Tired of searching for general contracting advice, only to find basic tips that don’t really apply to you?
We hear you. That’s why we hunted down the best contractor marketing tips for general contractors like you. It’s pretty obvious I’m not a general contractor, BUT I do know marketing — so I searched through contracting forums, Reddit, Quora, and other sites to make sure I’m finding the best advice for you guys.
Whether you’re just starting your general contracting business or need some new customers, take a look at the contractor marketing tips I found that are designed for general contractors only.
If you don’t have a website for your general contracting business, I have one question for you: What are you waiting for?
I could show you lots of info on how having a website increases your business’s visibility, brings more customers to your door, and decreases the time you’ll spend looking for work. But I think you probably already know all of this, but you just haven’t found the time or the right person to help you build your site.
I’m here to help. Here are a few quick tips that can help you get an online presence ASAP:
Check out our article on how to build a small business website.
Set up a Facebook account for your business, if you don’t already have one.
Find a local website designer or check on Guru.com or Upwork.com to find someone to build your website; this tip is ideal if you have no time but are willing to spend a little money on creating your site.
If you haven’t been paying attention to your website lately, you’re probably missing out on a few contractor marketing techniques that can help you grab more local attention, like:
Including the names of the locations you serve. Make sure you include on your website the areas you serve and try to sprinkle these locations around your site. Doing this will help your website become more competitive when customers are doing online searches like “general contractor in X city.”
Making your website mobile-friendly. Most of your customers are searching for you with their phones. Making your website mobile-friendly helps ensure you’re providing a good experience for these folks. You can use Google’s free tool to see if your website is already mobile-friendly or if you need to make some improvements.
Adding your social profiles. Do you link to your social pages on your business website? If you don’t, you’re missing out on a technique that increases the likelihood that local customers can find you. Add links to your Facebook page, Twitter, and any other social channels that feature your business.
Ever notice when you search for a business or restaurant online, Google usually serves up a map with a list of a few places for you to scroll through?
That happens because those businesses have a Google Business page. This free page allows you to show up in Google searches and even helps you land on the map if people are searching for general contractors in a specific area.
In other words, you definitely want it — so here’s how to claim it:
Claim your Google Business page.
Add your business hours, location, and phone number.
Add the link to your website.
Provide photos of your previous work (more on this in a bit).
Once you’ve set up your Google Business page, get comfortable asking happy customers for online reviews. Businesses with a lot of four- and five-star reviews typically appear higher on Google search results, and the higher you are, the more customers you’ll garner.
Is there a new area in your neighborhood that’s building up? Have you noticed that more people are moving to your local area? If that’s the case, start targeting those areas, because those are the people who are probably in need of a general contractor.
Here are a few ways to do that:
Leave your business card in the mailboxes of new developments.
Offer incentives to brand-new customers, like 10% off your contracting services.
Network with local real estate agents; see if those agents would be willing to recommend your services to people who may be looking to renovate their homes.
New real estate developments offer fantastic opportunities to find new customers, but you may need to get creative with how you reach out to them.
If your business isn’t on Facebook, take a few minutes today to set up your page using Facebook’s Business page tool. Once you’ve added your name, location, and other business info, check out our other articles on how to turn your social media into a customer-generating machine.
Here’s how to use Facebook advertising to get in front of more customers.
Here’s how to create better content for your Facebook business page.
Here’s how to create Facebook audiences to get your business in front of the right customers.
Maybe you’re really good at remodeling bathrooms. Or maybe you just have a knack for giving advice to other general contractors. Either way, if you have a specific skill or niche, consider putting it on YouTube so everyone — including your customers — can see it.
Here’s how videos can help you get customers: When you post videos to YouTube under your business name, they’re likely to show up on Google when people search for you. Demonstrating that you have authority in your field can be appealing for customers who prefer video content over websites or social media.
It’s just one more technique that can really push you over the edge of your competitors’ sites.
Now we don’t mean telling the world you’re trustworthy (that’s a great way to achieve the opposite effect). Rather, I’m talking about finding subtle ways to show customers and prospects that you’re someone who can be trusted.
Here are a few of the best ways to do exactly that:
Having a contractor’s license means you’ve been vetted and approved by your state’s contractor licensing board - and that matters. In most states, working without a contractor’s license is considered illegal (unlicensed contractor stings happen more often than you might realize).
Showing off your contractor’s license can also give your customers significant peace of mind, as it’s a big indicator that you’re a trustworthy professional who takes them - and your contractor business - seriously.
If you’re not yet licensed or your license has expired in recent years, we can help. Just check out our contractor licensing hub, which breaks down each state’s process for getting licensed. Just click on your state, follow the steps in the selected article, and take that closer step toward getting licensed.
Here’s another big trust cue that you can market to customers and prospects: that you’re a licensed and insured general contractor.
Here’s why that makes a difference: Business insurance doesn’t just provide financial protection for your business in case things go wrong. It also gives your customer peace-of-mind knowing that if anything does happen, they won’t be left in a lurch.
Say, for example, you installed tile flooring in a customer’s bathroom; however, the tiles were installed incorrectly, and the customer had to spend their own money to fix it. The customer asks for you to pay them for fixing damages that you caused - but because you don’t have insurance, the customer ends up having to take you to court to get compensated (and even that isn’t always successful).
In the above scenario, the customer is left out of money and frustrated that they have to spend their time chasing after you for compensation.
But let’s say, in that scenario, you had a contractors business insurance policy. Rather than the customer having to chase you for financial damages, he or she can call your insurer and make a claim. If approved, your insurance policy could cover the costs to fix the tile installation (up to your policy limit).
And if your customer decided to take you to court, your policy could also cover the costs of hiring an attorney, as well as any compensation you’re ordered to pay out (again, up to your policy limit).
As you can see, having business insurance offers financial protection for both you and your customer. And that goes a long way toward helping reassure your customers that you’re not only trustworthy - you’ll also be accountable in case anything goes wrong.
If you don’t have business insurance, then you’ve certainly come to the right place. Here at Simply Business, we’re an online insurance platform that specializes in helping general contractors like you find affordable insurance coverage - and all in under ten minutes.
So whether you need a general liability insurance policy or you just want to check to see if you’re overpaying for your current coverage, let us help. Use our free quote comparison tool to get policy options from the nation’s top insurers.
If you see a policy you like, you can click to buy. It really is that simple!
If you haven’t been showing off your work, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Post a portfolio of your best projects everywhere, like on your website, social media accounts, etc. Pictures of past work can be the deciding factor for customers who like how you sound but might need to see your work before they decide to call you.
Here’s a helpful hint: Whenever you complete a project, ask the customer if you can take pictures of your work so you can post it online. It’s also a great opportunity to ask for a review on Facebook, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
If you haven’t already set up a HomeAdvisor account, do so ASAP. Sites like HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and NextDoor give you the opportunity for more online exposure, so it’s easier to find customers in your area. Each service is different, but in general, they all require you to post a business profile (complete with portfolio and pricing info) and respond to local customers who may be interested in hiring you.
NextDoor is a little different because it’s more of a social media site than a job board; however, a lot of people post here when they’re looking for general contractors, home remodelers, handyman services, etc. It’s definitely worth checking out and answering community posts when you have a few minutes to spare.
If you already have a strong base of happy customers, don’t hesitate to ask them for referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to acquire more customers, to the point where you won’t have to worry about where your next project is coming from.
Check out our guide on word-of-mouth marketing, which has tons of tips and advice on how to get more customers without lifting a finger.
Not all of your general contractor marketing efforts need to be done online. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing - where you rely on referrals, customers, and even people in your social circle to spread the word about your business - still works!
It can be tough to build word-of-mouth about your contractor business, especially if you’re just starting out or you haven’t really invested time in it before. But we’re here to help with some great tips on how to use word-of-mouth marketing:
Brand everything and everything that your business touches, from business cards and your tools to your contractor van or truck.
Always commit to delivering a great service to your customers, as you’ll want them to rave about your work to interested parties.
Go the extra mile for your customers whenever possible, like offering them an unexpected discount or giving them a housewarming gift when their home is finally completed.
Consider specializing in a niche, as this can help you become more of an authority in your specific area of expertise.
Set up a formal review process so you can get those five-star reviews from customers (for example, schedule an email or follow-up call with customers one week after you’re done with their work).
Create a paid incentive program for customers, like a gift card to a local hardware store - doing so can make it more likely that they’ll spread the word about your contracting business.
Post on social media (we’ve already covered it in this article, but it’s still a great tip for building word-of-mouth!).
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to recommend your services to others - there’s absolutely no harm in asking!
In addition to creating a portfolio with your work, I’ve also come across some contractor marketing advice from general contractors and home renovators who recommend joining local Facebook communities and posting work there.
Here’s why that works: Local Facebook communities - more specifically, groups that are dedicated to a town or neighborhood - are extremely targeted with people you can serve. If you take the time to post updates on projects (especially those that are taking place in the town where the group is located), you can show off your work and garner interest from people who may want to hire you.
One word of warning: Don’t go overboard with your posts. If you make it a daily thing, there’s a good chance you could annoy group members or get blocked. Choose your posts carefully, and always make sure you’re following the rules set forth by the group admin.
For example, if they only allow businesses to post on certain days of the week, limit your posts to those days. Otherwise, you could risk getting banned or blocked by an annoyed admin team.
And there you have it - 12 of the best contractor marketing tips made just for general contractors like you. And whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to add to your clientele base, these contractor marketing tips can help bring in more customers without that much extra effort.
Got any additional contractor marketing advice to share with other general contractors? Let me know in the comments below!
Before marketing, don't forget to run a contractors insurance quote to ensure you're covered.
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.