Contractors, Prepare to Do Business in the Changing Economy

As I write this, in our area, it seems that the economy is picking up. I am getting calls for jobs earlier this year and many of them are for larger jobs. In 2009, I did almost all small jobs. It wasn’t that I wasn’t working most of the year, it is just that I had to do a lot of small jobs to keep busy. I am not especially fond of small jobs, but I was grateful for having jobs that I could make some money on.
This year is starting out very different. I am getting larger jobs earlier than I thought I would. I suspect that people have put off doing the larger jobs for a couple of years and now there is pent up demand for these. If I am right than the next few years will be better than the last couple of years. This of course could change if the government does something stupid to kill the economy.
So, if this economy is going to be different as we go forward, how are we to do business to maximize our profits? Well, first of all let me tell you of the differences that I believe will be in the changing economy. The customer will have more power in the next few years.
Five years ago, customers put up with some hassles from contractors because it was difficult to get a contractor. Now customers have learned that they can get good contractors to do their work because it has been difficult for contractors to get enough work.
The first thing we need to do different in the changing economy is to make sure that we always do an excellent job. Customers won’t tolerate near as much poor workmanship as they used to. They will expect better work and if we give them excellent work, they will give us more work and refer us to their friends.
The second thing that will be different is that customers will want a better experience with us. They will want more than just a great job. They will want a great experience. This means that they will want us to take care of many of the hassles so that their project will create as little stress for them as possible. This means that we should order materials, take care of permits and make sure everything is cleaned up when we are done.
A third thing that I think will be different is that customers will respond less to traditional advertising and will depend more on recommendations. This means that we will have to get better at getting our customers to refer us to others. We will have to work harder at developing relationships with them. This is what I call relationship marketing.
If you want to run a successful contracting business over the next few years, I think you would do well to pay attention to the changes that are occurring over the next few years. If you do respond correctly to the changes, the next few years could be very profitable for you.

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