Finding a niche

Editor's Letter

During a recent trip to Florida I visited with a contractor who focuses on repair of concrete balconies on mid-sized commercial structures, i.e., condos and office buildings. In addition to repair, the contractor also performs waterproofing and coatings, such as painting, stucco and decorative concrete finishes.

Two reasons stood out to me as to why this contractor's business is profitable and successful. First of all, in offering waterproofing and finishing in addition to repair, the contractor can offer his customers a complete package. This is beneficial to the customer, who only has to worry about one contractor instead of three. It's also beneficial to the contractor, who gains three jobs at one site.

When contractors secure multiple services on a jobsite, they make their lives easier and businesses more profitable. They save time and money on traveling between jobs and scheduling crews, and increase their good reputation while their happy customers spread the word about the ease of the one-stop-shopping experience the contractors supplied them. (For more on gaining multiple services on the jobsite see "Waterproofing Basics" on p. 28 of this issue.)

Secondly, the contractor identified a niche in his market and focused on it. While driving through the beach communities along the eastern Florida coastline, I noticed the seemingly endless number of balconies overlooking the ocean. The salt air and humidity in Florida combine to wreak havoc on aging concrete and rebar. The contractor saw this unique situation and tailored his company to solve that problem. He wouldn't be able to support a litter of kittens with his balcony business in Wisconsin, let alone his 50 employees, but in Florida it works.

Finding a niche has also allowed him to become an expert in balcony repair. When contractors focus on a service, the quality of their work increases, along with proficiency and profitability.

Have you found your niche? Have you identified that unique service clients need in your market? If you're having difficultly finding a focus to your business, step back and look at the opportunities unique to your area. Consider services you enjoy performing. Find something no other contractor in your area is doing. Finding your niche will offer you the opportunity to tailor your business and become more successful.