10 Things Every Owner of a Home Improvement Start-Up Should Know

Ten business lessons for early stage home design and construction firms.

Ten Essential Business Tips For Home Improvement Professionals

The home improvement industry offers business owners a unique opportunity to help homeowners create their vision of their dream home. When it comes to learning about home remodeling or design, nothing beats real-world experience on the job site and the time spent working with clients. 

While the first few years in the business can be challenging, they're also full of learning opportunities that can help you to create a solid foundation for a future of success! Here are ten tips for home improvement professionals that can help you to build your career.

1. Follow The Golden Rule

Putting yourself in your client's shoes can really help to open your eyes to the value of excellent customer service. Taking a view of your interactions from the homeowners perspective can give you guidance into how to treat your customers. 

Basically, follow the golden rule and treat them the way you'd want to be treated. Think about first impressions. What would you like to experience and hear from your contractor if you were in their position? Building your business on integrity and honesty are the keys to a long successful career. If you don't, you're sure to fail! Show your customers that you are working for them, that you are their advocate and not just in it for your own bottom line.

2. Build A Network of Clients... and Professionals!

Of course, happy clients are essential to your business, but also developing a network of like-minded professionals can boost your business through referrals and create a community to share advice and best practices.

Connecting with other home improvement professionals can build your business through referrals. Socializing with others in your industry can help you to build a community of professionals that you can tap when you need quality subcontractors.

3. Man Up and Take Responsibility

We all make mistakes. It's how you handle them that reflects your true character as a business professional. Taking responsibility for your errors and resolving any problems can show clients that you care about them are honest and care about the final result and their satisfaction above all else. This can go a long way. Building your business on a foundation of integrity by taking responsibility can lead to success.

4. Get Proper Coverage

Owning and operating a business comes with risks, so make sure all of your insurance is in place in case any problems ever arise on or off the job site. A single loss can end your business if you don't have proper insurance coverage. Make sure you work with a qualified insurance agent so you will know the types of coverage you'll need. 

5. Know What You're Worth

Understanding the real value of what you do and having the confidence to address the subject of money with clients will help you to get paid fairly for the service you provide and will keep your business moving in the right direction. Do your market research when starting any home improvement business. Speak with others in your industry and put together a business plan. Make sure you understand the implications for adding services. For example, if you are a roofing contractor and want to include gutter cleaning or chimney cleaning, how will that affect your insurance coverage, for instance, workman's comp. This is the type of thing you need to be aware of and consider when building your pricing strategies.

6. Listen To What Your Clients Have to Say

Listening to what your clients have to say can give you direction for the future growth of your business. Your clients can give you ideas for ways you can grow your business. Just be prepared to be flexible. For example, if you specialize in kitchen remodeling, and your clients tell you about how several of their friends are preparing to add an in-law housing addition to their homes, by expanding your services to include bathrooms, you can begin to bid on these expanded jobs and increase your income potential.

7. Always Strive to Deliver Excellence!

Striving for and providing excellence will establish you as a standout professional that provides the highest levels of quality workmanship and customer service. Don't just do the job, be the best in your category. We live in a world of copycat companies. Striving to provide excellence can separate your business from your competitors. Provide an excellent product, the highest-quality craftsmanship, and excellent customer service, and you'll thrive in your market.

8. Don't Be Afraid To Change Course

The business you set out to build and the business you end up building may be two different things. As you grow to understand your market, keeping an open mind and taking a flexible approach can help you to succeed in the long run. You may start your home improvement business only to find that there is a considerable need for design services in your market. Taking courses, or hiring a design team can help you to grow your business in a different direction. The lesson is, be prepared to make adjustments, Recognize where there are opportunities in your market and then pursue them. Be patient and be open as things can take time to develop.

9. Market Yourself, and Market Your Business

Marketing yourself and your business is crucial to your success. It's important to let potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you for their next home improvement project. Work to build an online presence for your business, it will pay dividends when it comes to attracting new clients.

Take advantage of downtime between projects to work on your marketing. Update your website, write blogs, develop email marketing campaigns and engage on social media. Online marketing today plays a vital role in your business development. Create portfolio pages with project details like the type of tile being installed, or a floor plan, and make sure to include plenty of high-quality photography. Writing blog articles on home design trends and adding photos from your last project is an excellent way of attracting new business. Typically, once you start taking your marketing seriously, it's inevitable that your phone will begin to ring!

10. Build A Quality Team

Your team is a reflection of your business, so make sure that any subcontractors you hire are quality professionals whose work you respect and will contribute to your client's overall project experience.

Spend the time researching and the money to hire the best, licensed contractors you can. Licensed professionals will have many years of experience, passed their qualifying exams, and is registered with the state, bonded and insured. True professionals will have the end goal in mind and will work to earn your praise and your client's respect.

Every day in the home improvement business is filled with opportunity. The opportunity to learn and grow your business, the opportunity to positively impact someone's life in your community and the chance to become better at your craft. Strive for excellence with every job, treat your clients fairly and with respect, and build a team of qualified professionals and you're sure to be in business for many years into the future!

Additional Information on Marketing Your Home Improvement Business

About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

Means-of-Production builds Squarespace websites and and content marketing plans for home improvement professionals. Our services are used by architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. We can help your site get found online, educate prospects, and position your firm as the go-to experts.