There is no secret for creating a successful service contracting business. It takes determination, an excellent work ethic and desire. There must also be a willingness to learn from contractor mistakes made along the way. There are harmless mistakes, and there are mistakes that can cause a customer meltdown.
To avoid costly mistakes and lost business, we’ve built a list of the five things a contractor should never do. If you want to boost your business, make sure to study the items on this list. Keep reading to learn more.
Forget about safety training
When your job revolves around making repairs, using equipment, and even dangerous chemicals, then job safety should always come first. Whether you are fixing an old heater or trying to unclog a pipe, it is important to understand the factors that can lead to an electrical fire or an explosion of water.
Before heading to your next service job, it’s crucial to learn about air flow, electricity, pipe layouts, water flow, and more. Other topics to consider include learning about flue gases, testing for depressurization, carbon monoxide poisoning, and much more.
If the customer knew how to handle their repair, they wouldn’t have called you. It’s one thing to know how to fix the item in question. It’s another thing to ensure that you and your customer are injury free.
An essential facet of service contracting training is understanding and following strict safety standards. Your customers, and your family, will thank you for it.
Talk badly about the competition
Some contractors think that bad mouthing their competition will help their sales. Why would the customer want to go with the competition when they charge double for subpar work, right? Sometimes talking badly about your competition may come out of frustration. But, saying that in front of your customers never works. Naturally, the pressure is on to keep your current clientele while finding new ones.
Sometimes you feel like experimenting with new tactics, such as taking your competition down a notch. But, remember this adage – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Here’s the thing, no one likes mean people. Your customers aren’t looking for reasons not to buy from someone else; they’re looking for reasons to buy from you.
Even if what you have to say is true, it can be construed as a negative characteristic – on your part. If you really need to discuss your competition, do so professionally. Highlight the differences of your service, benefits, and prices versus theirs. This is what will get your customer’s attention instead of petty gossip.
In general, everyone prefers a friendly and positive person over the alternative.
Your job is about solving problems for your customers. But, making sure a customer’s heater works in time for the next big snowstorm does not guarantee an endless stream of new business. You won’t have a steady stream of customers if you don’t execute a marketing plan.
So, you must take every opportunity to market your business. If a customer is pleased with your work, ask them if you can send emails on a periodic basis about your current specials, promotions, and even tips. Enter their emails into your CRM system to engage in marketing automation. Attend industry trade shows and events and start networking. Take part in the local community and share about your contracting business via word-of-mouth.
Consider sponsoring a local sports team or partnering with a local charity. Make sure your vehicles have your business name plastered where people can see them. To keep the business flowing, you must continue to get your name and contact information out there.
Other marketing options include:
- Offering a follow-up service
- Providing rewards for customer referrals
- Giving discounts to loyal customers
- Establishing a frequent buyer program
Once you get to a certain level of business, it’s easy to put things on autopilot. You’ve made it to the top! Congratulations. Nonetheless, if you want to build the best HVAC, plumbing, or other service contracting business that you can, then you can never rest on your laurels.
You worked hard to get where you are today. But, you might be shocked to find how quickly your reputation will falter once you take a more complacent attitude towards your work load. In order to scale, and increase profitability, you must continually step out of your comfort zone and make improvements where necessary.
When your reputation is strong, you will attract more customers. When you continue to build trust, more work will flow your way. What’s more, your competition is waiting for you to fall so that they can take your spot. Don’t let them. Remind yourself why you got into this industry in the first place. Keep that passion going.
Trying to be everything to everyone
In the contracting world, the field is wide open in terms of what you want to do. Yet, it is important to find your niche. It’s not wise to overwhelm your business trying to satisfy every customer and niche. You’ll burn out quickly, and that won’t help anyone.
Think about your preferences and skills. Do you prefer working on commercial maintenance or residential? Would you like to focus on hospitals or retailers? What about new homes versus aging homes?
It also helps to identify your weaknesses. Stick to the areas where your work proves strong, and you will get a steady stream of clientele.
Once you find your niche, make that known in your marketing materials. Also, network with builders and architects that manage the projects of your choice so that you can be on their go-to list.
We all make mistakes. But, it’s important to filter the big mistakes from the small mistakes. Once you can do that, then prevention is much easier.
Plus, if you’re passionate about your business, you want to do the best you can for your customers anyway. The list above will help ensure you continue your path to success.