For homeowners, it can be tough to find a home improvement professional who gets the job done well and on schedule. This can be a great opportunity for your Canadian small business, but only if you can find ways to stand out from your competitors. When you prove you’re both reliable and skilled, it’s a breeze to build a base of happy customers that come back to you again and again.
Be a Great Communicator
Chances are, many of your customers hire you because they don’t have the skills to tackle their own home improvement projects. That knowledge gap can cause confusion, so to prevent misunderstandings, you need to be an excellent communicator. It’s a good idea to provide updates and explain what you’re doing, especially if there’s a delay. Imagine that you’re laying tile in a bathroom and you need to wait until the mortar sets to keep working. The delay is obvious to you, but probably not to your client. All the homeowner sees is that you left at noon and didn’t come back. In situations like this, a quick conversation can head off frustration and keep clients in the loop. It’s also a good way to build customer relationships that bring you repeat business.
Manage Your Supply Chain to Stay on Schedule
When you’re dealing with many different suppliers, a single shipment delay can hold up a project for weeks. Some of your competitors probably brush these delays off as "not our fault," so you can set your small business apart with better supply chain management. If one of your suppliers is consistently late, stop working with them. While many businesses use remote suppliers to save money on materials, it’s also a good idea to build relationships with local companies. In a pinch, they may be able to help you find emergency supplies to keep the project on schedule.
Become a Master of Organization
Have you ever gone to finish a project, only to realize you’re missing one tiny part? If so, it’s time to get organized. Home improvement projects have lots of moving parts, and a great system can help you stay prepared. Checklists can help, especially if your company does similar jobs throughout the year. Each list should include the materials you need and the steps it takes to complete the project. You might have one list for toilet replacement, one for installing a new shower, one for painting a room, and so on. Before each job, run through the list so you don’t have to waste time running to the store mid-job because you forgot to buy a single washer.
Narrow Your Services
As a home improvement professional, you probably have a set of core skills. When you accept projects outside of these skill areas, it naturally creates a delay. If you do it yourself, it takes more time. If you outsource it, you suddenly need to factor in the schedules and costs of subcontractors. One way to rise above the competition is narrowing your services to what you do best. You might be an expert in bathroom remodels, or you could specialize in cabinet installation. A clearly defined focus makes it easier for customers in your target market find you. It also helps you do the best work in the fastest time, which always makes homeowners happy.
The home improvement market is competitive, but it’s also packed with opportunities to stand out from the crowd. By avoiding common industry problems that lead to delays and extra costs, you can become the go-to company in your area.