A Beginner’s Guide To Gaining Leads For A Construction Startup
Construction businesses are great for people that like manual work. If you're good with your hands and do a lot of DIY, you can start a construction business. Experience and education aren't necessary; just let your skills do the talking! I started my business in the construction sector manufacturing natural stones, which then lead to the MIKOL brand.
The consequence of this is that competition is rife in the industry. Many small construction businesses struggle to generate leads and customers as the more established businesses take them. That's the good thing about this line of work; once you start getting clients, they keep coming and coming. Word of mouth is a big generator in the construction world, but how do you get your first few clients? You can start by checking out this guide:
Expand your offering
It's never smart to be too narrow with your business offering. A construction company can offer so many services for customers, so it makes sense to expand them. Don't provide one service for people to buy as it's too restrictive. You depend on a much smaller market, which will make it harder to generate clients.
Instead, consider services you can add to your main construction offering. For instance, you can build house extensions, but perhaps you also offer plumbing or electrical installation. Or, you might throw in a design service for customers to make use of as well. These variations add more strings to your bow and make you a more sought after company. People will come to you because you offer three services in one. Otherwise, they'd need to come to you for construction, then find other companies to deal with the plumbing and electrics.
Do you understand the point? You can't be too focused with your services as you make your business seem less attractive. The more services you offer, the more clients you can bring in.
Build a proper website
Construction businesses are usually very small and can be started by one person. So, you don't tend to take things as seriously as other businesses. Namely, you neglect to create a website. I can understand why this is the case - I already mentioned that word of mouth is a big lead generator. Why bother paying for a website when you can get most of your clients by people spreading the word? This is why loads of construction companies will focus on Facebook or Instagram instead of a website. Social media is highly effective, but you need a website alongside it.
Websites will add some professionalism and authenticity to your brand. It builds trust with consumers, proving that you're worth their money. It's also a place to list all of your services in detail, while also providing some general pricing. A website is perfect for dealing with queries and questions, as you can list some FAQs for people to read through. This helps you answer questions that some people may have. For example, people might wonder what the average turnaround time is for a project. In your FAQ section, you can run through the average times for different projects. As a result, consumers are more likely to get in touch as they've been given more information on your business. All their queries have been answered, and they like what they see.
Without a website, people won't know much about you. There's only so much you can do with social media accounts - you can't list your services and give a full breakdown on what you do. A website is like a portfolio where people can check out your work, read about your services, and contact you. Additionally, a website helps you expand your presence by appearing in search engines.
Get the right insurance
Mant technical elements exist in setting up a construction business. For example, you need to consider all the insurance required for a business like yours. Technically, it's not illegal to operate without insurance. However, do you think you'll get many leads without it? Will someone want to pay for a construction business that isn't insured? Personally, I wouldn't trust a company that can't insure itself, and I doubt you would too.
Therefore, you have to find the right insurance packages for your business. Typically, the main thing to worry about is general liability insurance for contractors. I won't go into too much depth, but this will basically cover you against any claims made by members of the public. As a construction company, you're basically a contractor contracted to do a specific piece of work. So, you travel to people's homes and do lots of dangerous tasks. It's easy for a passer-by or a family member to get injured by something you do. For example, you leave a bucket on the floor, and someone trips over it. This is a basic example, but the person that tripped can sue you for negligence. General liability insurance will cover any costs made as the result of a claim against you.
As you can imagine, it's a big deal. Customers will want construction businesses that offer this insurance. Why? Because they know that things are covered in the event of an accident. What if you didn't have insurance and you damaged their property? You may be unable to pay for repairs, so they have to pay for it themselves. With this insurance, your provider pays out for them. It's such a simple consideration that goes a long way to reel in more clients.
Provide social proof
Social proof is one of the trending buzzwords in the marketing game right now. What does it mean? Well, it refers to a long list of things that prove to consumers you can be trusted. The most obvious one is a review or testimonial. If people see these, they know that your business is legit. Previous customers have claimed that you're amazing and do a fantastic job, making it more likely that others will follow suit.
Of course, as mentioned in the introduction, reviews require customers. Once you get a few reviews, it's easy to generate more. Now, you could offer some free work and get reviews that way, but there are other forms of social proof to consider. For instance, become a member of an association or society. Plenty of construction associations exist that prove to people you follow specific standards. If you're a member of a meaningful society, you can put it on your website as a form of social proof. People will see it, Google the society, then realize you must be a legit company.
In some ways, your website itself is a form of social proof. If it's professionally-made and secure, consumers will start to trust you. The bottom line is that you need to explore all different social proof methods to build trust with consumers. A human being is more likely to make a purchase when they trust the business in question. This is even more apparent in the construction industry!
Offer free/discounted services
It was spoken about a few moments ago, but free services can help your business. Naturally, you don't want to give things away for free. Construction work requires lots of physical effort and money. So, this isn't something you can do all the time. Still, it's a smart way to get your business off the ground and find some initial customers. After finishing the jobs, you will have reviews to brandish on your website. Word of mouth will also kick in, and you should see some more inquiries.
Alternatively, you could offer discounted services to the first handful of customers. This is a great idea as you run a promotion that attracts people's attention. They'll see a discounted service and be keen to take advantage of it. Construction work tends to be expensive, so customers will always be eager to make the most out of a discount. Again, you shouldn't run this promotion for too long as you can lose too much money. But, you have to think about it from a long term perspective. Offering discounted services now will ensure that you find more customers in the future. The influx of clients will more than make up for the discounts you provided.
My advice is to put restrictions on the promotion to increase eagerness. Set a time limit when the promotion runs out, or set a limit to the number of clients. Let's say you offer 2 free projects and 5 discounted ones - this will encourage people to inquire as they know it's rare. They know that they have to act quickly or risk missing out on an exceptional deal!
On that note, we've reached the end of this guide. There are a few key points that I want to go over before things get wrapped up. Firstly, be aware that you will have lots of competitors in this industry. It's not going to be easy to find customers, particularly in the beginning. Secondly, all of these tactics are ideal when you have zero customers. As you acquire clients, you can carry on using these methods while also pushing reviews and word of mouth. When done correctly, you can grow a very successful business in the construction industry.