We are all fortunate to live in the United States. We are doubly fortunate to work in the plumbing industry, which is an essential business with perpetual demand. Because of where we live and what we do, we have an obligation to give back to our communities. Here are 11 ways we can.
1. Affinity Marketing
Affinity marketing is leveraging people’s affinity for an organization or cause. When they do business with you, you support the organization in question. For example, you might donate $10 for every service call to an animal shelter if the customer presents you with a card you provide to the animal shelter to distribute to its patrons. In essence, the animal shelter is marketing for you and you are donating the cost of marketing to the shelter.
It is okay to create win/win situations where your business grows through charitable acts. After all, if you are not profitable, you cannot support anyone.
Consider affinity marketing for churches, church choirs, scout troops, high school boosters for sports and band, homeowners associations, parent teacher associations, and so on. Just about any charitable organization with following is a candidate. For patrons, this is an easy way to support their charity. If they need plumbing, they have to buy it somewhere. Why not from the company that supports their charity?
2. Pink Trucks
A spin on affinity marketing was created by Ben Stark, a Texas contractor. Ben wrapped a truck in pink with a Susan G. Komen Foundation logo. He gave 2% of the profits from the pink truck to the Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. This was wildly successful. After Ben shared it with the Service Roundtable, contractors across the country began picking up on the idea.
3. Food Drive
Another variation on affinity marketing is food drives. Offer $1 off of an invoice, up to $5 for each food can or packaged dry good a customer provides. When you collect enough, take the food to a local food bank. Some contractors even pick up food from people who do not need service and give them a gift certificate with the company for future use.
Most communities have some kind of adopt-a-spot program where you can police a stretch of road, picking up trash once a month. You will get signage acknowledging your company’s efforts. Normally, this type of activity takes about a half hour if several people are involved. Outfit everyone in neon safety vests with your company logo on the back.
5. Service Club
Most contractors eat breakfast and lunch. Why eat alone? Join a service club like Rotary, Lion’s, Optimist, Kiwanis, or Civitan and eat with community leaders and centers of influence one day a week. Not only do these clubs provide great networking, but they are excellent vehicles to give back to your community.
6. Free Service
Empower your plumbers to give away a service call from time to time if the situation warrants. For example, Utah contractor, Angie Snow told a group of contractors at the Service Roundtable how one of her people made a service call at the home of an active duty military family with the husband overseas and the wife clearly struggling with the bills, so he didn’t charge her. Angie backed him 100%.
When the story got around, it led to more business. There is a law of equilibrium in the world. You get what you give.
7. Roadside Assistance
Oklahoma contractor, Chris Hunter instructs his people to stop whenever they see a motorist on the side of the road needing assistance. They will offer jumps, change tires, and generally try to help. More than once this has led directly to social media posts by the motorists or others just driving by. You cannot buy public relations like this. It all comes from simply helping people.
8. Build the Profession
Work with your local trade association to bring contractors and wholesalers together a couple of times a year to install free water heaters for indigent homeowners. See if the wholesaler or a manufacturer will donate material. This helps the image and attractiveness of the trade.
9. Trade School Scholarship
Consider working with the local high schools to offer a scholarship to a local trade school. You do not need to foot the entire bill for the school. Even a thousand dollars is appreciated and might be the difference needed to add another badly needed tradesman to the world. Plus, your scholarship recipient might just become your tradesman down the road.
10. Joseph Groh Foundation
We are part of multiple communities. We have our national and local communities. We have communities within our communities. We also have our profession. One of the great charities is the Joseph Groh Foundation, which helps people from the service trades who have suffered life altering events. Support the Groh Foundation as a way of giving back to the trade.
Finally, mentor other contractors. Be open. Help them. Even help competitors. There is plenty of business for all of us and if you do your job right, no one will be able to take your customers from you. That will only happen if you screw up and lose them. So help a brother/sister contractor.
Get involved in your local trade association. It’s a great way to give back to the profession. Be open to the other contractors in your area. Don’t worry about secrets. There are no secrets in this business. There is only execution.
If you do not want to mentor a local contractor, get involved in a national organization like the Service Roundtable. You will find plenty of contractors there who are looking for help and even more who are willing to help.
For information on the Joseph Groh Foundation, visit www.JosephGrohFoundation.org. To learn more about the Service Roundtable, visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com or call 877/262-3341 and ask for a Success Consultant.