JECORMIER

Advertising...your best method to gaining builders / customers?

Recommended Posts

I'm about to start marketing my services and would like to know how other CA members gained builders and customers? Was it flyers / website / direct mail / handshakes / newspaper or magazine ad etc. You get the point. What did you do to get builders to start using you and customers to know that you exist?

 

Do you have an example or template that you found to work well?

 

Before I pull the trigger I thought it would be wise to ask those who have walked this path successfully.

 

Thanks again!

 

Justin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is advertising (probably a waste of money since it requires so many repetitions and is not very credible) and there is marketing (which can pay off big-time), and it's important to understand which is which. Although it is over 25 years old, this is a timeless classic (IMO) and well worth the $0.01 it will cost to get a used copy. https://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Your-Services-Step-Step/dp/0471509485

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

prof. orgs are a "must"

 

website

 

social media

 

if you are NOT an architect then don't claim to be one

 

but using phrases like "I am a designer not an architect"

and "using software by Chief Architect" are big helps for SEO on your website and FB page etc :)

 

word of mouth works also - I started designing with partner part-time in 2005

went full-time late 2006

2007 was first full year - we had 13 clients - 18 projects - and won Merit award for historic remodel

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Richard_Morrison said:

There is advertising (probably a waste of money since it requires so many repetitions and is not very credible) and there is marketing (which can pay off big-time), and it's important to understand which is which. Although it is over 25 years old, this is a timeless classic (IMO) and well worth the $0.01 it will cost to get a used copy. https://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Your-Services-Step-Step/dp/0471509485

It's also on e-books http://ist.softebook.xyz/?book=0471509485

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Put together a package - both examples of your work, references, your design process nicely laid out, helpful info for clients etc.  Then go meet with builders face to face and leave them with copies of your package to hand off to new clients.  Most clients want an easy program to follow, so make it easy to sign up, easy to get a hold of you, easy to pay, and easy access to what you are creating for them.

Don't just e-mail two dozen local builders and say you are offering services.  Make a point to go meet with builders you would like to work with and talk to them on how you can help them gain clients and make their job easier by offering good plans / specs.  Show them how they can make money off of you.  Again, make it easy for them to work with you.

A good website, Houzz account, or other social media is helpful too - although bear in mind that most builders (in my experience anyway) are just barely getting into social media themselves and are probably doing it to advertise their services - not doing it to find a designer.   To gain trust, you need to go shake their hand, visit their jobs, and build a relationship so they will trust you with their clients.  

 

It takes time and determination to build a reputation from the ground up.  Undersell and over deliver.  Be organized and responsive.  Usually anyone willing to apply themselves can find a good degree of success. 

 

  Best of luck!

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Designsyko said:

.......Don't just e-mail two dozen local builders and say you are offering services.  Make a point to go meet with builders you would like to work with and talk to them on how you can help them gain clients and make their job easier by offering good plans / specs.  Show them how they can make money off of you.  Again, make it easy for them to work with you.........

 

Wow,  this is great advice.  Several years ago there was a local new structural engineer in my area....  he kept coming by and talking to me and soliciting my business.  I was happy with the engineer I was using.  But this new guy showed how he WOULD MAKE MY JOB EASIER (using internet for exchanging plans and getting plans stamped and signed).  I eventually left the engineer I was using and went with this new guy.   A great move by me.

 

Point is,  meet with the builders in person and show how you can save the time and money.

 

Who is the DESIGNSYKO with such great advice?  He is probably a woman.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it means Designs wacko, but it is good advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dshall,

 

   Naw, just a working man like the rest of the bunch here.  :)   Had to learn some of this stuff the hard way, but I've also been given my fair share of chances.  If my two cents worth of advice can help somebody else, then that's great.

 

 Designsyko is a jumble of what I do and who I am, kinda like a Bridge Troll or a Drawzilla.  :D  Drawzilla's.... didn't they have those in Jurassic Park?

 

Well, back to basking in front of the two 40" 4K's to crank out the next epic plan.  Draw on my friends!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Sense of humor, I like you already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the way I got my name out in the local community.

I modeled one of the local landmarks, which happened to

be the auditorium for a local high school and donated it to

the school for their use. Even though I'm not really in the

business, I have received several offers to model some

other local buildings in the area. I am currently working on

the oldest school house in the area which was built in 1905.

Here is one of the images of the auditorium that the high

school requested.

AD-RT-58-BW_zpsb9dzkn5q.png

    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 

11 hours ago, Designsyko said:

Dshall,

 

   Naw, just a working man like the rest of the bunch here.  :)   Had to learn some of this stuff the hard way, but I've also been given my fair share of chances.  If my two cents worth of advice can help somebody else, then that's great.

 

 Designsyko is a jumble of what I do and who I am, kinda like a Bridge Troll or a Drawzilla.  :D  Drawzilla's.... didn't they have those in Jurassic Park?

 

Well, back to basking in front of the two 40" 4K's to crank out the next epic plan.  Draw on my friends!

The one thing I insist on is a "written contract"! Sure, I have a portfolio of few projects and designs, but I'm not pressing hard. I don't want to be so busy I have no other life. Learning all Chief has to offer is time consuming enough so, balance the work with productive learning is my motto. I think your approach should reflect your objective. Are you trying to build a huge business quickly or are you content with fewer projects where you spend more time with the client on details? Of course, what you charge and what the market is willing to pay, as well as the level of competition, all play into the equation. 

 

The best advise has been given...under promise and over deliver. Face to Face visits with builders, realtors, engineers and other contractors. Web advertising (an area I need help with now) but not a huge issue as word of mouth is key in my area and what I do. Just make sure you CYOA with a clearly defined scope of work in your contract otherwise "Scope Creep" will haunt you.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rich:

 

doing "pro bono" work is a great way to get noticed

 

however, never work for free for builders and other clients

 

offer to do the first project or two for "payment on approval"

insist on payment IF it goes to permit

 

Lew 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much agreed with Lew-

When I started out with CA I would draw ANYTHING to get the ball rolling with the knowledge that the on the job training was paying for itself.

I made sure that I was very competitive in my pricing to get my foot in the door and used the 3d capabilities of CA to show off my services.

 

As I progressed and became faster I was able to finish jobs quicker -thus making more per job.

On the flip side - as quality my work improved, especially the renderings for client presentation, I was able raise my prices for any given project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you might want to do is explore other markets besides new residential.

Some of the markets that I have been into:

As builts.  This is for contractors that must deliever drawings at the finish of a project.  Look for who was awarded the contract for jobs, city, state, etc.

Investors that own commercial property that need to market their property.  As builts and 3D to show/advertise etc.

I joined the remodelers council at the Home Builders and picked up a lot of work.

Real estate investors clubs are good.  

People selling there condo that market it themselves and need an as built to advertise.

Then there is the dark side of the force......I have alot of attorneys that need drawings.  Some need a drawing of an intersection with location of cars in an accident or as built of house in litigation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Member Statistics

    27449
    Total Members
    6254
    Most Online
    DesignerPro2020
    Newest Member
    DesignerPro2020
    Joined
  • Similar Content

    • By paulmmw7
      For all other Design Build Firms on here, what types of advertising do you guys find success in. We are a young growing company and want to get our name out there as best as we can.
       
      TIA