Promoting a niche construction company – and why sometimes it just can not work

My gut tells me at least every other construction worker dreams of opening his own construction company. At least they tell me that. In practice, few do, and those that do sometimes do not last for lack of work.
To me, that seems like a marketing problem. Sure, economy cycles and capital expenditure decisions are made and rescinded. But construction workers from failed building companies frequently choose to go to someone else in the industry who has work. They don’t all leave the industry and become IT workers, for example. This tells you work exists – it is just not your contract.
How do you market a small, specialized construction company? I’ve got a friend Ivan, who, after 5-7 hard working years in the industry has been eager to bud off into bathroom tiling. Yes, the guy who’d help you if you want to retile your bathroom or replace your bathtub. A hard-working immigrant, speaking half-English. Did my bathroom.
Now, I given how everyone dislikes contractors and how little contractors do to change that notion (quite on the opposite!), this is one of those rare cases that I can almost guarantee fair success based on a few good marketing actions. Since Ivan can sustain moderate pricing, competitors are really not in the marketing sense a threat. After 10-12 hours on the job, they resort to simple pleasures like beer and TV, and content with little money, do nothing to promote themselves. Google them, and a toy store comes up.
The two-fold goal here, really, is to: A) stand out just enough from the crowd, and B) Instill just enough trust in the customer to warrant them calling. Then, present yourself well, and bingo. Simple.
The strategy then is this:
  • Build a simple, one-page website with a descriptive domain.
  • Decorate it with a headshot of the grand master, framed into an intro paragraph and appended by contact information
  • Fill the rest with pictures, pictures, pictures of word done and if possible, happy smiling clients
  • Post the company in as many service listings as possible. Google, Yelp, Angie’s list – you name it.


That’s it. A few hundred down, a few hours of unfamiliar work and then a friend to answer the phone for you.
So where are we stuck? Why can’t I give you the link to the website of the guy who helped me, and whom I am very ready to help back?
We are stuck on pictures. We are stuck on deciding a day to meet together to accomplish this. We are stuck, because there is too much work, and at the end of the 10 hour day Ivan is too tired to think about marketing.

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