The beauty of having a marketable trade skill is that you’re relatively immune to the volatility of the job market. One might even say being a contractor is pandemic-proof, since there will always be demand for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work, among other trades, regardless of the economic situation.
Still, this doesn’t mean there’s no more challenge in landing clients and commercial project deals when you’re a contractor in Ohio. The competition is fierce, and you will indubitably find yourself contending against hundreds of other skilled workers for your prospects’ attention and business. As such, you need to find your competitive advantage to be considered one of the best in your chosen industry.
Here’s how you can increase your marketability in the Ohio contractor’s market.
1. Learn new skills
Clients, especially in the residential sector, actually hate having to find and having to deal with various contractors to cover all their needs. For instance, clients who would contract you for plumbing work would be delighted to know that you can also solve their electrical and HVAC maintenance needs. So it might be worthwhile to consider learning a new skill or trade if your goal is to increase marketability.
However, learning new skills is not all about acquiring new competencies. It also covers learning soft business skills like leadership, communication, and marketing — all of which can help your cause in staying ahead of the curve as far as being a contractor goes.
2. Keep your licenses up to date
Do not let yourself fall behind when it comes to complying with the continuing education requirements in Ohio for contractors. You need updated licenses before you can bid on any commercial projects, so you can’t expect to land any new business before you get your license approved or renewed.
Keep in mind that along with your industry-specific licensure exam, you also need to pass the Business and Law Exam, so make sure you are prepared to ace both.
3. Solicit reviews and referrals from past clients
It is true that when it comes to contractors, the best advertising strategy is word-of-mouth. People are more likely to let you into their homes and businesses to get work done if they know someone who has already contracted your services and was satisfied with the work you did.
Getting referrals is definitely one of the best ways to land new business, but take note that you can’t expect your past and current customers to do this out of their own volition. In fact, asking for referrals is another delicate skill you have to master in the interest of getting new customers.
4. Expand your professional network
Now, aside from previous clients who can vouch for the quality of your work, as well as your professionalism and work ethic, your business can also benefit from having a network of competent suppliers in your supply chain.
It pays to have household names in Ohio within your supply chain so that clients can feel secure that you mean business.
5. Be a known expert in your trade
You will always hear advice about how you should beef up your resume and portfolio with new accolades and accomplishments, but this will only work with relevant additions to your list of achievements and experience. If you want to be considered an expert in your chosen industry, you have to chase relevant engagements like being a resource speaker in webinars in your field, or otherwise hosting some of your own courses online.
Writing a book or having a Youtube channel to document your past work and competencies could also help, especially if you have a little extra time on your hands to produce such work. The goal is to be Ohio’s go-to professional in your trade of choice.
6. Find a mentor/mentee
Being in a mentor-mentee relationship may not directly increase your marketability, but it will definitely help you reach greater heights, learn new skills, and get to know more people in the process. In exchange, your mentor/mentee can leave you with learnings you will otherwise never learn in a classroom or textbook setup.
Being a contractor in Ohio offers a challenging yet rewarding career. You just have to be on your toes in staying ahead of the competition if your goal is to be one of the best contractors in the state.