Articles for Contractors

Finding Your Target Market

Choose Where You Market, Advertise Carefully

I was talking to my cousin, who is a high-end pavestone installer over one July 4th weekend, and he was telling me how bad business was for him and that his phone just wouldn’t ring. I had asked him what he was doing for advertising and he told me that he was advertising in the Val-Pac coupons. I said, hello McFly! Do you really think people who need a high-end pavestone installer are looking in the Val-Pac?

This made me think how there are a lot of power-washing business owners who do the same thing — just “spray and pray.” What does that mean, well you know how you can buy 5,000 postcards real cheap, the spray-and-pray people will take those 5,000 postcards and just send them out to anyone and everyone for which they can find an address. They have no strategic plan and they have no clue who their target market is. They say something like, “My service could really help just about everyone.” Here is something to think about: “If you have everybody for a prospect, I can guarantee you will have nobody for a client!”

Read that again and again until it sticks in your brain.

This spray-and-pray type of power-washing business owner is running hit-or-miss marketing that becomes expensive and frustrating — and the next thing you know they are complaining about how this stupid marketing crap just doesn’t work.

This lack of proper planning and a failure to clearly define your target market will kill your business. Power washing is a niche business. However, there are niches within this niche of a business. You have residential and commercial, and you can even break it down more from there.

On the residential side, you have house washing, roof washing, deck cleaning, driveways, walkways, and the list goes on and on. The commercial side is even larger — you have fleet washing, flat-surface cleaning, hood cleaning, large-building cleaning, mine-equipment cleaning, rail-car cleaning, boat and ship cleaning, and again the list goes on and on. The more narrowly you define your market, the easier and less expensive it will be to populate your list of new clients.

Angling for the right clients

You see, building a business is like fishing, and the reason I am using this analogy is because I once owned a commercial fishing vessel as well as had several commercial fishing licenses, so I can say I know a lot about fishing. You go out to fish, the first thing you need to know is what kind of fish you are going after. Why? Because knowing what kind of fish you are going after determines what type of equipment you will use and what kind of bait you will need.

Now, let’s put that into business terms. Most power washers bring a fly-fishing rod and lure to the monster shark tournament at the local lake. Hello, they are going after the wrong prospects, looking for them in the wrong places and using the wrong approach! Think about it.

In other words, why try to convince someone to use your service when they don’t even know what it is. Go after the prospects that are already using power-washing services. If you see a fleet of trucks that you know are being washed, or if you see a neighborhood that is always being cleaned, go after them, after all you are the best out there. And, I will say it again: If you don’t have the best product or service out there, CHANGE IT, so you DO have the best product or service.

I want to leave you with some questions that will help you define your target market:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What do they want?
  3. How can I reach them?
  4. What will they buy from me?
  5. How will I make money?

I said it before and I will say it again: If you don’t have one, you need to get a time-tested and proven marketing system that will turn your power-washing business into a moneymaking machine. Once you have these systems in place you can just sit back and have the money come to you.

And also remember to always POWER THROUGH!

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