It's hard to say what the next couple of years will bring. Whether the industry will struggle or change is yet to be seen. Whichever way it turns out, it's best to move cautiously. Here are some suggestions for positioning and marketing your company and the decorative products that you install:
- Follow the money. Decorative concrete is used in residential, commercial, public works, and rehab construction so decorative concrete contractors can easily move from one segment of the concrete industry to another. In rough times, rehab work increases. Owners will improve existing properties rather than buy new ones.
- Always provide good service to existing clients. These customers already know and trust you. One residential decorative contractor says they've always provided their customers with courteous, prompt service even when times were good. Today, in a poor market, they have a continuous flow of work while their key competition has very little.
- Quality and creativity sells. Constantly learning how to install higher quality work always helps marketing efforts. Some companies are known for their creativity and can charge higher rates.
- Think about how to market “green.” No other movement in the construction industry has caught on so rapidly. Just be sure that what you offer significantly reduces greenhouse gases.
- Keep your operating expenses low and protect your revenues. It's very possible that sales revenues for 2009 will be less than in 2008.
- Decorative contractors are lucky. They can offer a wide range of decorative products for little additional tool-up costs. Plus, new techniques can be learned by existing staff. You can be a “one-stop shop” for your customers.
- Have an Internet presence. For small companies, marketing yourself can be expensive but keeping your Web site up to date isn't. Owners of projects who are looking for contractors will look on the Web