In Today’s Competitive Workplace
By Brian Hall
While most of the country is trying to figure out what the “New Normal” is, paving contractors have already figured it out. It’s full steam ahead. With all the competition out there today, how do you insure a full backlog? Better pricing is one way, but I propose something else. Selling yourself and your company image. Something that is way too often overlooked. In the sales game, we call it “value added”. I know, it’s one of those buzzwords that we all get tired of hearing, but it works. Giving the customer something of value without raising the cost.
Let’s look at a few ways to step up your game:
Bidding the Job.
How did your customer find you? Local ads? Billboards? Word of mouth? You take great pride in creating a logo that catches their eye, so why stop there? When you present the job specifications to the customer, make sure everything is in line, including a detailed, easy to read quote. Leave nothing to be assumed so that the customer knows what to expect and what not to expect. Make sure it is professionally presented with clear instructions on how to contact you. Most importantly, leave a reference so the customer can see your quality work.
OK, you got the job, nice work. Now it’s time to shine. Being the professional company, you show up on time with your crew and equipment. Here’s where it can really fall apart – pun intended. Is your equipment 100% ready to go or are you doing service work on the job? How about your trucks and other company vehicles? Are they promoting the image that you work so hard to protect? A quick trip through the car wash goes a long way for your “rolling billboard”. How about your equipment? Machines that are in good repair show the customer (both current and potential) that you are a company with a lot on the ball. Machines that are prone to oil leaks prove the opposite, not to mention the asphalt failures that are sure to occur. Also, the trucks you hire to deliver the asphalt to the jobsite reflect on you as a contractor. Make sure they also reflect positively on your company.
Not your employees or workers, but your TEAM. As I wrote last month, your team is the most valuable asset on the job site, so make sure they know it. When they are treated as a part of the success or failure of your operation, they take ownership, and isn’t that what you really want? Someone that can perform even if you are not looking after them. Outfit them in uniforms which include high visibility clothing, which shows you care about their safety. Uniforms with your logos mean visibility for your company, but it also comes with some responsibility. When representing your company in uniform, the team member must conduct themselves in a professional manner. One wrong turn knocks out a lifetime of “atta-boys”.
Sweat The Small Stuff.
This is what sets you apart. Show up on time. Finish within the prescribed time. Don’t leave the job half-finished because of some other “high priority”. The job you are doing is the highest priority and the customer must realize this. Paving is a messy job, but it can be oblivious to the customer by taking a little care. Tack on the sidewalk or garage doors, asphalt release agent on the flower bed or lunch trash on the lawn show that you do not respect the customer. This will lead him to look for flaws in your work, whether they are there or not. Also, when you place that yard sign on the job site, you want the “drive-by” public to perceive your company as first class. When you leave, make sure the property is better than you found it. We all know that mistakes occur. You didn’t mean to run over that azalea, but you did. Make sure you own up to it and replace it to make the area better than new.
Competition is tough. It’s these things that get repeat and new business and insures your success for years to come. The pride that you and your team get from a job well done should be reward enough, but you’ll be surprised on how your bottom line is rewarded as well! I’d be interested to hear from you on what your crew does to lift up your image in the marketplace, whether its innovative techniques or marketing driven, we can all learn from each other.
Brian Hall, is a LeeBoy Territory Manager. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.