Target "good" customers. [Mike Musto] says U.S. Pavement, his contracting business, is "putting blinders on this year" and look- ing primarily at the good cus- tomers. "We're pursuing people who are going to give us profit- able work who want to do busi- ness with us," he says. "We're looking at people managing multiple properties, people who don't necessarily go for the low bid, and who prefer to do business with one contractor.
How to get the work you need, part 1 Tactics, strategies, and tips to help contractors of all size and shape survive in this economy By Allan Heydorn H omeowners are hanging on And, Gruenberg says, don’t forget ment Advisory Board member. “I tell to their money and paying to send a follow–up note to that new him up front that we don’t do every- off debt, property managers e–mail address. thing – we don’t do large overlays, for are on tighter and tighter budgets as Get the owner out with custom- example – but I bid it and sub it out vacancy rates rise, and your business ers. Owners make an impact, it’s as to some paving contractors who do depends on getting prospects in either simple as that, so in tough economic good work, and they in turn sub work or both groups to hire you so you can times if the owner of the company to me. They don’t want to crackseal, maintain or grow your company, keep can make a solid impression with a for example, and we don’t want to do your employees paid, and meet all prospect, why not get the owner out large overlays, so it works.” your financial obligations. there making sales calls, giving pre- Diversify. The financial barrier to To help, Pavement Maintenance & sentations, and glad handing? entry into many aspects of pavement Reconstruction contacted a number of Subcontract. You can subcontract maintenance is low, so diversifica- experts to learn some of the steps you work to other contractors and you can tion is open to almost all contractors. can take to get the work you need. be a subcontractor for other contrac- Humphrey cautions, however, that Rely on your sales files. Con- tors – and once you start, work often contractors should know what they tractors often have files that go back want to do and why they are adding a many years, and Brad Humphrey, service to their business. “You need to Pinnacle Development Group, says have a vision,” he says. “If you don’t contractors frequently “forget” to con- h i how Share your tips on h to get work k you’re not going to do a good job at tact these past customers as the con- by visiting the Roundabout blog at it, and if you’re adding a service you www.ForConstructionPros.com tractor emphasizes new blood. “So under the Pavement tab. need to add it in a quality way.” look at customers you did work for But first determine if your market maybe five or 10 years ago and that needs the service you want to add. you haven’t done work for since. Find flows both directions. “Subcontract- Humphrey stresses that it’s impor- out if they’re still in business, confirm ing provides a give and take,” says tant the new service enhance and not the primary contact, and create a new Nick Howell, T&N Asphalt Services in any way damage your reputation, list for your salespeople to work.” and a member of the Pavement Advi- so a contractor adding striping, for Guy Gruenberg, Grow Consulting, sory Board. “It can even keep you example, should research and study adds that simply by updating your busy enough not to have to market.”
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