Many carpenters are superb craftsmen, but also will candidly admit that those skills don’t always translate into business acumen. With that in mind, here are some big-picture tips for making your business more efficient and profitable. Whether you build cabinets or do rough framing or finish carpentry, there’s always room in your toolbox for some valuable business advice, right
Keeping a high profile on social media is as important to marketing your skills today as phonebook advertising was years ago. With so many potential customers using the Internet to hire carpenters and other tradesmen, it’s critical to develop a strong presence on websites such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Google reviews, Yelp and the like. In fact, studies show that 92 percent of consumers read online reviews before choosing a business to work with
There’s an App for That
Leveraging new technology to complete tasks faster is a sure-fire way to snag repeat business and valuable word-of-mouth referrals. And one of the fastest-growing technology areas is cellphone apps that do in minutes – if not seconds – jobs that used to take much longer.
To get a feel for what’s out there, just Google “apps for tradesmen.” Then make a pot of coffee as you peruse the 18,400,000 results! There are apps for alleviating tedious and time-consuming paperwork. Apps that enable you to use drones to survey work sites or view job-site progress from an aerial viewpoint. Apps for estimating job costs. Apps for figuring out the materials needed to build a fence or shingle a roof. For determining how many studs and how much drywall a job will require. For calculating rafter angles and measuring slope and distance. Can’t find your plumb bob or torpedo level? No worries – there’s an app for that, too.
In addition, consider the the all-new Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz, which features Mercedes PRO connect which makes your job easier by intelligently connecting fleet managers, drivers and vehicles to increase productivity and efficiency through easy access of vehicle and job-related information.
Time is money for any contractor, so having a place for everything – and keeping everything in its place – is critical to maximizing on-the-job productivity. This is where the all-new Sprinter comes into play. These spacious vans offer 512.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, a spacious maximum standing height of 79.1 inches and a maximum payload capacity of 6,735 pounds.
The all-new Sprinter can hold everything you need – they’re literally workshops on wheels. Table saw? Check. Compound miter saw? Got it. Ladders? You bet. Storage bins for holding nails, screws and what-not? Good to go. Air compressor? Sure thing.
By providing ample space for carrying everything from hand and power tools to materials, The all-new Sprinter helps you amp up productivity and profitability. How? By reducing time- and profit-killing trips to home centers or back to your workshop. Even if you’re no math whiz, the equation is pretty simple: Less windshield time per week equals more time for making sawdust.
The Mercedes PRO connect app also chips in by minimizing down time caused by unexpected maintenance and repairs. How? By ensuring you never miss upcoming scheduled maintenance appointments and making vehicle data transparent and easily accessible, which translates into more efficient and effective fleet management and operational planning. All these factors help you finish jobs faster and make homeowners or general contractors happier, too.
Stay in the Know
Keeping yourself educated about your trade and industry trends is invaluable. As such, consider joining professional trade organizations that offer training seminars, certification courses and other educational opportunities that make you more valuable in the eyes of your customers. Whether it’s new marketing techniques, updates on regulations or using social media, these groups offer a wealth of information that can help your business prosper.
Moreover, don’t overlook Facebook as another educational resource. It’s not unusual to find tradesman who’ve banded together to create their own Facebook page where carpenters, for example, can post photos of jobs, talk about their favorite new tools or service vehicles, ask for advice about challenging projects and so forth. There’s no better sounding board than fellow carpenters. Valuable information that’s also free? Yes, please!
Reassure Your Customers
It always helps if you can differentiate your business from competitors. One way to do this is to get bonded and insured. The former assures customers that they’ll be compensated in full if you, for whatever reason, fail to fulfill a contract. To get bonded, an independent bonding company examines various aspects of your business – such as your credit score, business finances and industry experience – and determines if you’re trustworthy.
Liability insurance, on the other hand, protects you against risks that can hurt your business, such as damage to personal property or injuries. Think of it this way: Bonding is for customers, while insurance is more for you. Either way, they both give customers something that other contractors can’t: peace of mind.