The Florida construction industry is positively booming right now. In 2016 it was the fastest-growing major industry in the state, expanding almost 6% over the previous year compared to the 3% growth experienced by all industries averaged together. It also contributed close to $20 billion to the Florida economy in 2015, in the form of salaries and wages. Factor in the year-long warm weather and the abundant building space and it’s obvious why so many construction businesses flourish in Florida.
However, there are still plenty that fail, and success is never guaranteed. If you want your business to grow and thrive, you need to do the obvious, like keeping your Florida Financially Responsible Officer Bond (FRO Bond) renewed. You also need to be savvy about how you establish and operate your business. Use these four tips to help you avoid more obstacles and seize more opportunities:
1. Fine-Tune the Business Function
Building a house and running a business require two very different skill sets. A lot of entrepreneurs with a construction background start a business based on their professional expertise – plumbing, electric, general contracting, etc. And while they might excel at completing projects, they never learned how to run a business responsibly. Things like payroll accounts receivable, or taxes can easily become problems that put the future of the business at risk. Fortunately, these problems are entirely avoidable as long as you fine-tune the business side of things. Get better by hiring staff, seeking out experts, creating policies, and standardizing how you do things. Make sure you’re not overlooking the details either. For example, if you got wrapped up in work and let your Florida Financially Responsible Officer Bond (FRO Bond) lapse, you would lose your license and have to cancel all your projects. Well-run construction companies don’t let anything escape their attention.
2. Excel at Customer Service
One of the biggest complaints people have about construction companies is that they’re terrible at customer service. Some (but not all) companies are hard to reach, unreliable about deadlines, vague about costs, and rude to homeowners. Disrespecting clients has never been a smart business strategy, and it’s more hazardous than ever now that anyone can leave a detailed review online. A couple of bad experiences may be all it takes for new customers to start avoiding you entirely. Therefore, you need to excel at customer service and put policies in place to ensure that service is consistently stellar. Make sure to perfect the basics – things like returning calls and following schedules. You might also consider using service to distinguish yourself from other companies. For instance, telling new clients about your Florida Financially Responsible Officer Bond (FRO Bond) and how it protects them financially from any malfeasance on your part can help demonstrate why you’re the most customer-oriented contractor around.
3. Get Great at Marketing
Since Florida is a great market for construction, there’s a lot of competition in the state. And if you’re not able to stand out, you won’t be able to grow no matter how great your work is. Marketing doesn’t have to require a big investment, but it does take time and tenacity. Figure out who your target audience is – homeowners, business owners, other construction companies, etc. – and then base your strategy around reaching that audience. Craft your marketing message around what they want to hear. Prioritize the marketing channels – social media, print, billboard, etc. – that they are likely to patronize. Also, keep in mind that if you want people to find you, it needs to be easy. That means having a website, email address, social media profiles, and easy-to-find phone number. Above all, be proactive. Don’t expect to sustain your business on word-of-mouth alone.
4. Find Financing
The financial steward of your business is whoever holds the Florida Financially Responsible Officer Bond (FRO Bond). One of their responsibilities should be securing financing. Often, the biggest obstacle to growth is not lack of customers but lack of funds to buy more equipment or hire more staff. Make sure you’re able to capitalize on growth if and when it appears by securing or at leasing investigating financing options. Those include opening a line of credit, selling equity to investors, and applying for loans, among others. Taking on debt is always risky, so it’s important to compare financing sources and providers carefully and to be realistic about your business prospects. As we noted earlier, success is never guaranteed, and securing financing doesn’t always engineer growth. Sometimes the best strategy is to become sustainable rather than always trying to become bigger.
Viking Bond Service has helped many construction companies in Florida achieve their goals. We provide the Florida Financially Responsible Officer Bond (FRO Bond) you’re required to have to obtain a state license. In order to make bonding as easy as possible, we have streamlined the application process and provide your quote in just 1-2 days. And to make bonding more affordable, we search for the lowest rates available. If you have questions about how bonding works and why it’s important, please explore this free resource with all the answers.