In this economy, many contractors are becoming desperate, that is…if they are still in business. Instead of thinking smart about their business, they are doing the first thing that comes to their mind: lowering their price. Who can blame them? I’ve been there plenty of times myself. You go into a sales situation, bond and rapport with a homeowner, discuss their project and then get down to the price. All of a sudden, your not their friend anymore. They say, “Oh wow…that is way too much. The “other guy” will do it for half!” I’d sure like to meet the “other guy” someday. I’ve heard about him, and he does not have a good reputation. So, what’s a contractor to do when he hears those words? Cut his price or create something new and different for his clients?
My suggestion would be to not cheapen your brand but provide a solution to your potential clients that is new, different and might cost less. So for example, instead of trying to sell a complete exterior paint job or interior renovation, try giving the prospect something tangible for less. I recently talked to a painter who created a “curbside special” package and sold it for a flat price. He told homeowners that they could freshen up their fascia, shutters and entry wood trim for less than a thousand dollars. The painting owner came up with this idea for a few communities with similar looking homes. He knew he would not loose money as well. The benefit to the homeowner was it would tie them over for the next few years until they were ready for a complete paint job. Another example is my dad, Mike Chism, created a Painter for a Day during the mid and late 1990s to offer small painting projects to his clients. During this slowing economy, his Painter For a Day concept has worked quite well. In fact, dozens of other painters are using a similar program to promote their services. A Painter for a Day really is a great way for clients to sample one’s services before committing to a larger project. My dad tried hard not to discount the work as well, because the value to the client was obvious: he did small jobs. Many times, customers began to add more than just one day of painting. He even had a customer hire his company to paint the entire inside of the house, which started with a Painter for a Day daily rate. It was tangible…and easy for customers to swallow.
Creating value and new programs for your customers is far better than just lowering your price. Now is the time to really get your creative juice going and try different ways to connect with homeowners. If you don’t know what to do, ask them. Call up your existing clients and talk to them about some of your ideas of marketing your business.