Everywhere you turn in the construction industry you hear it: the economy is terrible; this is the deepest recession since the Great Depression; the construction industry has tanked; the level of competition is insane. Since disasters don’t fluctuate with the stock market, a flood of insurance restoration wannabes are shifting from remodeling and new construction and forcing us to fight harder for every single job.
Sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Trouble is, if we buy into all this negativity about the recession, we’ll do nothing for our businesses.
Although our industry may be more crowded than ever, we can still get the major jobs. Restoration contractors who follow the principles of good business, provide a quality service, do the necessary marketing and give their customers added value will succeed, even in this recession. We just have to make sure the right people understand our expertise.
Who are the right people? In addition to the insurance agents and adjusters, they are the property owners, property managers and those subcontractors most likely to be called for emergency repairs.
Too often in our marketing, we cover the insurance agents and adjusters in our area and then stop. But as the old adage goes, if we keep doing the same thing in the same way, we are bound to get the same results. By marketing in our comfort zone, we ignore the most important link in the chain – the property owners. And it is the property owners or property manager – not the adjuster or agent – who ultimately decides which company will get the contract.
Our industry has something to learn from the drug companies in terms of marketing. They often bypass the doctors and target their marketing directly to the people who will be the end users – a strategy that has worked well for them and will work well for our industry.
Selling never stops. Many have learned that lesson the hard way, thinking a job was sold only to discover that a competitor had taken it away. In such cases, we did not have the job sold. We may have had a good conversation with the adjuster and policyholder; maybe we even shook hands and left feeling confident. Then another contractor slipped in and got the signature. That happened because we failed to convince the policyholder of our expertise, the quality of our work and our guarantee of satisfaction.
All these contractors now entering insurance restoration should make our jobs easier. After all, a property owner wants quality work. He or she wants to feel confident that mold or mildew will not return after a water damage, that smoke odor will be gone when repairs are complete, or that any dangerous contaminants will be removed from the house or building. We must let the owner know that we are the experts in dealing with these issues. And the owner must also understand that if he or she chooses an inexperienced contractor and problems arise later, it will be the owner – not the agent or adjuster – who must deal with it.
This kind of market brings out my competitive spirit and gets me excited. With all the firms clamoring for work, I know I’ve got to be at my very best to beat out my competitors.
So my advice is to stop worrying, embrace competition and go to work. Make your area homeowners and property managers understand why your company is the one that can set things right after a disaster. If you successfully market yourself and your company, you will get that signature while all the insurance restoration wannabes just keep knocking on doors.