Chicken Little and other Great Financial Advisors
by: Mark Lepper
It's no secret that the building industry has been buffeted by financial storms lately. Hundreds, if not thousands, of contractors and building professionals have left the trade searching for other work. I have friends who lament the numbers of new housing starts and unemployment numbers. Some opt for long term unemployment and pray it doesn't run out. Fear seems to have gripped the industry as manufacturers and suppliers reduce inventories, poking their proverbial heads into the sand waiting for the end of the world. It seems many are little different from Chicken Little, whose answer to every challenge was to run and hide, fearing the falling sky.
Let's look at worst case scenarios. Let's not assume a 10 percent unemployment rate that government agencies feel we could reach. Let's assume a 12 percent rate. Are you in the bottom 12 percent of all workers? Are 88 percent of all workers better at just about everything than you? The market has been down, which means the wealthier among the population are looking for a place to put their money. High end remodeling projects are a viable alternative; explain to potential customers how real estate is always a good investment in the long run. Foreclosed homes often fall in to disrepair. The new owners need them fixed up. Are you going after business or just waiting for it to fall in your lap? Be aggressive, hand out business cards, go after business. The market will turn around soon, and there will be plenty of work for everyone. But, but until that day comes you have to aggressively pursue the work.
I recently talked with a friend of mine that is completely full with work. He is a remodeler who is booked out many weeks in advance. Guess what, he is in the South Bend/Elkhart, Indiana market. If you believe the news, you'd think that Elkhart is the newest ghost town. How did my friend do it? He hands out his phone number to everyone he meets. It might not be the best advertising, but it works for him. He knows that there is remodeling work to do out in South Bend/Elkhart, Indiana, and he is completely convinced that he should have it.
Don't be discouraged, realize that you have a valuable service to offer your customers and promote yourself. If you have the right attitude, you're sure to get more business than the next guy who is hiding his head in the sand.