You’re great at what you do, why don’t you have enough customers? Is it lack of demand?
From my experience, there are a LOT of homeowners looking for a good handyman.
Frankly, I’m surprised at how often I find customers who say “It’s so hard to find good help.” or “I was so happy to find somebody that offered the services you offer that I can actually trust.”
It’s like there aren’t enough handymen or something.
But, I doubt that is the case. I know there are plenty of handymen out there that would love to connect with these customers. I get e-mails from them every week asking me how.
So, If you’re wondering why your phone isn’t blowing up with eager leads, you may be making one of these four marketing mistakes.
Marketing Mistake #1: Your Online Presence Is Weak
If you’ve been reading my material for any length of time, you know I’m all about online marketing. It’s how I grew my business and it’s how I help others grow theirs.
That’s because there’s no doubt customers are searching for your services online. According to Yelp, 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.
Can they find you?
If they do find you, are they going to be impressed by what they see? Will they land on a professional website that convinces them to call you or will they land on a picture-less, half-filled-out listing on Yelp.com with zero reviews?
Having a solid online presence is fundamental to having a successful handyman business in 2014 and beyond.
Not only do customers use the internet to find service providers, but they use it to vet the ones they’ve already found. Let’s say you decide to use door flyers to advertise. That can work, and some have used this method successfully. But, what do you think those customers are going to do when they get your flyer?
They’re going to look online for reviews about your company. If they don’t like what they see, they’re probably not going to call you, regardless of how nice the flyers were.
Not having a strong online presence is a huge mistake, and it’s probably costing you thousands.
Marketing Mistake #2: It’s Not Clear What You’re Selling
I’m sure you’ve heard the tagline “big or small, we do it all!” as so many handyman seem to adopt this saying.
But, can you really do it all? More specifically, can you do it all well?
Personally, whenever I see this slogan, I wonder what that business is actually good at.
Let’s say you were looking for a restaurant. You’re in the mood for pizza, and you have two options. The first option is a restaurant that serves burgers, steaks, Chinese, and pizza. The second place specializes and only serves one thing, Pizza.
Assuming that both restaurants were equally clean, professional looking, and similar on all other factors, which one would you choose?
Probably the one that specializes in exactly what you are looking to eat. The Pizza place! All those other foods are meaningless to you at that moment.
As it turns out, this is exactly how your customers think when in need of a repair. When their door is broken, they’ll google “door repair.” When their garbage disposal is broken, they’ll search for “garbage disposal replacement” or “plumber.” When they want to paint their house, they’ll search for “painting contractors.”
Why? Because they know they can find somebody who offers exactly what they need, and not somebody who could “probably figure it out.”
I’m not saying that you can’t offer a wide range of services (I do), but when you are promoting yourself, focusing on specific services is far more effective.
Marketing Mistake #3: You Don’t Look The Part
When I started my business, I was only 28, which is young compared to most handymen. Even worse, I look young for my age.
I’ve had customers say that they thought I was only 18!
Yet, I was still able to start a thriving handyman business and position myself as an expert in their eyes. How did I do it? Simple. I created a professional image. I made myself look like I’d been in business for years.
I wasn’t the most experienced handyman (still not), but I looked like I had my shit together.
Customers like this. They don’t want some rando showing up at their door with pit stains and a scraggly beard driving a truck with no bumpers. They want somebody who looks like they care. Somebody who put in the extra effort to present themselves well.
Having a professional image extends beyonds what you wear and whether or not you showered. Equally important is how professional your website is, the branding on your truck, how you answer the phone, and every other part of how the customers experience with your business.
There’s a great quote I heard that pretty much sums it up, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
The effort and care you put into your brand is evidence for how well you’ll treat a customer’s home.
Marketing Mistake #4: You’re Thinking Short Term
One of the best and worst sayings in this industry is “Just do good work.” This presumes that if you do good work, you’ll be booked solid and you’ll live happily ever after.
While this does have some truth to it, it often leads handymen to fall into what I call the word of mouth trap.
New handymen will get a rush of leads right off the bat from their existing network who trusts them, making them feels like they’ve got it all figured out. Then, once all the initial work is done for friends and family, it’s like somebody turned off the faucet. Suddenly their schedule is empty with now way to generate leads.
The truth is that marketing is not a one time event that happens when you start a business. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever thrive on word of mouth alone.
Marketing is something that needs to happen consistently. You’re better off acknowledging this fact right now so you can take action on it. Instead of focusing on only short term marketing strategies like door flyers or posting to Craigslist, consider working on more long term strategies such as your online presence, branding, and networking with other service providers.
These may take time now, but they’ll pay off big time in 6 months, a year, and even ten years down the road.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of customers out there looking for your services, they just don’t know that you’re the right person to help them. It’s your job to show them that you are.