When a basement is flooded due to rain or sump pump failure or both, the homeowner can’t ignore the problem until a more convenient time. If he did, water damage would rot his belongings and the foundation of his home, and mold development would begin to compromise indoor air quality. All of which would eventually lead to chronic health problems among residents, and an ugly drop in home valuation. So the homeowner gets on the phone, in desperate need of – a basement waterproofing contractor.
This is good news for anyone who has lost a job in construction or other service sectors. If you’re handy with tools, like helping people improve the safety of their dwellings and have always wanted to own your own business – consider basement waterproofing. If you already own a van or pickup truck, you can start this type of business with as little as about $400 for materials.
For those construction pros who still are not convinced, consider this: I have yet to see a serious drop in sales in this or the previous fiscal year, despite serious erosion in other business sectors due to the biggest economic downturn in America since the Great Depression. My business primarily supplies basement waterproofing and crawl space sealing contractors. If they were hurting, believe me, I would be hurting.
Let’s Get Real – and Rich
Obviously, consumers are cutting back on purchases of luxury items, vacations and entertainment. But the average Joe can’t afford to let his home – his kingdom and perhaps the biggest investment of his life – go to pot. So he is willing to hire a professional who offers not a cosmetic upgrade but an essential service. Here’s how you start a basement waterproofing contractor business.
Step 1: Find a buddy you can work with, because many basement and crawl space tasks can’t be done by one person, or are simply more efficient when done by a pair of workers. Your buddy doesn’t need to be a business partner, but he must be compatible, reliable and willing to withstand start-up frustrations. Those frustrations begin with cash flow. Make sure your partner or helper understands that all good things take time.
Also, find someone who brings something to the ballgame. Maybe the man you hire isn’t as skilled as you are, yet he has sales experience or access to other professional people who may toss a referral your way. Right now a lot of people are out of work. Hook up with someone hungry to make a new, profitable beginning.
Step 2: How do you get your first job? You better have some marketing and sales savvy or a willingness to shake some hands and say hello to people. Many businesses fail simply because no one knows they exist. To begin, your truck is a moving billboard. Make sure it is always clean and painted with a sales-minded message and contact information. Be ready to spend some money for marketing, but not necessarily advertising, which is expensive and not always effective. Marketing could be a simple flyer that is handed out in your target neighborhood. Set up a free or low cost website via WordPress, Wix or GoDaddy so that people can find you and your contact info online. Keep it simple, but keep it going day after day. Reach out.
Step 3: Start with a basic, much-needed service. Most every homeowner with poured concrete walls needs crack injection to stop water seepage and eventual moisture damage. Hone this skill so that you can do six to eight jobs per day. You can get started with a materials purchase of about $400. And some suppliers offer instruction videos and support at their websites. As cash flow improves, add another basic service that doesn’t require a big cash outlay for materials.
Step 4: When you meet a homeowner for the first time, clean up your act. I know you work in basements all day. But bring a fresh shirt and pair of pants so that you can always upgrade your look any time you bid on a project. The first impression is the most important. Present well and you’ll be a welcomed guest.
Step 5: Finally, one of the best reasons for starting a basement waterproofing business is this: it naturally attracts referrals – if you do a good job. Every homeowner is looking for reliable services. Word-of-mouth travels fast in a neighborhood where everyone has a basement. The best and least expensive PR you’ll ever get is from a satisfied customer.
The first step is always the hardest. Start by choosing a neighborhood. Introduce yourself with courtesy and respect. And expect to succeed. American homeowners need you – in this or any economy.