How to get work in??

(20 Posts)
peedoffbird Wed 03-Apr-13 11:26:51

Dp is self employed and is struggling to get work in. He is property maintenance so painting decorating, does some carpentry work, floor laying, tiling, decking etc. He is good at what he does but it's a real struggle. He advertises on Facebook.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to improve things. Don't have much money for advertising. Thanks

SoHHKB Wed 03-Apr-13 11:28:36

Could he help out on some community volunteering projects? Get his name known and display his skills publicly...

Flyer drop likely streets. List what he can do, offer free quotes and references, respond promptly to enquiries. If someone did that I'd bet their hand off here!

peedoffbird Wed 03-Apr-13 11:38:04

SoH that's a good idea! We have tried flyer drops but no joy. He had references on his Facebook page. Offers good rates too. Free quotes too. He gets enquiries and responds instantly but the often don't translate into work.

It's getting desperate now and we are so broke. I just don't understand it.

peedoffbird Wed 03-Apr-13 11:41:00

The Facebook is a normal page not a business one. Would it be a good idea to use a Facebook business page?

mrscog Wed 03-Apr-13 11:45:14

Do you have local shops where you could put a flyer in the window? Where I live (ruralish) there are a lot of cards for local tradespeople in the window. Also people put adverts in the Parish Magazine.

Also, is it worth putting an advert on Gumtree? (I think they're free/low cost).

Another option could be approaching other trades - builders/gas/electric to see if they could recommend him for a quote on jobs they are working on.

If he quotes quickly then doesn't get the job do you know why - is he being beaten by a few £? Is there something else that could put people off him - I don't like employing people who smoke for example as I get terrible migraines from the slightest whiff of fags.

SoHHKB Wed 03-Apr-13 11:48:33

Glad to help smile

I know there's a community garden project local to me - they'd love a hand building raised beds etc...

<chuffed at being full of ideas this morning grin>

peedoffbird Wed 03-Apr-13 11:49:56

Mrscog some good ideas there. He does smoke but rarely smokes when he is working. I think that the people who reply on Facebook are not really serious about the work. We have tried cards in shop windows and it hasn't worked. There's not much money around at the moment either.

peedoffbird Wed 03-Apr-13 11:51:37

SoH made chuckle! I will see what's around. Any more bright ideas!?

TheFallenNinja Wed 03-Apr-13 12:25:40

Google local will make him show up
On the local services map, it's free also.

TheFallenNinja Wed 03-Apr-13 12:26:41

What's his FB page like? Is it a mix of personal and business?

DolomitesDonkey Wed 03-Apr-13 15:15:54

Facebook "personal" page is not the same as Facebook "business".

If he gets enquiries and does quotes but they don't translate to work, then there is something going wrong at the visit/quote stage. Either, the prices are too high (which you say they are not) OR he is targetting the wrong market and they have unreasonable expectations of what a decent days' labour is.

You say his prices are good, but perhaps the people who make the enquiries are expecting a weeks worth of work for £50 ... honestly. dp gets this a lot when its 'strangers' who make the enquiry.

Sometimes when work is slack for him I go through his contacts book, ring up all his previous customer and say something along the lines of 'he just had a bigger job put back for a few weeks so if you have any smaller jobs want doing, he is available immediately for the next 3 weeks' (because of course you would never ring them up and say he's got no work, would you wink). We find then he usually gets a few of them saying 'oh now you come to mention it, I've been meaning to ring him about xyx for a while, but I assumed he'd be busy.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 03-Apr-13 16:06:18

Lots of suggestions already on here. But I'd add:

- Does he follow up? I recently gained 3 quotes re fitted wardrobes and only 1 followed up. We have changed our plans, but sometimes people need a prompt. It is also an opp to gain feedback.

- Where does he normally get his customers from? Ideally he needs a spreadsheet to keep a track. It can be easy to think "Oh I get my business from x" but actually it is from y. If he doesn't know, he needs to get in the habit of asking. This won't help him immediately but good to know for the future/influence how to market in the future.

- Does he have a website? I would always start on the web when looking for a local supplier. Frankly I am put off if a tradesperson doesn't have a site. It can be supplemented by a Yell and Gumtree listing, but essentially I want to see that you are an established business. You could in theory do a couple of page site for free yourselves. He could collect testimonials for the site too once he is finished with a job.

- Like Flibbertyjibbet suggests contact previous customers. They already know him. If he doesn't keep good records of who they are, again can he start. Ideally you want to communicate with them once a quarter with a special offer/reminder that he is still around etc. The timing could be right and generate business.

- This might not be his cuppa (making assumptions here) but some of the most successful people I have seen at local networking meetings have been tradespeople. Your service is very obvious and everybody knows somebody that needs something doing. There are loads of local networking groups out there BNI, FSB, 4Networking. Search business networking + your area and you'll see lots of groups come up.

I saw a female gardener (at a women's only group) pick up loads of appointments -including me! - following her 1 minute pitch. There is generally a charge for attending, c£20 but you don't have to join, just getting in front of people once might be enough.

- Could he approach commercial orgs, ie Care Homes, Serviced Offices? I am guessing a lot might already have suppliers but they might be willing/looking to change?

- A bit along the lines of SoHHKB suggestions but could he offer to do a short 'DIY essentials' or '5 tips for wallpapering' etc talk at various groups meetings? Eg WI, NCT, University of the 3rd Age, School PTA? He'd be giving away a little knowledge in return for the opportunity to stand in front of a group of potential customers. Obviously he doesn't want people to do DIY (!) but giving away content is a key marketing strategy these days etc.

- Can he leave his card/develop relationships with local DIY shop owners /interiors shops/Estate Agents? They could be in a position to refer.

Hope this is of some help.

Good luck.

peedoffbird Wed 03-Apr-13 16:15:18

Wow thanks Margo and Flibberty! Some great ideas.

His Facebook does have some personal stuff on it. It's getting a bit messy tbh. I will pass these tips on.

more tips welcome. Thanks everyone x

peedoffbird Tue 09-Apr-13 14:33:25

Does anyone else have any ideas ay all? Thanks

GettingGoing Wed 10-Apr-13 00:16:42

Offer half a day's free work as a raffle prize at a local affluent school?

Pairing with Estate Agents on some sort of commission basis so that he is recommended to people buying properties that need work on them (agents to get a cut too)?

peedoffbird Wed 10-Apr-13 18:32:36

GettingGoing those are both really good ideas - thank you.

GettingGoing Wed 10-Apr-13 18:36:24

I meant to say that our school sends out lists of raffle donations which raises profiles of local businesses - offering it as part of a silent auction would be good too.

emma123456 Sun 14-Apr-13 15:57:40

Have a think about the first impression people might have of him. Does look presentable and trustworthy when he turns up for quotes. Is he on time? Is his van in reasonable condition? Does he communicate well with people? Does he smile, look people in the eye?

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