There are lots of ways of successfully advertising a business to get more carpentry work. All the ideas on this page are methods I use to get work and I often have to turn work away or pass it on because I'm so busy.
Once you've thought of a company name, designed a logo and had some stationary made up you are ready to start promoting your new carpentry business and boosting your workload. You'll need a permanent phone number and ideally these days an e-mail address too so people can get hold of you quickly and easily. An e-mail address is also handy for sending quotes and for customers to send photos of work they want done.
The great news is, you don't have to spend loads of money on advertising in the beginning to get more work. And if you ask people how they found you when you are quoting you'll get an idea of which advertising is and isn't working for you.
The main objective when advertising a business is to get your carpentry name and contact information out there in as many ways and places as possible. Successfully advertising a business means having everyone in your area to think of you when they are looking for carpentry services in the areas you operate.
You don't need to do all of the different methods suggested here today, aim to complete one of the methods below each week or month depending on how much extra work you need.
The work is out there. If you're reliable and ensure you do a good job for a reasonable price when you do get the work, then it won't be long before word of mouth recommendations and repeat customers will make up a large part of your marketing, and that's all free!
Here is a list of things to get you started when advertising a business providing carpentry services for the first time, starting with the easiest and cheapest;
The first thing to do is tell all your family and friends about your new business and the type of work you are interested in. Call every tradesman you've met and tell them you've started a business and what type of work you are available for.
Gumtree is free and a great place to advertise your services locally. Make sure you include lots of information about the work you can do, qualifications you have and upload some good photographs of your work.
Get your business cards anywhere with notice boards like local shops, DIY stores and take-away restaurants. Keep the business cards with you at all times and always be on the lookout for places to leave them.
Get some fridge magnets printed off with your details and stick them to your van or whatever vehicle you use for work. If people walk past and are interested they can grab a magnet, they don't need to have a pen to hand! You can also give them to customers you've done work for. When their visiting friends ask about the new kitchen/floor/whatever they will have your number to hand.
Contact the local newspaper and find out about advertising rates. It's easy when first advertising a business to negotiate a special deal, if they know you are a new business and may use them a lot in future they'll want to prove to you that their advertising works. Ask for special trial rates in the beginning or if they have any unsold advertising space that's going cheap.
There are several local magazines in my town that go out to different areas. These are low cost and targeted locally so you won't have to drive too far to quote or carry out the work on these jobs.
Go through the yellow pages and use Google to make a big list of all the estate agents in your area. Find out who the lettings manager is and write a letter to them introducing yourself. Whenever rental properties need maintenance doing it is their job to find tradesmen to do the work. That could be fencing, hanging/replacing doors, new locks, window repair/replacement etc. You might not want all of your work to be jobs like this but in the beginning these little bread and butter jobs will help fill the odd empty hours you have in the diary in between bigger jobs. Probably the cheapest way of advertising a business, it costs almost nothing to write a letter.
There are lots of websites that put customers and tradesmen together. Many of them let you build a profile, choose the type of work you are interested in receiving and after completing the job get rated for your work. There's a list of recommended tradesmen websites here.
Get a sign-writing company to make some small boards about 900m square or some sandwich style with your logo and contact details on. You can lean these against the front and back of the van when it's parked in the road outside a job you are doing or against the skip. Alternatively, attach them to the scaffolding if more people will see it there.
Advertising a business on Google maps helps even if you don't have a website. More and more people are using the 'local search' function to find local businesses and if you're not on the Google map you might as well be invisible to them. If you don't have a website explain why - it's because you keep you're overheads (running costs) low so you can offer customers the lowest prices! Advertise your business quickly and for free on Google maps. Then, ask people to rate you there.
Make yourself more visible to customers by advertising your business in free online directories like these:
If you type "directory: carpenter" into Google, it will return results for all directories visible in Google with carpenters in. Add yourself to all of them!
As soon as you can afford it, get a website built for you. Advertising a business with a website doesn't have to be hugely expensive, or high maintenance. Get something professionally made up and promote it with pay per click advertising at the search engines. This doesn't have to cost a lot either, you can set a range so only web users within a certain distance can view your ads and set a daily ad budget so the cost doesn't escalate uncontrollably.
Sitesell services are one of the most successful website construction companies in the world. They can either build you a highly customised carpentry website and then optimise and promote it for you so it gets found. Or, they can provide you with a complete set of tools so you can research for and build your own website - DIY. I use them, and you found me! Without a website you are virtually invisible to the ever growing number of people who search for services online.
This might sound strange, but competition is a great thing. It brings out the best in you and forces you to improve everything you do.
Firstly, make a list of you're 10 biggest competitors. Next, research every single one of their advertising efforts from newspapers or local radio to business directories etc. Once you have a list of the ways each one is advertising a business, go one better and use all of the advertising methods for yours! Start with the cheapest and easiest, then as your business grows you can start crossing the more expensive methods off your list too.
Start building a carpentry portfolio as soon as you can. Use it when you've got your foot in the door to sell and fill it with lots of pictures, references, previous experience, insurance certificates and everything else that would help boost a customers confidence in you and get them to sign up.
Once you start getting inquiries about the carpentry work you do use the tips on estimating and pricing work here to make sure you are charging competitive prices.
Have a question or comment about advertising a business?