by Jim Stathis
In this economy, let's face it: we have to do more with what we have. In many cases, the contracting companies I talk to are not getting the same number of jobs they were getting even a few years ago. Homeowners, a lot of times, are choosing not do the full scope of work they need because they don't have the extra cash available. Unless the roof is actually leaking, many times people simply aren't putting money into their home, because groceries or paying the mortgage is more important. It's not a happy thought, but it's unfortunatley a reality sometimes for people.
If you're struggling in this economy, we believe an obvious place to grow is to expand your service offering to customers. It's a tough call sometimes, because the skill set involved to do certain trades differs greatly from others. However, if you find that you are getting fewer jobs and fewer calls than you were before, then expanding your services is something to take a closer look at. It's an obvious way to make your marketing dollar go further, if you can do it successfully.
You can expand your service offering by offering complimentary trades to the customer while you're on the job site. If you're a roofer, you might also offer gutters and skylights. If you're a pool contractor, perhaps you also offer landscape design. Another natural way to expand your services is to offer insurance restoration work if you're already performing trades like kitchen and bath remodels, room additions, or flooring. I know many contractors avoid expanding their services because they have no idea how to do the other trades, let along manage it and bill for it. I mean, what good is doing the work if you can't get paid for it?
Here are the top 3 things to consider when looking to add another service to your business:
1. Do I Know How to Perform the Service? For example, if you are considering adding insurance work to your home improvement business, it is important that you understand what is involved when dealing with insurance companies. Estimating and billing procedures are often very different when insurance is involved. You must clearly understand what needs to be done and have a system in place to deliver a quality result to your customer before you do it.
2. Do I Know How to Bill for the Service? Just like doing the work in the field, there may be nuances to the billing. You must understand how to estimate and engineer jobs for profits that meet your company's standard. If there is a specific software program you should use, you have to know how to use it. If there are charges that are customarily billed (or not billed) you must know what they are. This is critical to ensure that you will be paid for the work you do.
3. Can I Do it Profitably? Surprisingly, many entrepreneurs will jump into a new product or service in their business before really considering if it makes sense to do. I've met many business owners who jumped into an add-on service before they really considered whether or not they would make money doing it. Isn't that crazy? They figured that since someone else was performing the service in the marketplace, there was money to be made. My answer to this is: there probably is, but what you make all depends upon the system you use. If you don't have a regular, repeatable system, you won't have regular, repeatable profit. Period.
Personally, I think adding another service to your line-up is a great idea, especially if you've seen your business drop in the last few years, and you have access to the right training so that you can add the service seamlessly to what you're already doing. If you're interested in finding out more about how to expand your services with the right training, I invite you to visit our training page to find out more. We have courses that can help you be more profitable in your contracting business, and also break into insurance work if that's what you'd like to do.
I wish you success and prosperity in your business. You are providing a tremendous service to your customers, helping them protect their property values and make their homes more useable. You deserve success, and we're here to help you.
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