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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
I ran a contracting business with a small crew  and have heaps of competitors, I need some help with marketing, budgeting, charge out rates, cash flow really wanntla get us out there as we work with great integrity. What can i do to get those small things sorted please.

Question submitted 14/11/20 @ 06:02pm
Industry: Services
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    I’d start by working on charge out rates and budget as your first priority. Try this free downloadable business budget to get started: https://blog.capterra.com/free-small-business-budget-template/

    In terms of charge out rates, there are several ways to approach this.
    The first is “cost plus” pricing. Here you look at what you need to pay your team, and add on a margin (a quick google search for your industry tells me that your typical margins are between 25%-40%). So if your contractor costs $50/hour, then you would charge out between $50 x 1.25= $62.50 and $50 x 1.4 = $70/hour

    It’s also important to benchmark what your competitors are charging, to ensure that you’re not significantly over or under-charging. I’d create a spreadsheet which contains a list of the services you provide, and then pick 3-4 competitors, and look at their websites, or get someone to give them a call and see what there prices are for the same services.

    The other way to price this, is to understand what customers will pay for your services and work backwards. Here you’d want to look at where your customers are located, and potentially see if there is any market research/data on your services and what the market rates are. Or you could try finding and calling/contacting target customers and asking them a few questions around what they’d expect to pay for various services you offer. Either way, you’d still likely want to benchmark vs. competitors. If you offer a significantly higher quality and/or other key advantages then you can likely charge a premium for your services.

    In terms of marketing, from my perspective it starts with understanding your target customer, and then you can work on a content strategy and marketing mix around this.

    If you look at your existing customer base today, what does it tell you? Where are most of your customers from (which cities, neighborhoods)? What are the common characteristics they share? Are they more affluent or cost conscious, more male or female, do you have any insight on how they discovered you, where they found information about your services?

    During this time, you might also think about target customer segments based on your persona, and set up customer interviews, perhaps even spending a small amount of funding to ask your ideal customers a number of questions (or you could even call some of your former customers for their insight). Maybe offering grocery or coffee vouchers for 45 minutes of their time would help.

    I’d ask questions such as
    – how did they find out about your business
    – what about it did they love most
    – where do they spend their time on social media (FB, IG, TikTok etc)
    – what are their favorite websites
    – what are their favorite magazines/newspapers etc
    – what are ten words they would use to describe your business etc

    You can then use this to start forming a persona, on which you can start to dive deeper into the motivations of your customers and craft a marketing mix around this. Ideally this is what should form the basis of your marketing activity, so that you’re spending your marketing dollars where you know it will have the most impact, with the right messaging, at the right time.

    I’d also ensure you’ve search optimized your website with the right keywords so that you show up when your customers search for the services you provide. Asking customers what they search, and where they search, and which other companies they considered (or would consider) will help inform your content marketing and SEO strategy.

    I hope this helps~

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