Innovative efforts are redefining market boundaries for pavement contractors.
Web-based Marketing Through NPCA
Contractors looking to broaden their reach and reputation can join the National Pavement Contractors Association (NPCA), an Internet-based organization that spends to be listed high on Internet search engines and other advertising to property managers and who’s primary mission is to help connect consumers with quality contractors while improving the reputation and standards of the paving and pavement maintenance industry.
Once a contractor becomes a member (annual dues range from $195 to $265 per company) the company is listed in the NPCA database by company name, services, and zip code. Any property manager or pavement owner searching the web for contractors to bid work (or even for basic information about pavement maintenance) is likely to encounter the NPCA in Google and other search engines. (Through last November NPCA recorded 6,000 searches of its site in 2005.) A property manager who visits the site types in the zip code of the job property and the services needed. Every NPCA member to 200 miles away is displayed (listed nearest to farthest), along with brief descriptions of the contractor and a direct link to the contractor’s website and e-mail address. NPCA receives no job or lead fee from the contractor or the customer; the customer deals only with the contractors he chooses to contact.
“The NPCA is not involved in the business transaction, so contractors are still building their all-important personal company recognition, personal brand recognition, and you’re still developing that direct relationship,” says Don Turner, founder of NPCA. “And the customer has a greater level of comfort knowing he is hiring a pre-qualified, quality-oriented contractor associated with NPCA.”
NPCA has members in 46 states but is underrepresented in certain areas, so discounts are offered in those areas. “One of the keys to success of NPCA is to have enough members throughout the country so that when a customer visits the site and enters a zip code, we have a member or two he can contact to get a job done.” Members must meet certain standards including insurance and licensing (where required), and guaranteeing work. “Our most successful members put the logo on their marketing materials, including their bids, and they refer prospects to the website, which gives the customers a great added sense of security,” Turner says. In 2005 four members had more than 300 searches and many more had more than 200.
Turner says other benefits include a members-only forum where contractors can get free private consulting assistance from other contractors, much like the Roundtables at National Pavement Expo. NPCA has also been instrumental in helping the Pavement Maintenance Insurance Agency define and extend its Clean Streets Program to striping and sealcoating contractors. “We can be a resource for the contractor and that’s something that can be very valuable,” Turner says.