Finding clients in the construction industry can be hard work sometimes. Everyone needs an electrician, a builder, or a plumber at some point in their lives, but even the best contractors can find themselves in a dry spell on occasion. If you ever find yourself struggling to fill those dates in your diary, there are a number of options available to you in your quest for fresh business. We explore three below:
Word-of-mouth is the bread and butter method of finding your next gig - after all, if the people who’ve used your services are happy with your work, they’ll recommend you to a friend in need of a similar service.
Of course, relying solely on this method can feel a little passive, since you’re waiting for work to emerge, rather than hunting the work down yourself. If you want to be a little more proactive, don’t forget the tried and trusted route of giving business cards to people.
Ask the folks at your local chip shop and/or corner store if you can leave a couple on the counter. Hand them out at parties, give some to your friends and family to give to people they know, and keep them in constant circulation. If they’re magnetic, even better!
You never know when a business opportunity might crop up, so keep a few business cards on you at all times and make sure the information is up to date. If they point to a website or Facebook page, make sure it’s bursting with all your best testimonials and good quality photos of your work if available.
You can also benefit from the 24/7 advertising offered by plastering your work van/vehicle with your business details - so long as you keep it understated and tasteful.
2. Social media
Nearly everyone these days is on Facebook, and studies have shown that the social media platform is the preferred method of finding a tradesperson for over 70% of people, which falls to just 11% for its biggest rival, Twitter.
With that in mind, make sure you’re making the most out of your Facebook presence. Set up a business page and keep it updated with images of your latest work, testimonials from your clients, and your available dates. You don’t need to be posting every day, but if a client sets out on a hunt for a plumber, let’s say, and they land on a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since 2017, odds are they’ll carry on looking.
You won’t need to look very hard to find some kind of “Find a tradesperson” Facebook group for your local area, either. Whether the moderators and members prefer to encourage tradespeople to advertise their services, or for people in need of your help to post job requests for contractors to answer, they’re an invaluable way of keeping track of your local area and beating other contractors to work.
3. Recommendation websites
To get your business in front of those prospective clients, you’ll want to have an online presence on recommendation websites, too. The most popular of these recommendation sites is probably checkatrade.com, but there’s also ratedpeople.com, mybuilder.com, and toptradespeople.co.uk, among others. Getting yourself listed on sites like these is a very valuable asset. Having their stamp of approval adds another layer of security and trust in your business, especially if your reviews are good and your website is up-to-date.
Websites like these can be invaluable tools in driving new business, but you’ll need to consider whether the subscription fee you’ll have to pay to feature on them is worth the amount of business you’re receiving in turn.
Your own website is the perfect place to host all of your content, curated and organised just as you require it to maximize your business’ appeal. Basically every contractor and freelancer has their own website these days, and you should, too.
You’ll be able to tell the story of your business in a way no-one else can, so make sure you invest the time into making your website as clear, friendly, and contemporary as you can. Just as with a dusty old Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in years, a website that looks unloved won’t endear you to customers weighing up your suitability for their loft conversion or kitchen extension.
The key thing to remember when you’re facing the dreaded dry spell is that these things affect every contractor once in a while, and they don’t last when they do. You can even look at them as a positive, giving you the opportunity to focus your efforts on improving your online presence, establishing yourself on social media, and dotting your business cards around as many locations in your local area as possible.
With a little dedication to the cause, the hard work you put into breaking out of one dry spell could see you settling into habits that mean you’ll never have to face another one again.
About the Author
Ross Bramble is a copywriter for Crunch. Crunch is an online accounting service that supports freelancers, contractors, and practically anyone who’s self-employed. The business combines bespoke, online accounting software with actual human beings, so that you’re always able to access your accounts and seek the support you need.