the rates offered by her competitors. And no, she didn’t sit at home hoping for a client; she was always busy.
You can take advantage of the same strategy. What is it in your construction neck of the woods that others won’t or don’t do? Start doing it. Tell everyone, especially your potential clients, that you do it.
Here are a couple of examples.
Clean language guarantee. This one explains itself. You must make sure your crew understands the importance, or this one could backfire big time.
Offer specialized equipment or crew dedicated to cleanup. For instance, you may be the first roofing contractor in town to use this specialized trailer for dealing with removal. Broadcast the news.
Or you might employ a “squad” of dedicated cleaners. The use of laborers for cleanup as opposed to skilled craftsmen and women makes perfect financial sense, anyway. And the ability to market that you have a crew trained in and dedicated to the fine art of cleaning and disposal sets you apart. Be sure your client knows this is part of what you offer.
Here is the big deal in this category – Think of ways to avoid construction legacy activities, habits, and attitudes. What is it in your industry that folks are known for shying away from, for leaving to others, for not doing?
Do it well, and let your potential clients know about it.
Do what your competitors do but do it better
Press the specialize button.
Anyone can do it. Heck, even general contractors specialize. And if you’re a subcontractor, don’t think of your trade as your specialty. Determine ways that within your trade you can specialize.
A few category examples are:
· Medical buildings
· Retail establishments
· Mid-century restoration
· Power plants
· Steep slope roofing
· Parking garages
· Ultra-modern kitchens
You get the idea.
What you specialize in doesn’t narrow your path but widens it. People want to know they’ve hired someone who knows what he or she is doing. And the people who want experts are also willing to pay for expertise.
You can begin to think of which specialty to claim by answering these questions:
· Which type of project is our bread and butter?
· Where do we make more money?
· What do we already do that we’re good at and can get better at doing?
Remember this; if your construction company specializes in different areas, split the marketing into specific niches. The split may entail having more than one website, various marketing avenues, and possibly unique phone numbers for multiple divisions.
Do what your competitors didn’t think about doing
Think about what your clients, customers, general contractors, or owners want. And that is where you start.
Determine what your set of clients is most interested in, then let them know you have it.
Here is a shortlist of possibilities:
· Training and certification (credibility)
· Specialized tools or equipment (ability)
· Established systems and processes (efficiency)
· Technologically advanced methodologies (productivity)
· Hands-on interaction (availability)
· A limited number of clients each year (exclusivity)
· Batteries Included – whatever we provide for you should work (right out of the box)
This option is about marketing your construction contracting business in a way that gets attention and sets your company apart.
The now-famous marketing headline is a great example. “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”
Here is another excellent example; one phone company advertises “Storage for 1GB of MP3S.” While Apple adroitly announces “1000 Songs in Your Pocket”
And lastly, this ingenious product. While most of Death Wish Coffee’s competitors focus on having a “smooth” coffee or one with the “richest” taste, not many mention its strength. Death Wish Coffee leaves no doubt; if you desire strong coffee, then this is it.
It’s possible your competitors already do something you do. Look for ways to take advantage of the fact that they forgot to mention it.
Do what your competitors can’t do
Be innovative in unexpected ways.
Create something unique to your construction business. Even if you’re not the first guy on the moon, you can be the first construction company to do, be, or offer something others in your trade don’t.
Here are some possibilities for you to build on:
· Develop an extraordinary way to greet new clients
· Give long-term clients access to some of your company rites or rituals (there’s more on this in the next section)
· Create branded intellectual property (book writing, magazine articles, and podcasting all come to mind)
· Find an unprecedented way to market your services (look at other industries for good examples and mold it to your own needs – the possibilities are many)
· Be on the constant outlook for ways to remove friction, both small and large scale, from client interactions (some examples: make it super easy for them to pay you, be attentive to their communication styles and needs, look for ways to delight individual clients)
Do what your competitors better not do
Tell your story.
Everyone loves a good story told well. And you have a story to tell. While you don’t have to start at the beginning, it is one way to accomplish the task.
How did you get started? What inspired or triggered you to go into business for yourself or to step into a position of leadership at your company? What milestones have you reached? What obstacles have you overcome? How many ways have you helped your clients as well as your employees or others?
One way to approach the telling of your story is to think in terms of extremes: what do you always do? Or what do you never do? What is the main thing you provide? What is the one thing you hear the most from your satisfied clients about how you served them?
Another option for conveying your story is to include information concerning your company rites and rituals. What is it that you and your staff count on to provide the comfort of tradition that will transfer well to the delight of setting your business apart?
It is likely that you already have some workplace rites and rituals, whether you’ve thought of them as such or not. This article from HuffPost concerning rituals provides interesting information as well as compelling examples. It doesn’t take too long to read and will give you lots of fodder for thought.
Remember, small drops fill buckets. Here are a few more drops you may wish to include in the story of your business:
Do you have a positive culture of leadership and mentoring? Include that in your story.
Are your abilities to collaborate and co-operate with other companies extraordinary? Mention it.
Is there something humorous or witty about your business name, process, location, or some other factor? Make sure the implications are clear.
You can and should tell your story frequently and in various ways:
· On your website
· In your social media posts
· Through your paid advertising
· In your internal as well as external business meetings
· At the club, golf course, shooting range, or wherever you are out and about
· When you meet potential clients as well as potential employees
· On your jobsite banners
· Whenever and wherever you can
The final word
Be Bold! Stand out!
The Profit Constructors provide Construction Accounting and Operational Accountability for small to medium Construction Contractors.
Our services allow you to organize your operations so you can
· Remain informed
· Avoid hassles
· Reduce risks
· Be future-ready
So you can Run With the Big Dogs!
Ready for action? Get in touch today to schedule a discovery call – this one’s on the house. New possibilities await. 866-629-7735