Here are some tips on how to be a 21st century contractor.
By Cory Olson
One thing that all contractors have in common is an interest in cutting costs and getting new customers. Construction projects can very easily run over budget and get behind schedule, which can then limit the number of new customers you are able to take on. Thankfully, with all of the technology integrations available, alongside the increasing popularity of social media, there are many ways contractors can embrace the 21st century to increase profitability, ROI and bring on new clients.
Find a Social Media Platform That Works for You
Social media has become an extremely important part of many industries’ business tactics. It provides businesses with an additional touchpoint to a current or potential customer or client, while also encouraging users to interact with your brand or company. This creates a very unique opportunity for businesses – you are able to create actual relationships with customers through social media alone.
Social media is also unique in that it can provide significant rewards without too much effort. The more time invested, the more rewards you will see. However, even with a small amount of effort, contractors can still reap rewards of a social media presence.
Although it may seem like social media might not be the right fit for contractors, approximately 45 percent of contractors use social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn all provide considerable opportunities for contractors. Facebook is a great platform for potential clients to see your contact information as well as interact with your content. Additionally, if you are ever interested in placing advertisements on social media, Facebook is a strong platform to start with.
Photo-driven platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are also perfect platforms to showcase the beauty of your projects and the final product of your labor. Both of these essentially create an online portfolio for your new clients to review when evaluating a contractor for hiring. Pinterest especially is unique in that it is functions more as a search engine than a social media site. It is a great way to help enthusiastic searchers find your website and all your company’s offerings.
Another, more obvious fit for contractors in terms of social media is Houzz. Houzz is a platform that is focused directly on the construction, architecture and design industry and allows contractors to connect and answer questions from homeowners who are in need of one of those services.
Embrace New Technology
Industries all over the country are embracing technology and the benefits it can bring to business. Utilizing technology in the right way can save costs and time for businesses. What type of technology can contractors use to save time and cost in their business?
There are a few simple technologies that contractors can implement in their business to increase profitability. With a larger jobsite, it is difficult to monitor the safety of all of your employees. With drones, contractors are able to monitor their jobsite from above. Drones can also be used to survey the project area before a project starts to identify any safety hazards in the area before starting on a project.
Another simple way contractors can utilize technology is to implement mobile solutions within your jobsite. With mobile phones, tablets and other apps, contractors can communicate with everyone on the jobsite quickly, which will save time and money.
Inventory loss is another common problem among large construction companies and jobsites that technology can help with. By implementing software applications, contractors can monitor inventory and tracking the usage of the materials. This will simplify the process, provide real-time updates to your inventory and also save money on replacing missing or misused items.
3–D modeling is also a technological innovation that can help contractors save time and money. Building information modeling (BIM) is a 3–D modeling tool that helps contractors create a master design for everyone on their team to work from. From the planning stages of a project through execution, BIM can help contractors reference the model throughout the project which can lead to fewer mistakes and delays.
Another impressive innovation in technology that can assist contractors is augmented reality. Augmented reality (AR) is technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real-world, providing a composite view. Contractors can use this technology to show clients what their final product of their project will look like. Users focus on a given design or plan with the camera on their mobile device or tablet and then augmented reality technology will show and overlay of what the project will look like once finished. More recent developments in AR technology also allow for contractors to determine the amount of product they will need for their projects which can help contractors save costs on inaccurate calculations.
With all the new technologies that are available for contractors to implement, there are plenty ways to save time and money by incorporating even just a few into your business model. Social media also creates a fantastic opportunity for contractors to move into the 21st century and connect with current clients to develop a relationship – which can, in turn, convince them to become a repeat customer. A social media presence also allows for contractors to connect with new clients. By creating a social media presence and embracing new technological advancements, contractors can increase their bottom line by saving themselves time and money.
Cory Olson is the senior vice president at Sakrete of North America at Oldcastle. Sakrete® was founded in 1936 as North America’s original dry cement mix brand and is a leader in concrete and concrete-related products, and other top-quality building products.