Contractors who specialize in fire and smoke restoration work get a lot of their business by referral. Relying on referrals is great for established contractors who do quality work. However, newcomers to the market may find getting in the door challenging. Getting rid of the toxic residue left by fires and the penetrating smell of smoke is an area in which homeowners, business owners and insurance companies don't want to take chances. Getting the first few jobs entails lots of communication and confidence building.
Acquire industry standard equipment, if not the latest technology. Not only will you need it for your jobs, but you'll want to show customers and potential referrers that you're fully capable of doing the work. If people get the sense that you run out and rent a piece of second-rate equipment, they won't be likely to take a chance on you.
Create marketing materials including a portfolio of any previous work you've done. If you're making your debut in fire restoration work, feature other kinds of successful contracting jobs you've completed. Prominently mention any certifications or credentials you have in fire and smoke restoration work.
Contact insurance companies and fire departments. Not only do they give referrals to people who have fire damage to repair, but insurance companies often have a selected list of contractors they choose. Getting onto an insurance company's list of contractors can be very good for business. Try to get appointments and face-to-face meetings whenever possible.
Network with contractors in your area who perform complementary services. Roofing contractors, for example may refer their clients to fire and smoke specialists. Some contractors prefer to work on projects with other contractors they trust. Work to become a company with whom others in the contracting industry want to partner. Contractors and builders association events offer good networking opportunities. You can also pursue meetings and appointments with prominent contractors in your region.
Offer potential clients competitive pricing. Some companies get a foothold in a market by offering below-market prices for the first few jobs, which will mean you have little to no profit margin. Weigh this strategy carefully, as in some markets this practice can anger people in the industry and put you at odds with industry colleagues.