There are lots of ways of successfully advertising a business to get more carpentry work. You build a successful carpentry business by building relationships and you do that by being competitively priced (you don't need to be the cheapest), reliable, honest & competent. It's OK not to know everything, just be upfront and know your limitations.
All the ideas on this page are methods I have used to drum up more enquiries and I often have to turn work away or pass it on to carpenter mates because I'm so busy.
Once you've thought of your 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 carpentry 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.
Here is my list of a dozen things I do starting with the easiest & cheapest;
The best form of advertising any business is word of mouth and that comes from behaving in the ways mentioned above.
People like dealing with people they know and will often ask for referrals from family and friends that they trust and/or that have had work done recently. The good thing about referrals as well is that there is an almost instant trust because you have been referred by someone they already trust, which can make it easier to win the job. You must make sure to treat these clients like Gold!
So the first thing I would do is tell all your family and friends about the new business and the type of work you are interested in getting more of. You should also call every tradesman you've met and tell them you've started a business and what type of work you are available for, that if they need any carpentry work you'll be happy to help out.
Every time you finish a job, be sure to ask the customer if they are completely happy and if so would they mind passing your details on if anyone they know is looking for a carpenter.
Importantly! You must be 'referrable'. What I mean by that is before you ask for a referral your client must be really happy with the job. Always make as little mess/disruption as possible, leave the place tidy and under promise/over deliver.
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.
You may not get particularly large jobs here but more the type of job you can do on your way home or in between larger jobs to help fill your time.
Be sure to 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 branded 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 carry out the work.
That could be anything from 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 900mm square or some sandwich style A-frames with your logo and contact details on them. You can lean these against the front and back of the van (which should also be branded) when it is 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, explain to your clients how important referrals are and ask them to rate you on there.
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.
By creating a Facebook page, you can also generate reviews here and post pictures weekly of jobs you are doing so people can find and check out your work before they contact you.
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.
Check out what your competitors are doing and aim to be 10%+ better than them.
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?