11 tips for growing long-lasting contractor business

Successful contractors are essential in just about every industry. While there can be challenges in running a contracting business, the rewards can be great.

When acting as a contractor, remember to clearly define your terms. Contracts in the construction industry may protect the client as well as the contractor, which can help ensure a mutually beneficial professional working relationship.

Successful contractors are essential in just about every industry. While there can be challenges in running a contracting business, the rewards can be great.

It is important that contractors clearly define their terms. Contracts in the construction industry may protect the client as well as the contractor, which can help ensure a mutually beneficial professional working relationship.

As with most things in business, there is a right way and a wrong way of doing it. So, here are carefully selected and proven tips that you may consider for helping to grow your successful contractor business in 2024 and beyond.

Key strategies for contractor or construction business growth

1. Thoroughly assess your business

Consider starting by conducting a thorough, objective, and honest assessment of your business. Ask these questions (and more) of your business as it currently stands:

  • Are you financially stable?
  • Do you get repeat sales?
  • Have you received any customer referrals from your business?
  • What do customers think of your business?
  • What is your turnover rate of?

You may answer such questions by looking at your books, listening to what others are saying online about your business, and speaking with your employees and customers.

2. Give excellent customer service every time

If you want to grow a construction business, client satisfaction should be your top priority. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you must give in to every single customer request. It is more about communicating with your clients. This will enable you to be partners in the decision making. Customers who are satisfied will return to your business and they may also refer your business to others.

3. Make yourself available

When it comes to customer service, ensure that your potential customers are able to speak to a real person during business hours. It’s a big ask to have someone answer the phone all day, but if you want to keep your customers, this may be something that you consider.

Sending business calls to your mobile phone while you are out of the office is one way to avoid this. You can still call back the customer even if you are not at the phone.

Avoid confusion by clearly stating your hours of operation on your company website, business cards, and social media channels. Consider also stating where your business is physically located.

4. Lead your team, manage your business

Your employees prefer to be led, not managed. They are infinitely more likely to follow you wherever you go if they believe that you are a strong leader. If you try and control every aspect of your employees’ work, you will appear to lack confidence in their ability to make good decisions and do their job properly.

5. Step up your marketing game to profit as a contractor

Marketing is all about raising the profile of your contractor business in order to win work on more profitable projects and with larger clients and increase your profit as a contractor. It’s also about projecting confidence in your ability, which can also help in keeping your existing customers happy and on your books.

To do so, have a complete online presence for your home improvement business, and engage with your audience via email, social media, blog posts, and other forms of content marketing where you can clearly show how your company can solve their problems.

You may, however, also market your business locally. Make sure all the contact details for your business are easily accessible online. Attending chambers of commerce meetings and business networking events can also help you to network and connect with potential new customers. And don’t be shy to advertise your contracting business on social media as well.

Construction is a dynamic industry, where adaptability and change are essential. Construction can also be a volatile business, as we have seen in the recent recession. Without a marketing plan, you may be setting your contractor business up to fail. Consider investing in marketing your business via both traditional marketing (corporate brochures, corporate stationery, company vehicles, branding) and digital marketing (Google Ads, social media advertising, SEO).

6. Increase funding

While you may not have the financial resources to expand your business on your own, you may consider accessing lines of credit or applying for a business loan, as well as secure overdraft protection.

Keep in mind that if you are looking for new funding opportunities, ensure that all of your important financial records, including Business Activity Statements, show detailed and organised records. You may also research the type of loans that may be best suited for your contractor business and its current financial needs.

7. Be flexible

To manage a contracting business well, flexibility is critical. Even if your contracting business does general contractor work, you may not have expertise in all areas. However, when you go the extra mile for a client, you may well gain a loyal and long-term customer.

For example, if you are doing electrical work, and you notice a small leak in a pipe that you can repair easily, you could fix it yourself (provided you have the skills and equipment to do so). In the process you will be saving your client money and time, which will likely mean that they will call on you again when they require a qualified, dedicated, and successful contractor.

8. Quality matters – on every job

Be very careful when deciding on any measures that may compromise the quality of your contractor work. Cutting corners in order to save money or to complete a job faster can in the long run have a negative impact on your business. The peerless reputation of your company for quality work is only as good as your last completed job. It can take only one poor job to destroy the stellar reputation you have worked so hard to develop over many years.

9. Find a mentor

A mentor can be a great resource for helping you to manage a contracting business and overcome challenges to your business. A business mentor can teach you about managing your business finance, how to delight customers, and how to attract investors (if you seek them).

Your mentor may be a retired successful contractor, a family member, or even a finance professional. They may be a family friend, or they may be someone who you hire. Remember that the best mentors are those who can teach you important things that you may not be able to learn on your own

10. Be unique

Is your business a specialist or does it cater to a specific niche? Capitalise on the uniqueness of your business. You may be able to offer services that are tailored to commercial jobs as opposed to contractors who only work on residential properties.

You may offer a balance of both products and services as well. Niche markets may give you an edge in the market and make you stand out, but there may be fewer opportunities.

11. Choose your customers carefully

Believe it or not, certain customers may actually be bad for your contracting business. The hard truth is that some customers are more valuable than others. Is it worth trying to collect a few hundred dollars from a customer who has been a jerk and only requested some minor contracting? Wouldn’t you prefer to land a large project with a client that pays you up front and is easy to work with?

Concentrate on your strengths

How BizCover and contractor insurance can help your business go the distance

Running a successful contractor business long-term is no small achievement. A successful contracting business is one that can stand the test of time and endure the ebbs and flows of the often competitive construction industry. And this is where BizCover and contractor insurance can help ensure that you can keep on doing the work you love for as long as you want to.

To learn more about Public Liability insurance and the other types of business insurance that can help contractors reduce their exposure to risk, visit our dedicated page for contractor insurance, or call 1300 920 871 to discuss your business insurance needs with our team.

*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2023 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769.

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