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I'd say that you just covered a full training session in this short blog post that would otherwise have run you the cost of a Full Day Seminar!

Your idea about the contractors networking with real estate agents is really the right way to go.

It's simply way too expensive to just concentrate on one-to-one marketing where a satisfied customer ** might ** tell one person, if you're lucky.

Realtors on the other hand are constantly dealing with clients that have URGENCY... where a repair NEEDS to be done before a house is listed, before an open house is held, or before a closing can take place.

I'd be visiting all the local chamber of commerce organizations and realtor associations looking to get a foot in the door with realtors that could refer potentially 10 or 20 projects a year.

In our industry (computer consulting for small businesses), it's very common to network with CPA's that already have the key contacts with small business decision makers.

Great story and some very practical marketing advice for ANY small business owner!

Home improvement marketing... Always a quagmire. You're right, though - "interruption marketing" doesn't work, it simply annoys.

There are some books out there (the first, and still the best, is published by Taunton Press, "Running a Successful Construction Company", David Gerstel) but they don't really deal with marketing. It's a different skill, and not one many contractors think about.

The best I managed (I tried garden woodworking after I was laid off from IT) was friends and their friends. Even then it was hit or miss - marketing includes pricing, and I was really awful at that. The reason you don't see shared-cost deals is because most builders have really bad cash-flow. The IRS suspects it's to avoid taxes, but in general - it's because they just don't manage the money properly. More contractors fail because of that than any other reason! In short - they can't afford to do a shared-cost deal.

If the builder is even mildly responsible, insurance companies would frown on shared-cost deals. The one who distributes the paycheck who gets sued when there's an accident; if it's a home-owner/contractor arrangement - both will be liable. And while the Contractors' insurance company might like that - the homeowners' won't - and they'll deny any responsibility!

(You know the one about innovation in the building trades, right? Contractors are willing to try anything new. As long as their father taught it to them...)

On the other hand - I could have used you the other day. :-) It feels like we're rebuilding this house - from the ground up!

Carolyn Ann

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