Author Archives: Account Management Team
It’s been a year of many ups and downs within various remodeling trades. You may have seen this within your own work, too. Now is a good time to look back at the last year to better plan, as many of this year’s trends are a good indicator of what’s to come in 2017.
As you start to look back at how the year has been with your business, it’s a good idea to observe what the year has brought for the remodeling industry. To help you, we’ve recapped some of the biggest trends we saw in 2016 and a few predictions for 2017.
Looking to win more jobs in 2017? Give us a call at 866-456-6977.
Remodeling & Renovation
When the year began, the outlook was optimistic for the construction industry. John Burns Real Estate Consulting predicted an 8% increase in 2016 for pros and data showed a gradual increase of work due to the rising housing market.
Overall, there was an increase in remodeling activity for the year. Through our own network, we saw a 2% increase in service requests of homeowners ready to hire for a major remodel or renovation compared to 2015.
An increase in sales of existing homes has contributed to the slight increase in the remodeling industry, as many homeowners look to make updates or expand before selling. The Wells Fargo Economics team reported a 4.4% rise in existing home sales from 2015, and predict a 2.6% rise in existing home sales in 2017. Which, means that those in the remodeling industry will continue to be busy. According to our data, entire home updates have declined to just single room updates. To see where you’ll be finding more work, here’s a few more specific trends from this year.
An area that homeowners are often looking to update and remodel is the bathroom. Many require an update to fixtures, flooring or they plan to expand. Per our data, we saw a 3% rise in service requests for homeowners who we’re ready to hire for their bathroom remodel in 2016, with many requests for countertop and flooring updates.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. For a homeowner who is trying to sell, the size, shape and amenities of the kitchen can either make or break a sale. There was a 5% rise in homeowners ready to hire for their kitchen remodel this year, compared to 2015. Many homeowners were looking to update sinks and install cabinets, however, updates to overall appliances has declined
Unlike kitchen and bathrooms, basements have a different ROI for homeowners. There was no change in growth in basement remodeling from 2015 to 2016. Often, homeowners would like to see a basement remodel done alongside another remodel of their home, per our data.
Trends in garage remodeling have not changed too much within the last few years. We saw a 2% rise from 2015 in both an update to garage electrical fixtures and garage flooring. Homeowners looking to add storage and shelving to their garage rose by 5% from 2015.
As we reported earlier in the year, homeowners are looking to extend the usable square footage on their homes with decks. This is a trend that’s likely to carry on into 2017. To see more about this, read Decking Industry Trends.
Looking Ahead To 2017
Now that we’ve observed some of the trends from 2016, we can get a better picture of what 2016 might look like for remodelers. According to the latest LIRA by the Joint Center For Housing Studies, home improvement and repair will continue to increase through the second quarter of 2017, reaching 8% and staying steady for the rest of the year.
However, when The Farnsworth Group surveyed remodelers, they seem to be less optimistic with 70% expecting growth to stay the same or increase by a slight margin.
Planning For The Future
As the year ends, expect to see more predictions on what 2017 may hold for your business and plan accordingly. Take time to reflect on your year as a contractor, what you can improve on and how you can retain more customers. Set some goals based on these thoughts. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help set your goals for next year.
- Customer Service: How can you go the extra mile for your customer?
- Marketing: Can you increase your budget to improve your current marketing tactics?
- Lead Generation: What new ways can you try to generate leads next year?
- Networking With Others: Is there opportunities to invest in your community?
- Joining An Organization: Are you ready to expand your education and knowledge in your field?
- Business Growth: In what ways can you train and retain new employees?
Overall, it’s been a good year to be in the industry. We’re seeing projects and work remain steady through the year and even a few with some small increases. Looking ahead to 2017, expect to see some growth, especially with bath and kitchen projects.
If you’re reading this blog, then you have, are currently or are interested in investing money in lead generation. Nonetheless, depending on your industry, lead generation can mean a world of a difference.
For example, lead generation in the marketing agency arena generally translates to extra traffic to one’s website. Lead generation in the journalism world means obtaining a new source for a story. Lead generation in the home improvement world is, neither.
That is why I am going to explain all there is to know about lead generation in the home improvement arena. I will explain what it is, what it isn’t and a few lead generation best practices.
If you’re ready to try a new lead gen service that focuses on quality leads, give us a call at 866-456-6977.
What Lead Generation Is
In short, lead generation in the home remodeling industry is the process of buying referrals who are interested in a project that you can accomplish. In simpler terms, lead generation is marketing.
It is getting the word out there. It’s letting people know, in a designated area, that you offer certain services that may or may not be suitable for their situation.
Just like marketing, one must pay for the service. No company, no matter how big or small, can spend $0 on marketing and kill it in sales. Word of mouth marketing may be one of the most powerful marketing tactics out there, but if you want to scale your business and grow, sooner or later, you will have to spend money on marketing.
What Lead Generation Is Not
Lead generation is not given business. Just because we connect you with a homeowner, it does not mean they will 100% hire you for the job. Sometimes, homeowners are just looking for a quote. Other times, they are not ready to open their checkbook. No matter what lead generation service you use, contractors will not be able to close 100% of the leads or referrals you receive.
Just like marketing, every dollar will not convert into a sale. Some tactics might work and others might not. However, unlike like traditional marketing, if you implement some of the best practices below, we bet the ROI you see from your CraftJack Lead Manager will be worth the investment.
Lead Generation Best Practices
We have done the research. We have seen which contractors generate the greatest ROI from our service and found the common themes. If you implement these practices while utilizing a lead generation service, you will increase your ROI:
- Call All Your Referrals: If you are going to pay for the service, you might as well try to close the deal.
- Call Your Referrals Quickly: The best time to call is five minutes after you receive the referral.
- Follow Up If They Don’t Answer: Homeowners are busy, just like you and I. If they don’t answer on your first call, you have to try again (later). In fact, 80% of leads do not close on the first call. Perhaps even more vital, 53% of contractors make contact with their referral on the second call.
- Do Not Call Numerous Times in One Day: Once again, people are busy. If they don’t answer, it was for a reason. Either way, never call a referral more than twice in one day.
- Do Not Get Angry If They Don’t Hire You: Like I said, you won’t close every job. Be professional, courteous and leave your name and number for their next project.
Lead generation is the process of buying referrals who are interested in a project that you can accomplish. You are not buying given jobs. As long as you understand this fact and take into account our best practices listed above, your business will greatly benefit from lead generation.
Ready to try a new lead gen service that focuses on quality leads? Give us a call at 866-456-6977.
We hear the term that “the customer is always right,” but we are willing to bet many home service professionals can agree that is simply not the case. Whether it’s an abusive homeowner or a landlord who thinks he knows everything about home remodeling, there are plenty of instances where the customer is not right.
In the video below, Noah Mishkin, CraftJack Co-Founder, decided to sit down and discuss five of the most popular instances where the customer is NOT always right.
5 Examples When the Customer is NOT Always Right
- Inappropriate Situation
- Requesting No Permits
- Refuse to Uphold Terms of Agreement
At CraftJack, we strive to only put you in touch with homeowners ready to hire and understand the remodeling process. If you’d like to hear more about our custom lead generation platform, give us a call at 866-456-6977.
Marketing is not a one size fits all idea. Just because one marketing idea worked for Company A, that does not mean it will work for Company B. As such, different companies need flexibility when it comes to advertising. If banners are not working, try social media. If SEO is not working, try lead generation. The list of advertising tactics goes on and on.
Nonetheless, there are five forms of advertising that have worked time and time again for home improvement contractors. As such, these five methods are the most effective when it comes to contractor marketing. CONTINUE READING
Your sales strategy is just as important as the actual hands-on work you do. Why? Because the way you communicate what you can do for the customer is the way you’ll land the job. Sales are incredibly important for any business owner. Knowing your best approach will help to win new jobs and gain referrals.
However, not everyone is great at selling. But, with a few easy tips and techniques, you can gain new business in no time at all.
For more sales and lead generation tips, please give us a call at 866-456-6977.
1. Create a Consistent Market Plan
One of the keys to sales is to go in with a plan for marketing and implement it consistently. A marketing plan for contractors doesn’t have to be complex— you just need to follow through. Not sure where to start with your plan? Research current marketing trends in the industry to spark some ideas. Social media, email campaigns, and search engine optimization are three good places to start if you haven’t already!
2. Take the Time to Listen
The best approach in any sales pitch is to first, not pitch them anything at all. Yes, you read that correctly. Aside from introducing yourself and why you’re calling, you’ll want to start the conversation by thoroughly listening to the client’s needs before starting your pitch. This may seem counterintuitive from what you already know, however, listening is the first step to having great communication with your potential customer. They’ll appreciate the attention and you’ll be able to form a sales pitch to fit their needs.
Here are a few things you should remember to improve your listening skills:
- Avoid distractions and make eye contact with the customer when they’re speaking.
- Pay attention to their body language as they speak. Non-verbal communication can also be an indicator of their frustrations and needs.
- Summarize the information they have given you about their needs to be sure both parties have a clear understanding and to show the customer you have listened.
- Avoid interrupting the customer when they’re speaking. Wait until they have finished to share your thoughts.
Listening may seem self-explanatory, but pay attention the next time you’re with a customer, or even a friend, at how well you practice the above tips. Focusing on your listening skills can dramatically improve your sales approach and technique.
3. Ask the Right Questions
After you have listened to the customer, it’s time to begin asking questions to identify how you can provide them with a solution. Since you’re the pro, you may have an idea of other concerns the customer may not see. Ask questions to dig deeper and address those needs. This will show that you care and can build a rapport. When choosing what to ask, remember to keep questions as open-ended as possible so the customer can clearly express their thoughts. A few examples:
- “What do you expect the finished product to look like?”
- “What’s the best way to communicate the project status?”
- “What are you most concerned about with this project?”
The above questions guide the customer to provide an explanation of their expectations so you can learn about what they’re looking for and how you can fill that need for them.
Also, begin to ask questions to prioritize the project scope. This will give you and the potential customer clarity of what’s most important and avoid any confusion about the project. When asking about priorities, this is an opportunity to ask and find out how soon they’ll want the job done and when they plan to make a decision.
4. Speak the Customer’s Language
You can win the job by utilizing the power of persuasion and speaking the customer’s language. Always keep the conversation about them and not your business. Address them using “you” and “your” terms, such as saying “your savings” versus “our discount.” This reminds them that your goal is to help find them a solution.
Avoid using jargon they may not understand. If you have to, explain what these terms mean. Not only will the customer appreciate it, but it will better reflect your knowledge on the topic.
5. Differentiate Your Business
Assure customers that your business is not like the rest. What makes you different from other contractors that could be bidding on the same job? Do you have any guarantee’s you can share with the customer? What personal touch do you bring to the table? Tell the potential customer any benefits you provide that will differentiate you from others.
6. Be Clear & Direct
While you should always keep the conversation about the customer and their needs, be clear and direct when it comes to negotiating terms and agreeing on the project. Be careful to not sound harsh or impatient when asking direct questions. Here are a few to consider:
- Is there anything else I can answer for you right now?
- Does this sound fair?
- How close are you to making a decision on this project?
- What else can I do to win your business?
Now that you have closed the deal, be sure to deliver on what you have sold. That is truly the final step of the sales pitch; landing more referrals and keeping loyal customers.
The art of sales doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to always keep the conversation about the customer and use the information they provide to give you clues on how your business can provide a solution.
If you are interested in signing up for CraftJack leads, give us a call at 866-456-6977.
As a new generation enters the workforce, another begins to leave. For the construction industry, this can present challenges for contractors. The industry is struggling to retain new, young workers as an older generation of skilled craftsman start to leave the field.
According to the Skilled Labor Shortage study released by HomeAdvisor in February, 76% of construction business owners feel that it will be difficult to find new employees, despite plans to hire within the year. As housing currently represent 18% of U.S. economic activity, this is a huge hurdle as industry pros strive for success.
In the study, HomeAdvisor reports that labor shortages tend to be the highest for those in carpentry, sheet metal installation, concrete workers, electricians and equipment operators, even though jobs are available. Not only are employers looking for the help, but without an up and coming workforce, it can have great implications on the industry and the economy. This is not something to be taken lightly. The report states this is likely due to the younger generations not having a desire to enter the field.
A New Generation of Contractors
If statistically, the Millennial generation currently represents the largest working age group, where are they? This generation is shying away from entering the construction industry. HomeAdvisor credits the following factors:
- Negative industry stereotypes and perceptions
- Lack of exposure and education on trades
In a press release, Marianne Cusato, HomeAdvisor’s housing expert and professor of the practice at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, elaborated on ways she believes the industry can work towards gathering a younger, skilled workforce.
“By creating more educational resources such as mentorships and apprenticeships, there is a tremendous opportunity to expose younger generations to the benefits that come with being a successful craftsman and independent business owner,” Cusato said.
Understanding the Next Generation
If you’re looking to grow your business and retain young members of the workforce, there are plenty of things you can do to help bridge the generation gap. Here’s what you should know about Millennial workers.
Millennials value work/life balance flexibility more than generations past. They desire a career path that will allow them to juggle their many activities outside of work.
This new, social generation enjoys working and learning together. They’ll work the best in groups and desire to grow relationships with co-workers.
The Millennial generation was raised with constant, valuable feedback. This trait has followed them into adulthood, with many workers needing feedback and reassurance on their work.
This generation likely saw the start of the Internet, then watched it grow and become a vital communication tool. They’re likely to know the latest apps and have plenty of information at their fingertips.
Eager to Learn
Millennials love to do jobs with purpose. If given a new task, they want to learn about it and know why it must be accomplished.
With this in mind, consider your approach to your Millennial employees and what generational differences you may be experiencing. Additionally, keep these differences in mind as you begin to hire new workers.
Leadership & Mentorship
It’s stated in the HomeAdvisor study, but what the next generation of skilled laborers need is leaders and mentors to help educate and train the next generation. The study says that the biggest thing Millennials are looking for in their careers is professional encouragement through development, mentorships, family support and apprenticeships.
Effective leadership matters. Though you have plenty to do on the job site, be aware of how you’re leading those who work with you. Here are some good leadership traits:
Mentorship is critical to reversing the shifts in the industry. As a mentor, you can pass down your expertise to the younger generation. By taking time to invest, you can build relationships and trust with your workers. Think about how you learned your trade and share your experiences with those entering the field. Listen to them about challenges and questions they may have. You’ll likely have “been there and done that” wisdom to share. You may even learn something new as well.
As an experienced pro, you have the ability to help change the skilled labor shortage. In the short term, you’ll see your business succeed. Long term, you’ll continue to invest in a trade and a new generation who will hopefully teach generations to come.
Did you know that CraftJack offers lead generation services in 21 unique categories? Whether you’re an electrician, a flooring specialist, a roofer, a drywall pro, or a general contractor, CraftJack offers personalized leads you’ve been craving.
If you’d like to hear what projects fall into each category below, please give us a call at 866-456-6977.
- Drywall & Insulation
- General Contracting
- Gutters & Downspout
- Painting & Staining
- Snow Removal
- Windows & Doors
CraftJack may not be as big as the other players in the market, but what we lack in size, we make up in quality and quantity of leads!
If you’re ready to start receiving leads for your particular expertise, call us today at 866-456-6977.
With technology at our fingertips, it’s more important than ever to have a functioning website for your business. We know how important this is for contractors. Having a website can help generate leads and awareness of your services. But how do you know your website is functioning how your customer needs it to? By knowing what customers are looking for, you can better assist them to the information they need and get leads faster.
Contractor Wants Vs. Customer Needs
In a recent study released by The Farnsworth Group, 20% of homeowners said they used a pro’s website to both find and contact them. Three out of 10 pros said they get 11% to 25% of their leads from their website or app-generated lead.
When it comes to needs, the study shows that pros and their potential customers have very different ideas of what makes a good website. For both parties however, photos and examples are believed to be the most important. Contractors want to show the good work they have done and homeowners are looking for examples to see if the pro has the ability to complete the project to their expectations.
Pros think website navigation, reviews and project information are top priorities for their viewer. Homeowners think differently however, as reviews and background information are key. They want to know that the pro they’re considering for the job is legitimate and if they can gather enough information from previous customers to make the right call.
Create A Website for Your Customer
If the potential customer can’t find what they need on your website, they’re likely to click away without contacting you. What can you do to make your website customer-friendly and relay the information you need? Here are a few ideas.
Provide Real Photos
From the data, we can see that both customers and pros have the same priority here. Pros want to show off the great work they have done and customers want to see it. People respond much better to visuals than anything else. However, skip the stock photos. Post photos that you have permission to use and photos that show the work you’ve done. Consider hiring a photographer to capture work you’re really proud of and really impress potential customers.
Think About User Experience
You may not think your reviews are important, but your customer does. Make it easy and prominent for them to find on your website. If you have a negative review, don’t ignore it. Though the potential customer may see the review, how you handle the situation can speak louder than what was said. Respond back in a clear and professional manner, always providing excellent customer service.
Additionally, make sure photos and other customer priorities are easy to find. Don’t bury important information about your services.
Pay Attention to Content
It may seem trivial, but checking your website for grammar and spelling can be worth your while. Editing errors can make your website look unprofessional and turn off a potential customer. Your website can often be the first impression the customer has of your work. Don’t let a proofreading error get in the way of winning the job.
According to Hubspot, 55% of viewers spend less than 15 seconds on a website, at least before deciding they want to click away. Information on your page should catch their attention, but be concise so your visitors can gather what they need to know as quickly as possible.
If you include a contact form on your page, stick to information you absolutely need to know. This will likely be just their name, phone number and email. The more questions you require, the less likely the user will complete the form.
Create A Responsive Website
Everything is mobile. If you want to be accessible to your customers, meet them where they are. A responsive website design makes sure your website looks good on any device. The benefits not only help the user experience and site navigation, but it also helps customers find you through search.
Furthermore, you must use colors that will appeal to your customers. Pay attention to the color choices you’re using, making sure they complement each other and don’t clash. It’s easy for text to blend into the background if colors are too light or too dark.
Now that you understand what consumers are looking for, you can create a website to truly meet their needs and start getting more leads. Remember, what you think is important might not always be the same for the customer. Show the homeowner you understand their needs through a website that works.
Speed reigns supreme when it comes to lead generation and that is why CraftJack has worked diligently to create the fastest and easiest notification system in the industry.
We know you guys are busy. We know contractors are out working on the job, traveling, handling payroll and running your business. As such, when a lead comes in, just like the one above, you need to easily be able to contact the homeowner however you see fit. Fortunately, CraftJack offers three very convenient ways to not only receive a lead notification, but to contact the homeowner within seconds.
The three notification methods CraftJack uses are:
The image above is an example of an email notification you would receive if you signed up with CraftJack. As you can see, the homeowner’s email is hyperlinked, so all you have to do to contact that homeowner is click on the email and start typing.
If email is not your preferred choice of communication, you may also sign up for text or phone call notifications.
To hear more about each format, give us a call at 866-456-6977.