With the popularity and growing demand for decorative concrete many contractors believe their work will sell itself with little if any promotions. The reality is that in many instances, contractors with fewer credentials, but more marketing ability, have greater success obtaining new customers.
Especially if you are just getting started in the business, it is essential to establish a niche in which you can confidently produce time and time again. When you consider the make-up of the decorative concrete industry there are roughly 10 or so applications. You cannot expect to master all 10 applications, nor will your market have the desire for all of them. I recommend perfecting one or two applications methods first, such as concrete countertops and acid staining, and making them the focus of your marketing efforts. Your niche should be a system that best suits your skill level combined with the local market demand.
Only once you have mastered your one or two market segments and more importantly you are making profits with them should you even consider expanding the services you offer to your clients.
Quality will prevail over quantity tenfold in this business. Each job should be treated as a calling card for your business. In one instance, years ago, I installed a decorative stained floor for a personal friend of mine opening up a restaurant. During the grand opening he claimed more people commented on the beautiful stained floors than the quality of his food. As a result of this floor, I was able to land four other projects. In situations like this, if the business owner or homeowner doesn’t object, leave a small sign or flyers and certainly business cards behind so that prospective clients can contact you. Your successful installations can end up being one of your most powerful sales tools!
Branding is also a very important aspect of marketing your business. In addition to signs or flyers on your jobsites, make sure you put your company name and contact information on your trucks as well as your equipment. Company T-shirts are yet another way to gain additional exposure for your business.
Opening a showroom/design center definitely helped our business grow. With so many texturing and coloring options to choose from, a showroom is one of the most effective ways to introduce designers and homeowners to the wide spectrum of possibilities. Why not showcase all that your company has to offer? If you have limited space, your showroom can be inside or out, or even in a small section of your warehouse or garage. This enables your clients to touch and feel the applications as well as choose different color combinations.
Establishing a professional website is also key. Today, many buyers of products and services turn to the Internet first for information. A website introduces new prospects to your company and helps them learn more about your background and capabilities. A website can also save you time by allowing prospective customers to see a portfolio of your work before you even meet them face-to-face.
Deliver excellent customer service. Earning a reputation for reliability as well as excellent work will serve you well. Return phone calls, fix your mistakes, dress professionally, be proactive, and address any concerns before they escalate into bigger problems.
Continually hone your craft. When you think you know it all, look at yourself in the mirror and reevaluate your position. There is always room to learn more no matter what your skill level is. Attend training seminars to master new techniques or to refine your existing skills. Network with others in the industry as well as non-competing trades.
Be honest and straightforward. Tell prospects about all of the wonderful aspects of decorative concrete, but also don’t neglect to tell them about all of the variables. Your honesty will be appreciated.
Be patient! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Becoming proficient at installing decorative concrete does not happen over night.
Decide early on if you have the motivation and desire to build a business the right way — slow and steady. It takes many years of field experience and an aggressive marketing plan to become an overnight success.