So You Want to Start a Building Business?
Updated: Apr 4
How much experience is enough? How do you know you are ready to launch your own enterprise? How do you even start?
Sometimes, well, all the time, people jump into business before they truly are ready to run their own company.
Both of us did that once. Did you?
Author Michael Gerber of "The E-Myth" calls this an "Entrepreneurial Seizure." That is one of the many books we've read to build our knowledge of running a small business. What he meant was, technically, you're good at flooring, dry wall, roofing, what have you. All of your trade skills are top notch. You work for a guy who never shows up, always messes up the project time line, treats his customers like shit and let's that shit run down hill to you when things blow up. You got tired of that. You convinced yourself "I can do this better!" and you started your company.
Congrats! Your fearlessness is to be applauded. And you were right, you are good at finish work, foundations, and windows. So good, in fact, that your initial clients rave about your work quality.
And that's where the issues crop up. You thought running a construction business meant you needed to be a good builder. Well, you do. But you also have to recognize that the business behind the build needs to be built also. We call that your 'back stage' - you know? The folks answering phones, estimating, dealing with insurance, payroll, scheduling, change orders, licenses, taxes, marketing, sales, invoices, website, email, etc. That's you? Well, if that is you, who is building?
Over the next few weeks, we're gong to post many chapters of our upcoming book here. Each chapter takes on the issues you face a a business owner. All of our techniques are easy and simple to understand. Best of all, only 1 out of 100 GC's that read them will actually consistently put them into practice. That's right. We've shared this program with 100's of business owners. The ones who act on it thank us for their free time and extra profits. We're always so surprised that so many see our Better Way but choose not to follow it.
While the techniques are simple and easy the hard part is actually doing the work. We will share our process here and in our book. Are you ready to start?
Here's our first tip for a Better Way to run your company...when is the last time anyone from your company called a previous build client? Our survey recent survey tells us none of you have. Not a single one of ya. So, go on, we dare you, call someone. It's a simple call. "Hi Mary, it's Frank! I'm just calling to say hello and make sure the work we did for you is still making you happy?"
Don't linger on the call. Ten minutes MAX.
If they say yes, here's your answer "That makes me happy! So glad to hear it. If you or one of your neighbors ever needs anything built, I hope you'll let us know. Have a great day!"
If they say no, don't hang up! Here's your answer "Well, I'm certainly sorry about that. Tell me more. Is there anything you can think of that we could have done differently. Would you like us to have a look at it and see if it can be fixed/repaired/changed?" As long as the change is minor, offer to do it for free and then GO DO IT!
Both answers from Mary are an opportunity. And when handled, and when performed with our other techniques, this phone call will produce referrals.
Why does this work? One, no other contractor ever calls their old clients. So, by virtue of the industry, you look amazingly better than your peers. Just by making a 5 minute call. Two, you don't know who Mary knows. But Mary is certain to share this call with her friends and her neighbors. Especially if one of them asks for a good builder.