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Old 06-04-2019, 06:37 AM   #1
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Hi guys after 12 years in business and finally being able to hire another decent employee. (So it's me a Journeyman and a helper). I am finding that work is not flowing in as it once was, and a few decent projects fell through. I have never advertised before other than lettered vans, signs at the little league field ,etc. A few of my core contractors have either retired, passed away or are doing decks, siding, roofing etc. and don't have work for us. What would you guys say is the best and fastest way to increase work load? We are fairly rural and not close to any major cities so mostly residential work. Any advice is appreciated, I would hate to have to let someone go just to need them again in a month or so.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:55 AM   #2
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I think it is part of the cycle of life. When I started all the old timers were angry because I had so much work and they were not so busy. Their builders had retired and the young guys wanted to work with younger guys.

Now my guys are retiring and I feel a bit of what those old timers were feeling. All our builders are retiring however in one case the son is taking over. We do not advertise and are able to keep going but I can see issues down the road. My guys are young and one of them will take over the show but he is nervous because of the builders aging out.

Not sure there is a good answer for you. I will keep going as long as I can and then retire if I have to.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:05 AM   #3
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Advertise.

They have the internet even out in the sticks.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:31 AM   #4
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Thanks Dennis, I have at least 25 years until retirement.Glad to hear that it's not an isolated problem. Hackwork do you have issues with tire kickers and wasted estimating time from advertising?
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:40 AM   #5
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Hackwork do you have issues with tire kickers and wasted estimating time from advertising?
Of course, everyone does. But advertising is a necessary part of business.

Up until now you were one of the lucky few who didn't have to advertise, so you are under the impression that it is the norm. But it is not.

Or maybe you weren't lucky, maybe we can look at it as you were tanking your company. Maybe for the last 12 years in business you were doing it wrong. If you had been advertising you might have 5 trucks on the road right now bringing in a couple mil in revenue.

Now that is just conjecture in this little thought exercise, but it's something to think about.

As far as tire kickers and wasted time estimating, there are ways to limit that from happening (qualifying). And when it does happen, you have the costs covered in the work that you do get.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:02 AM   #6
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I'm with Hack. If you don't have a website, get one.

If I'm in Anytown and I need a plumber, I go on Google and type in "Plumbers in Anytown" and a map pops up. I look for people nearby whom I know and if I don't know any of them I start with the closest. Nobody wants to pay someone to travel from 3 towns away. For any service trade, that Google map is magic!
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:12 AM   #7
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I'm with Hack. If you don't have a website, get one.

If I'm in Anytown and I need a plumber, I go on Google and type in "Plumbers in Anytown" and a map pops up. I look for people nearby whom I know and if I don't know any of them I start with the closest. Nobody wants to pay someone to travel from 3 towns away. For any service trade, that Google map is magic!
While I am sure there are many people who feel like this, I don't believe that it is as important as the other factors.

The main factors are A)where you come up in the results and B)your reviews (which Google shows in multiple ways).

I often get people from towns outside of my service area call me for work. When I tell them that their town is outside of my service area, they will often say "But its only a few minutes further than Blanktown which you work in. I saw your reviews and was hoping to have you come out" or something to the effect.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:37 AM   #8
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Reading the OP it sounds to me like @sparky80 is mainly a subcontractor, depending on contractors for work.
@HackWork gets his work directly from homeowners and has explained many times how he has done very well with SEO.

If you use @HackWork's methods, and they work in your market, you'll still have some adjustments to make, it's a much much different business.

I am guessing the OP's contractor's customers were mainly residential. That's significant because residential customers don't do much repeat business compared to commercial. Commercial customers are more of a long term stream of work.

If did any commercial work, and the contractor that brought you to those customers are no longer servicing them, approach them directly and let them know you're ready willing and able to pick up their service work, remodeling, etc. and that having built the system you can work on it better and cheaper than the competition even if their base rates are lower.

I always figure that most of the journeymen working for contractors do some side work (maybe a lot) and think a little about starting their own business (maybe a lot). If you don't already do this, see if your journeyman can bring in some business, offer a finder's fee or commission.

This will seem ass backwards but I have gotten some customers from my subcontractors. If they like your work and aren't already partnered with an electrician, they may bring you some work. For example if you have a drywaller that patches for you, he may reciprocate by bringing you in to some of their jobs. Again that's if they aren't already working with someone for electrical - otherwise this could obviously backfire.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:38 AM   #9
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I get you Hack. Those reviews are gold (assuming they're positive). But if you're starting out with no website and you want a website, you have to start with zero reviews. If you get on Google Maps, there's an opportunity for people to leave reviews.

Small town residential, I'd suggest something along the lines of "family owned and operated 30 years in (name of)town", etc...
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:51 AM   #10
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I get you Hack. Those reviews are gold (assuming they're positive). But if you're starting out with no website and you want a website, you have to start with zero reviews. If you get on Google Maps, there's an opportunity for people to leave reviews.

Small town residential, I'd suggest something along the lines of "family owned and operated 30 years in (name of)town", etc...
I agree with what you’re saying, I just don’t want him to think that proximity is that important, I want him to also advertise to the further away customers if he’s willing to make the drive. He can get those customers just as easily.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:25 AM   #11
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One really good way to attract customer's that I have always found useful is to make and post electrical video's of competitions between using rotozip's and hack saws to cut thru mc cables. Usually always no problem by a wide margin the rotozip wins easy and then potential customers call and ring my phone off the hook..................
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Old Yesterday, 05:16 AM   #12
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Would you guys recommend a local newspaper with online advertising or a larger online advertiser such as DexYP? I am assuming that I would list our services and a small company logo in the ad? Any keywords that are necessary? Thanks in advance.
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Old Yesterday, 06:44 AM   #13
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Would you guys recommend a local newspaper with online advertising or a larger online advertiser such as DexYP? I am assuming that I would list our services and a small company logo in the ad? Any keywords that are necessary? Thanks in advance.
First, what are you looking to do? Residential renovations and new construction working for a GC/builder? If so, then your best bet is to go out and find them directly. You can start by looking them up online and calling. Then by going out and introducing yourself, either at their office if they have one or just on any random jobsite you see them at.

Or do you want to work for the homeowner directly? For that you need a good online presence. Website with decent SEO, listing across Google properties, and your company listed on every directory you can find. The SEO will cost you money, lot's of it. But if done right you will get a great return on your investment.

This is exactly where small contractors often falter. Things get slow, they don't have extra money so they don't want to spend on advertising that they never needed before and they see other contractors not using, then things get slower and they are stuck in the vicious cycle.
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Old Yesterday, 09:54 PM   #14
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Would you guys recommend a local newspaper with online advertising or a larger online advertiser such as DexYP? I am assuming that I would list our services and a small company logo in the ad? Any keywords that are necessary? Thanks in advance.
Personally, I have better luck with local neighborhood papers, with online ads. The keywords I've used are "outlets, switches, circuit breakers, electric, and panel".

It generates lots of older customers, who need repairs and upgrades. Usually, smaller jobs (but I like that!).
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Old Today, 05:29 AM   #15
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Personally, I have better luck with local neighborhood papers, with online ads.
This is often the case, people see this outcome, and they get turned off to online advertising. But the problem is that it isn't a fair comparison.

Putting ads in local papers is pretty straight forward, the only variable is the placement and the art to draw people's eyes to it.

Advertising online is a totally different animal. If you don't do it correctly then no one might see your advertisements. Or, just as bad, the wrong people might see it. Paying for advertisements for electrical work sucks if only people looking to buy electrical appliances see it. Or only people outside your service area.

Often the "professional" SEO or SEM firm you are working with is a scam company. What they do might give you an initial bump, but it ends up hurting your online presence in the long run.

Good online advertising costs money, there is no cheap way to do it right. It's not like placing small adds in which you can do it on a low budget and then ramp it up slowly. For good SEO work to be done you will have to pay a minimum that is more than many people want to pay. But you will get a return in your investment.
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