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    A Construction Contractor's Optimal Guide To Profiling Clients

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jan 31, 2020

    Easily an essential first step in establishing your construction company is to define your clients so that you have the information you need to attract the right audience and generate valuable traffic to your website.
     
    Understanding your customers and what makes them tick is the key to any successful construction business, particularly if you are paying out large amounts of money to drive relevant traffic.
     
    One of the most practical ways of defining your prospects is by building client profiles that represent the typical types of customers that you are aiming for. As a result, you'll be able to home in on a more specific target audience, communicate with your audience in a more relevant and personalized manner, and, ultimately, generate more revenue.


     

    Every business caters to a specific demographic, and while some audiences might be vast, it is still essential from a marketing perspective that you know your clients and how to reach out to them. You'll need to understand your product or service, seek out feedback, learn about your customers' habits and interests, and maintain a consistent and targeted marketing campaign.

    Knowing Your Brand

    There's no shortage of novice construction companies out there who are attracted by the empty promises of making a quick profit by providing a service that is in high demand during a particular season, even if they aren't at all familiar with the execution. The reality of a successful construction business is quite a different thing; however, you need to be thoroughly familiar with what you are trying to work on (whether you are installing, repairing, or renovating), and you need to believe in it.

    Whether you're a lone contractor or you're planning to start a small construction business with multiple employees or partners, you'll need to define your mission and come to understand your products and services fully. You cannot hope to accurately profile your clients if you do not have the utmost familiarity with what you are trying to sell to them. You'll need to pay attention to every detail before putting yourself in the shoes of your customers. When you know your brand, and it has a clearly defined mission, you'll be ready to start profiling your customers and tweaking your approach to marketing as necessary.

    Seek Feedback

    Seeking feedback is a critical ongoing process, but you should also start by doing plenty of research before you can even hope to get your marketing strategy off the ground. Your construction business will inevitably need to adapt over time to the needs and desires of its clients, not least because the customer has far more control these days than ever before by way of things like social media and online reviews.

    Seek out feedback from your clients at every opportunity, but make sure that you don't end up being intrusive and don't bombard people with too much information or too many questions. Many customers won't have the time or the patience to leave feedback, and you'll have to learn to accept that. Fortunately, there are some practical ways of encouraging your customers to leave feedback, such as by offering incentives like promotional codes and other discounts for completing a short survey or answering a few questions about their preferences and habits.

    Feedback doesn't always need to come from clients themselves, either. You can gain invaluable insights, albeit not entirely as accurate, by reviewing reports on your industry. Many companies provide insights into specific markets by analyzing trends in online behavior to help your business better define its target audience.

    Create Your Client Personas

    Create a profile of your perfect customer. If your construction business has an unusually broad reach, then you'll want to segment your target audience and create personas for each customer category. Map out the behaviors and interests of your customers based on important factors such as demographics, buying habits, geographical location, and more. You can even name these imaginary customers if you like, since this may help you to imagine them in a more practical light.

    When defining your customer profiles, be sure to seek answers to the following questions:

    • What other related businesses would they likely choose to work with?
    • What sort of subject matter is most likely to interest them?
    • What are their demographical attributes?
    • Where are they located? 
    • What do they need or want? 
    • What do your customers do to entertain themselves?
    • What is their income level?
    • How much would they be willing to spend?
    • What are their priorities and goals in life?
    • How do they approach change?
    • What are their past purchases?
    • How often have they hired you?

    Every day, millions of people turn to Google to find answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, or simply something to entertain them. What sort of queries does your business offer solutions for? By knowing your customers' problems, curiosities, and interests, you'll be able to tailor your content, your marketing strategy, and your product itself to better suit those criteria.

    Avoid basing your customer personas on a real customer, since no single individual can completely represent your target audience. Instead, a customer persona should be reasonably broad, and it should characterize your perfect customer. 

    Profiling your customers won't result in your construction company's profit if you don't know how to sell more to existing clients. Just because you're a contractor who provides services doesn't mean you can't cross-sell or up-sell. It's much easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. Read on to learn how to generate more income by working these two sales strategies like a pro.

    Cross-selling

    Cross-selling is simply inviting your customers to buy a secondary item that naturally bundles with a product they're already purchasing. This works particularly to the handyman and home service and repair contractors who have materials readily available for use. You'll get the best results with cross-selling when a complementary item is offered at a much lower price point.

    Up-selling

    When you up-sell to a customer, you're asking them to consider a higher-priced upgrade during a sales transaction. Think of an up-sell as a recommendation. You're endorsing the best version of a product or service your customer is already planning to buy. It's usually much easier to up-sell a customer than to cross-sell.

    Paying more for the premier option is a smaller stretch for a client than deciding to buy something extra that wasn't initially part of the plan. Whenever you're telling your clients about a product's features, suggest the benefits of the premier option. Even if they decide not to buy at the highest price point now, they might keep it in mind for next time. 

    Up-selling often happens naturally in sales when the focus is on the product that would best meet your client's needs rather than starting with price. Explain the differences between two or three options, providing all the information your clients need to make the best choice.

    In conclusion

    With your client profiles in place, you'll be able to match each area of your marketing strategy to the individual characteristics of your clients. By targeting smaller and more specific audiences, you should be able to increase the percentage of paying customers and valuable leads instead of wasting time and money on targeting the wrong people. 

    As you integrate up-selling and cross-selling into your sales strategy, always keep your ideal clients and their needs top of mind. By being knowledgeable about the problems your customers most want to solve and able to provide honest, helpful advice - your clients will grow to trust you and your recommendations. 

    Ultimately, don't forget that it's not about getting more visitors to your website: it's about getting more visitors that go on to become paying clients.

    P.S.

    We are excited and honored that Randal is nominated for the 2020 Small Business Person Of The Year award in our city. If you are on Alignable, I would appreciate it if you can connect with us and "like" our recommendation.

    Screenshot of Alignable nomination

    About The Author:

    Sharie DeHart, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services companies and cash management accounting for small construction companies across the USA. She encourages Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on their tax obligations and offers insights on how to manage the remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. Call 1-800-361-1770 or sharie@fasteasyaccounting.com

     

    OUTSOURCED ACCOUNTING FOR 
    THE BUSY CONTRACTOR
    IN A MOBILE ENVIRONMENT

    Bookkeeping Trial Test Drive Contractor Bookkeeping Templates For QuickBooks And Xero
    Outsourced Accounting 1-800-361-1770


    Download the Contractors APP today
     from the 
    App Store or Android Store

    Access Code: FEAHEROS

    Click here to download the App on Android:

    Click here to download the App on iOS:

    Simply scan the QR code or search for ‘MyAccountants’ in the App Store and enter the Access code: FEAHEROS to utilize the powerful App features and capabilities, and benefit from having our Construction Accounting App at your fingertips, 24/7."

    PS: Even if you are not a Construction Contractor you will find a plenty of benefits in the app so we invite you to download it too! It's Free so why not?

     

    Read More

    Topics: Hiring Employees, Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    How To Find And Keep Top Construction Employees

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jan 17, 2020

    We all know the usual process of finding new employees. Advertise a job,  read resumes, conduct a telephone interview, conduct a face-to-face interview, then choose someone. The steps to recruiting new talent have been the same for decades, leaving many construction business owners to think these are the only way to find new employees. 
     
    There are many top-notch employees that you might not find if you don't change your strategy, however, these days there are many new and exciting ways to connect with possible staff and attract qualified employees to your business. All you have to do is be willing to be creative in your thinking. 


     

    Get your current employees on it

    Besides you, who knows better what you need in an employee than your current employees? Not only do they know what you need, but they can also vouch for the people they recommend. Using an employee referral program can save you the costs associated with advertising a position, undergoing extensive interviews, and then training and retraining employees who don't work out. 
     
    How does it work? Your employees recommend people for a job with your company, and if their recommendation is successful, they get a reward. This can be a cash bonus, a gift, additional days off work, or the opportunity to work from home for a few days. 
     
    Make sure the program's details are precise: does the referred employee have to be hired for the benefit to kick in, or do they have to work at your company for a specific period? Does the gift get more extravagant if they recommend more successful recruits?
     
    Keep the rules simple and make sure all employees know about the program. 

    Turn to Social Media

    Social media isn't just a great way to build your customer base; it's also a fantastic way to build interest in working for your company. Employees of all ages—but especially younger generations—use some form of social media to look for work. That could be LinkedIn, but it can also mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a variety of other sites.
    Even if someone who sees your post isn't interested, they may share it with their friends or followers, who will share it with theirs, vastly increasing your reach. Be sure you know who your target candidates are and what social media channels they use and tailor your ads or posts to them. 
     
    If you have the time to have a long-view of recruiting, start building your company's employment brand online early by releasing content that highlights your corporate culture. People may see those posts and come to you so you can develop your talent pool. At the very least, you'll already be on their radar when it comes time to hire. 

    Reach out to past candidates

    Just because someone wasn't the best candidate for a job in the past doesn't mean they aren't now. There could have been many factors that resulted in that person not being the best fit at that time. Perhaps they've taken courses or developed their experience since you interviewed them. 
     
    When you interview people that you like, but they don't quite make the cut, keep their resume on file and consider reaching out to them when a position opens up. You never know when the time will be right for them.
     
    In light of finding the right employee, make sure your company is also a good fit for job-lookers. One way of attracting and keeping top and able crew is creating personal development plans for your employees.

    Hopefully, you have long - and short-term plans for your company, and you may even have a strategy for your development, but have you considered having a personal development plan (or individual development plan) for employees?
    An employee's development plan is an action plan that focuses on helping staff improve their knowledge, capabilities, and skills in areas related to your business.
    Creating such plans shows your staff you're invested in their future, which increases employee satisfaction. It helps them understand their role and gives them a framework for expanding their talents. It enables you to develop your staff, allowing you to promote from within and enabling your employees to grow with your construction company.
    Here are some steps to take to write a personal development plan.
     
    1. Determine business and employee goals 
     
    The first step is to determine your company's goals and needs. Are you looking to expand locations soon? Add new products or services? Do you have senior employees who will be retiring soon? Once you know what your business needs, you can identify the skills, experience, and training that will support the people who will help you meet those requirements. 
     
    Then determine your employees' goals. Talk to them about the work they currently do and where they feel they could use training. Ask where they see themselves in your company in the future. Find out why they want to develop their skills. Their answers will help you determine how to put the plan into action.  
    When you assess employees, keep in mind that having the ambition or potential to move up in your business doesn't necessarily mean they're ready right now. They may require a few years of gradually expanding their role and skills, or they may be great at one job (say installation) but not at another (such as sales). 
     
    2. Explore training and development options
     
    Now you can look at training and development options for your employees. Consider what training will give them the skills they need to expand their talents while also weighing their learning styles. Not all employees learn well in a classroom setting - and not all have the time to devote to taking courses. 
     
    Explore other options, such as coaching and mentoring, special projects, networking groups, online training, and working with experts. Combining a few of these strategies will likely work well for your employees as they can learn new skills and see how those skills apply to their jobs. 
     
    3. Write a development plan
     
    Finally, you can write up the plan, including specific goals with deadlines and the steps to take to help your employees achieve their goals. Sit down with your employees to talk about the program over, so they know what the goals are and how acquiring new skills helps them and the construction company. 
     
    Ensure that each employee has the opportunity to apply their new skills on the job and get feedback about their progress. This will keep them engaged in the process and help them refine their abilities. Remember to review the plan periodically so you can measure their development and determine if the project should be revised.
     
    In conclusion
     
    There are many things you can do that can be successful in finding the right employee for your business. As a bonus, some of these strategies won't necessarily cost you a lot of time or money and may get you highly qualified and loyal employees. Employee development plans are a great way to invest in your employees and help them acquire new skills that will help them in their careers. It also enables you to promote from within your construction company, saving you time and money in the long run. 

    About The Author:

    Sharie DeHart, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services companies and cash management accounting for small construction companies across the USA. She encourages Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on their tax obligations and offers insights on how to manage the remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. Call 1-800-361-1770 or sharie@fasteasyaccounting.com

     

    OUTSOURCED ACCOUNTING FOR 
    THE BUSY CONTRACTOR
    IN A MOBILE ENVIRONMENT

    Bookkeeping Trial Test Drive Contractor Bookkeeping Templates For QuickBooks And Xero
    Outsourced Accounting 1-800-361-1770


    Download the Contractors APP today
     from the 
    App Store or Android Store

    Access Code: FEAHEROS

    Click here to download the App on Android:

    Click here to download the App on iOS:

    Simply scan the QR code or search for ‘MyAccountants’ in the App Store and enter the Access code: FEAHEROS to utilize the powerful App features and capabilities, and benefit from having our Construction Accounting App at your fingertips, 24/7."

    PS: Even if you are not a Construction Contractor you will find a plenty of benefits in the app so we invite you to download it too! It's Free so why not?

     

    Read More

    Topics: Hiring Employees, Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    How To Attract The Right Employee For Your Construction Firm With Leveling

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Tue, Aug 20, 2019

    To hire or not hire employees is one of the few optional things where the business owner gets to choose, change their mind or change direction as needed. With so much discussion about employees, payroll, and payroll taxes; you may feel that you are missing out by not hiring lots of employees. Reality is that as a small business owner, you DO NOT HAVE to hire employees.

    Hiring, maintaining, and feeding employees is not the measure of success. Owner-Operators can open his or her business and do all the work themselves. Moreover, some construction business owners still go by "No Skills Required." Thinking that "The jobs we do are simple. It's easy, and anybody can do it …that's why they think you can too!" They say things like, "You can start right now. Let's not waste time on an employment application/background check and other stuff. No Training Required - I trust you to do the most skilled functions in my business because you need a job."
     

    Read More

    Topics: Hiring Employees, Leveling Up

    Successful Contractors Employees Produce Results

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jul 14, 2017


    Excited that you are busy and hiring employees. How do I know this is true?

    The number of emails I receive about continuing education that reference employees are increasing. The topics you are sharing include wages, access to company funds, providing employee warm and fuzzies and you want to know what is the true cost including payroll taxes of having a Construction Worker on your payroll.

     

    Read More

    Topics: Hiring Employees, Contractors Are The Real Heros

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