So you’ve fallen in love with a hammer and nails. Or maybe your DIY home renovations were so lovely that your friends began asking for help with theirs. Well, there’s nothing more rewarding than working with your hands to make a space beautiful and inviting, again.
Beginning a new business venture can be quite nerve-wracking. From trying to figure out if you should hire fulltime employees to how to budget and quote reno jobs, there’s a lot to learn when starting your new renovation business. But you can do it. You have the skill, determination, and the means to make homeowners smile.
When you’re beginning your business, you will want to save money where you can and be able to help your customers find room in their budgets for beautiful, timeless, functional design.
While you may be aware of some of these tips, they are always a good reminder. And if you’ve never thought of one or two, you can add them into your day-to-day to help keep costs down while saving you time.
Make and Set a Budget
This tip may seem obvious: of course, clients know their budgets and you probably have an idea of how much a renovation project will cost. But have you considered your overall operating budget in the details and what it will take to stay in business?
To make a budget for your new business, you have to think of everything. Account for fuel, vehicle insurance, taxes, marketing, payroll, equipment such as a one man scaffold tower hire, rental space for equipment, supplies (including upkeep for those you already own), and what you feel is a fair hourly wage for yourself. While you need to keep your salary in mind when calculating the cost of jobs, you do not need to share this number when quoting clients.
There are plenty of free tools online that can help you figure out what your budget is and should be. Once you have a budget do your best to stick to it.
Spend Your Money Wisely
While your clients want the best, and you want to give them the best, you have to make sure the best fits into their budget. If your client only has the budget for laminate flooring, it’s important to express this to them in a kind manner. You can help them find the best laminate options for their budget of course. But you should never let a client’s demands for upgrades cut into your profit margin.
You can also think outside of the box to make your clients’ budgets go further. If you have a client that wants the best on a budget, offer to take them to shop surplus sales with you. Other options include shopping at recycling centers like Habitat for Humanity ReStore or local recycle centers where contractors donate their excess materials.
Prepare for Off Season
If you live in South Texas or Florida, the demand for your services may stay steady all year round. In fact, they may even increase in the wintertime when other regions see a decline. But nationally, you should anticipate an increase in sales after tax season when homeowners have a little extra money through fall. Most people use their extra money around Thanksgiving into the New Year for holiday expenses, so these time may be less busy for you.
Turn seasonality into a positive. If you have a client that has a tight budget, offer to complete their job during a time you expect to see a decline in work. This can keep the money coming in for you while offering your client a slightly better deal.
Rent a Truck for a Few Months
A truck is an absolutely essential tool for a renovation business. You should expect to haul appliances, cabinetry, countertops, lumber, brick, and other building materials. This is especially true if you’re shopping secondhand cabinetry or countertops. When it comes to ensuring your work vehicle, you can expect the price to increase according to the weight and hauling capacity of the truck.
One way you can save money it to outsource your vehicle for the first year. This is a great way to cut the initial cost of your business while you’re still getting established.
Offer the Best Customer Service
The number-one reason homeowners use small businesses for renovations is that they want better customer service. Working with bigger companies, clients can often feel overlooked or unheard. Luckily, as a small business owner, you can provide your customer with quality renovations and excellent customer service.
Some ways you can set yourself apart from those bigger reno companies and the home improvement stores include:
- Offer to save and reuse what you can from their existing room. This reduces waste and can offer your client savings. It’s also an honest practice to keep. If a bathroom’s cabinetry will look great painted with a new sink and countertop, let your client know. Then they can make the decision to tear it out or keep it. The same goes for their light fixtures and baseboards. You can often charge a little extra for the labor required to save these things.
- Offer your client insight into resale value. If your client is renovating to resell or they might consider reselling in the next 5-10 years, give them a heads up if what they’re choosing is too specific to their taste. Or make them aware of how much a project will add to their home value during resale.
- Give your client a timeline and stick to it. Building trust and gaining repeat clients means keeping your word. While this goes for the budget, it also applies to your timeline. Clients want o know when their project is going to be done. This falls into the ‘under promise and over deliver’ category. If you say a bathroom remodel will take 5 weeks, but you finish it in 4, your client is sure to be thrilled.
If you’re not sure if your customer service is up to snuff, check out 5 Signs Your Company Needs Better Customer Service.
As your business grows and thrives, keep in mind why you began and set your business apart from your competitors. Don’t get overwhelmed or feel intimidated. Know that you can offer better service, a better finished-project, insight into resale value, and you deliver on time.