One-person renovation business: Looking for ideas to grow?

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hometek plus
The current HomeTek Plus website for the Richmond, VA remodeller.
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Recently,  Alex Ozik, owner of HomeTek PLUS in Richmond, VA, posted this question in the Construction Marketing Ideas LinkedIn group.

Does anybody have suggestions for a one man business that has been established for 12 years to get new clients? I have just started online with a basic site and a new LinkedIn page but I don’t know where to go next or what would be my best ROI. Can I get some input that might help?

Readers responded with suggestions including using AdWords to attract leads, applying Facebook and a graphics designer observed:

Make sure you accurately describe what you can and will do. Have some visual evidence of the quality of your work. Allow people to transmit photos or movies of the location they are interested in having renovated.

However, I sense these suggestions, while valid in their own right, will leave Alex somewhat frustrated and confused — and potentially caught in the trap of increasing marketing expenses without satisfying results.

How would I guide him?

Well, first, we should realize the advice in this blog posting is based on superficial impressions, not a substantial one-on-one conversation (and that would require some consulting fees/commitments). However, my questions, if I were to ask them, and Alex can ask himself, would be: “What kind of data/communication and relationships do you have with your previous clients?”

Related to this question would be:

  • Do have jobs you are particularly proud of, that you would like to replicate (and made you money?)
  • Were clients providing any word-of-mouth referrals and, if so, what provoked them and caused them to happen?

The reason for these questions is that rather than flying off into social media land blind, I would start with the recognition that for smaller renovation businesses, especially, word-of-mouth continues to be the most powerful marketing tool. So we need to figure out why it is happening, and what causes clients to be truly satisfied (NOT “great customer service” by the way), and then interpret it so we can attract more referrals, and more clients.

Just calling and where appropriate meeting your previous clients for feedback and, if they are enthusiastic, to produce testimonials– you can generate that these days by holding your cell phone as a camera — may well provide a significant volume of work; they may have been thinking of doing something, but just not made the connection, or forgotten your contact details.

hometek plus
The current HomeTek PLUS website for the Richmond, VA remodeller.

The testimonials provide fodder for your website revamp, because the story here should in many ways be more about your really happy previous clients than about yourself.

It also provides the framework for some social media activity — as well as the development of your internal email/snail mail list for follow-up communications.

You can also systematically solicit and encourage referral business.

Finally, consider paying a modest sum to a professional consultant for some worthy marketing ideas and suggestions. The best one for residential renovators, I think, is Michael Jeffries and you can connect with him through a link on this website. (Disclaimer, I don’t receive compensation from Michael for referrals, but he has referred some profitable business to me — which of course is another way to build your business, through your trade connections and relationships, and reciprocal referrals, where appropriate.)

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