Business can be tough as a contractor. You don’t have the broad scale of support that other businesses do, which can make it harder to run internally as well as harder to get the kind of customer impression you want to make. However, if you can get it right it can be a very profitable market to work in with more of the profits going directly to you. So, here’s how you ensure that you’re getting all the business you need and keeping more of the cash.
Keep an eye on your finances
This is the very first tip that every contractor should beat into their head. The more time they spend working on their finances here and there, the easier it is. For one, make sure that you keep your business and personal finances as separate as possible. If you keep them all tangled in, it will be much harder to separate them when tax service comes. It doesn’t have to be all that difficult to keep track of the expenses and the invoices, however. Accounting software can calculate it all at once and help you see what kind of profit you’re making, allowing you to identify costs that could be cut down on, for instance.
Don’t do too much yourself
Your money isn’t the only resource you need to use more efficiently. The same goes for your labor. If you’re spending too many of your working hours on the admin of the business, then you need to look at how you get some of that off your plate. For instance, you can outsource, using virtual assistants to help take care of tasks like organizing your emails and catching up on late invoices to customers. More of your productivity needs to go in the direction of doing jobs for clients and actually making money.
Buddy up with suppliers
You will also want to look at decreasing those overheads to keep more of the money in the business. One of the best ways to do that is to look at the tools and the supplies you get to do your job. Business suppliers want nothing more than a long-term client they can rely on. If you can build a good relationship with them, by paying on time and by having clear goals for them, then you might find that quite a few of them will be willing to offer you better deals. Be a reliable customer and you’ll find that suppliers can be just as reliable to you. You might even want to consider offering to refer them when you can.
Make trust the core of your business
The relationship with your suppliers isn’t quite as important as the relationship with your customers, of course. Building trust with them isn’t just important for initially getting the job. It’s also important for staying in their good books long after. We’ll look at just why you should be maintaining long-term relationships with them a bit later. For now, we’ll look at how you build trust with them. The key, here, is transparency. For instance, when you’re giving them a price estimate on your services, don’t be vague and don’t try to be too competitive. Use pricing software that can give you a complete breakdown of the costs involved in the estimate. Then stick to that estimate as close as possible, reducing the risk of nasty additional costs.
Get word-of-mouth flowing
The reason you want to maintain trust long after your customer has use of you is because word-of-mouth is one of the greatest ways to build reliable leads for your business. People are naturally at least a little skeptical of any business they’re going to get in touch with. However, if you can get customers building referrals for you by stating how trustworthy and professional you are, you can immediately break through that initial barrier. Stimulate some word-of-mouth yourself by asking customers for testimonials and promoting your social media as a place where they can offer feedback on your work. Of course, you have to provide a service worthy of the praise but let’s assume that’s already a priority of yours.
Focus on your niche
You might have a lot of skills that make you money as a contractor. However, if you can’t find a focus on any one of them, you’re going to have trouble building a steady stream of business in any of them. Do you have more expertise and experience in repairing appliances than anything else, for instance? Then you want a strategy focused more on appliance repair marketing than your other services. Make your marketing deep as opposed to making it wide. It’s a better way of creating an image for yourself as an expert in that field. Otherwise, people will be making the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ assumption about you a little too often.
Appeal to more markets
There simply might not be a big enough market to give you the kind of business volume that you need, either. If that’s the case, you need to look at who exactly you are targeting. Instead of focusing directly on the average person and consumer, you could instead switch your focus to performing the same service for businesses. It does need an additional focus because businesses tend to operate in different circles and be accessible through different marketing means. For instance, you will want to get your business on LinkedIn to start networking online with other business owners. It’s possible to appeal to both markets at once, but it will mean putting a lot more time and variation into your marketing.
Hopefully, the tips above will see your business turning over a lot more green than in the past. From there, it’s all about thinking how to expand and keep the momentum going. Are you going to increase the team or train to incorporate more services, for instance? Always keep in mind not just how to get more money now but what it’s going to contribute to in the future. That’s how you unlock even more profit potential.