It’s ALWAYS possible to get word of mouth.
Try CraigsList @ first - get a few job photos on there; a digital camera is going to run you about $ 200.00 or so & in my opinion, it’s one of the BEST investments you can make.
As far as a CL ad goes, set yourself apart from the others by puting photos up there. A lot of guys just do bare text & they don’t sell near as much or @ least get interest from potential customers.
Here’s MY ad in the Austin area:
You should be able to use job references for projects you did under someone else’s sold name; if you can, contact these homeowners & explain you’re going solo & ask if you can use them as a reference for the work portion (because obviously someone else can lay claim to the sales end of it).
If you have a Toastmaster’s in your area (look them up) I suggest you go to @ least 5 or 6 month’s worth of their sessions because it will help you to become more comfortable talking to strangers & you’ll learn about the communication process in dealing with customers.
Get signage for your trailer, your truck(s), your Mom’s car, your sister in law’s bicycle… get your ads out everywhere you can. Name recognition means a LOT.
Have biz cards made (vistaprint.com) & worry about having nifty logos later on. Put them up everywhere you see a pegboard & hand them out like it’s free candy. NEVER take off your game face. Offer advice whenever you can. Post here often. If you see someone in the shingle aisle @ Home Depot when you go by to get a lead jack or one roll of felt, talk up somebody who looks like they are confused. If you see someone buying a turbine, ask a qu/estion or two & if the situtation is right, explain why they are a waste of money.
That’s a basic start…
Thanks ranchhand for helpful info. I suppose I can ask some of the previous houses that we did for references, I actually know a few of the top of my head. We already for business cards, and actually made rip hangers (door hanger + detachable business card). I am not sure how good they will be in generating leads, but I think its going to work, due to the fact I will be personally hanging them on houses that are in need of a new roof. That should also give a chance to speak to the owner in some cases. I will defiantly try craigslist. Another question is, what are some closing points in a sale? what is the best way to convince the owner to hire you for the job and not a different guy?
I would use magnetic signs to start. That way you can take them off when you are doing your sub work.
Are you crazy trying to start a business now in Michigan ? The economy sucks… Good luck !!
Probably the worst time to start a business is right now.
I would continue to sub if you can and work for the future for your own business.
Yah its rough here in michigan about the only guys who are keeping busy are the illegal[who have opened shop] or the low ballers.Who could be one in the same but that being said you have to open a door to get outside so go ahead and i wish you the best find that niche and fill it.good luck.
Yes, I defiantly understand that the economy is not the greatest right now in michigan. But if you think about it, there is never a good time to open a business. There will always be some reason why you wouldn’t want to open a business, but if you have that kind of mind set, you probably will never open one. We still plan on doing our sub work, and we don’t plan on leaving until we know for sure that we have enough work and customers to go out on our own. And I do understand that this will probably not happen anytime soon but I have patience. The way I look at it, by the time the economy get better here in Michigan, I plan on being a well established company.
One-Day - Can’t you keep your sub company around? It could take some time for you to have nothing but ‘your’ jobs. You could be busy for four weeks, and slow the next six. I’m guess they don’t want to cut ties with you cold turkey… but then I don’t know them either.
I would guess he’s not going to tell the ‘other guys’ that he’s going solo when they can’t keep him busy.
for a sub crew, there’s no way you can require that they only work for you. The best you could do is to pay them right, treat them right, & provide an endless supply of 1 story 5:12’s & no skylights.
You need to sell yourself and your company not a your price. Don’t try to compete on just price. You can’t be legit and compete with the worthless hacks that don’t have insurance/workers comp and so on. Canvassing is a very good method. Be sure to establish name recognition. It will propell your business. If you haven’t picked out a name yet pick one that is easy remember. I recommend staying away from names with initials (like E&S Roofing) and don’t use your personal name as part of your company name. That was first thing I learned in business school. When I started my own business I had decals that were 5"x7" in size with our logo and phone#'s. WE posted them everywhere. It got our name out and created exposure. ALso ask(and don’t just ask insist) each customer to give at least 5-10 names of people who they know may need a roof or etc. I also highly recommend finding a good accountant and contacting the local SCORE organization in your area. THose guys are great.