Marketing resolutions for 2015

Feb. 6, 2015
Some of the marketing tips for contractors to implement include: Resolve to get out of the truck. Resolve to learn your numbers.  Resolve to network in your community. Resolve to get involved with an industry group.    

With the best looking economy since the downturn, 2015 is shaping up to be a good year. Here’s how you can make it a great one.

Photo: iStock/Thinkstock. Networking is key to growing the business.

1. Resolve to get out of the truck: If you remain in the truck, you limit yourself to a mechanic’s wage. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if it’s what you want, do yourself and your family a favor by working for someone else. A mechanic doesn’t make enough to endure the liability, hassles, paperwork and hours of business ownership. So get out of the truck and grow your business.

2. Resolve to learn your numbers: You should know your way around a balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, budget and cash flow budget. Operating a business without a good understanding of your numbers is like trying to find an address in an unfamiliar city without a map, GPS or even street signs. If that’s you, correct it. Correct it As soon as possible. 

Call Mike Bohinc at Keeping Score, Mike is a CPA who grew up in a plumbing company. He knows the numbers and he knows the business. He can help you analyze your numbers and can work with your bookkeeper (or even your CPA) to make sure the statements are prepared the right way for the plumbing business. Not every CPA understands service businesses well enough to assemble good financial statements for one. 

Financial statements are not the only numbers you need. You should be aware of key business ratios and industry metrics. These are like the gauges and warning lights in your truck. The let you know if things are about to spin out of control or break down.

3. Resolve to network in your community: Believe it or not, a lot of people in your community would call a plumber tomorrow if they only knew who to call. They don’t even know someone who knows who to call. This is why you network. 

The average Facebook user over the age of 35 has 182 friends on the social networking site. Join a service club (e.g., Rotary, Lion’s, Kiwanis, Optimists, etc.) with 65 members and you will be one step away from 11,830 people if each has 182 people in their personal network. Get involved with the chamber of commerce, a pure networking or lead generation group, the high school boosters, and more. 

4. Resolve to get involved with an industry group: If you don’t know where to get industry metrics, join an industry group. Why reinvent the wheel? Why go it alone? Benefit from the experience of other contractors so you can avoid their mistakes. In addition to the PHCC, there’s also the Service Roundtable, QSC, PSI, Nexstar, and the Service Nation Alliance. 

5. Resolve to market: Unless you actively market your business, you are winking in the dark.  You may know what you can do, but no one else does. Lay out a full year calendar and make sure you have at least one marketing initiative planned for every week of the year. 

Make sure your website communicates the message you want and is optimized for search engines. Complete Google’s profile for your business and encourage customers to review you. Start blogging and spreading the blog posts through social media. Collect customer email addresses and send them useful information or discounts about once per month.

Identify prime neighborhoods based on past business and began targeted direct mail campaigns to the neighborhoods. Prepare door hangers to cloverleaf around houses where you conduct service calls. “Rent” yards by paying customers $10 (i.e., a discount) to allow you to place a small yard sign in their yard for a month, following a service call.

Review your existing service agreement and update it if necessary. If you lack a service agreement, create one. The Service Roundtable has ready-to-use service agreement templates that can save you time. Make sure your service agreement adds value to the homeowner.

Check the appearance of your service personnel. Is everyone in uniform (i.e., no jeans), neat, clean, groomed, and professional looking? Replace vendor gimmie caps with company apparel. 

Review your truck ID program. Make sure you follow good branding and graphic design guidelines. If not, work with a wrap vendor to come up with a new, bold appearance.

6. Resolve to enhance your offering: Find one new product to add to your portfolio and promote over the coming year. Ideally, you will pick something that is discretionary, that people will want to buy whether an existing product is broken or not. Some examples include solar water heating systems while the federal tax credit remains, tankless water heaters, rainwater collection and irrigation, water alarms, RO systems, handicap/elderly products like walk in baths, grab bars, elevated toilets, and so on.

7. Resolve to leave the industry better than you found it: When you become successful, you have a responsibility and an obligation to give back. Almost certainly someone helped you.  You should help others. Give back in your community and industry. Mentor other contractors. Help people to learn from your experiences.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, contracting’s largest business alliance. For information on the Service Roundtable and Service Nation Alliance, call 877.262.3341.  You can join the Service Roundtable for just $50 per month at Be sure to check out the “free stuff” for a copy of the truck design guidelines, an oldest appliance (e.g., water heater) contest, and other useful material.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization.

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