Running your own construction business takes more than just knowing your trade. You need to understand small business management and sales to succeed as an entrepreneur. Advertising a construction business takes identifying your target customers and the right media to reach those potential customers. Here are some tips to help you start and advertise a construction business.
Write a business plan. Include specific information about what types of construction projects you want to work on, the kinds of clients you want to work with and the size of the construction business you want to start. Consider whether you want to employ others or use subcontractors. Also include information about your competition and create a marketing plan that details how you will market your services.
Seek business advice. Consult with an attorney and accountant to ask questions about the best legal structure for your company. (You could choose to operate as a sole proprietor, limited liability corporation or partnership, among others.) Look for local small business seminars to learn about small business management, and try to find a mentor who operates a construction business similar to the one you plan to start. Find out what fees, licenses, paperwork and permits you need to operate a construction business in your state. Apply for liability insurance and research employment regulations.
Choose a location. Your office and shop needs will depend on the type of construction business you want to run. A carpenter may only need a small workshop, while contractors who offer services that utilize large equipment will need a variety of buildings for storage and an office to house support staff. Research your local zoning laws, which can regulate everything from appearance to noise, before setting up your shop or purchasing property. Pick a location that considers equipment storage, travel time and customer accessibility.
Create a budget and obtain financing. Your budget should include estimated operating costs and expenses. Your business plan will be essential to securing a traditional loan. However, it can still be difficult to obtain bank financing to start a construction business. Consider asking for a loan from friends or family, using your personal credit cards and dipping into your personal savings to cover your initial operating costs. Save on your start-up costs by leasing equipment.
Market your business. Once you have researched all of your responsibilities as a business owner, you are ready to sell your construction services. Your marketing efforts can involve everything from door-to-door sales calls, brochures, print advertising, a website and even an advice column in the local newspaper. Give your business cards to satisfied customers, and ask them for referrals.
Choose your advertising goals. These objectives can be measurable (such as increasing business by 20 percent) or general ideas (such as raising awareness of your construction services). The more specific you make your goals, the easier it will be for you to create effective advertising and analyze your results.
Identify your target market. This will be the group that most likely will purchase your services. If you are unsure of who your most common customer is, use a survey to ask clients who they are and what services they are interested in. Typical construction target markets include homeowners, businesses, governments and schools.
Create your message. Tailor your advertising to your target market’s interests and needs. For example, if you sell construction services to homeowners, create advertising that describes how your services solve their remodeling problems or improves their homes. Focus on the benefits your construction business offers to your customers.
Pick your media. Select from newspapers, magazines, trade journals or websites. Choose an outlet that has an audience that matches your target market. Most media companies keep demographic information that describes their common readers and their preferences. For instance, you might choose to advertise in your local newspaper, if you are marketing your construction services to local business owners.
Analyze your response. Include a way to measure the effectiveness of your advertising. You can do this by using a code that gives the customer a discount or simply by asking the customer where he heard about your construction business.