The following draft article on crowdsourcing technology explains what you can do as a contractor to make the most of your time online!
Contractors get ready... There is a drastic change coming to the way your customers are finding and buying your services.
That change is called crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing happens when a homeowner posts a project or job description once and allows everyone interested in bidding the job access to do so.
To day there are a few websites that are created just for crowdsourcing labor. Some of them allow access to contractors that have been prescreened, others charge a fee for contractors to view customer details like phone numbers and email addresses.
Other sites like those created by Open Source Markets allow everyone equal access to the job information and even act on your behalf to ensure that the jobs performed are beneficial to your community.
Traditionally your customers found you by using the Yellow Pages. That was a great tool, and for its time it brought your services to the market place like none other.
After the yellow pages came the web search… and this is still the dominant method for sourcing professionals like plumbers, electricians, painters, remodelers, and handyman services.
Now there are a few people using Craigslist to crowdsource jobs, but the value of Craigslist only goes so far… One of the benefits of the site is that it allows you to post a description of your services on the small business ads or in the skilled trades services categories… but often these listing are very limited and including pictures and links to your website takes somewhat advances skills.
Once you have posted a description of your contracting company it is almost instantly buried by the listing of hundreds of your competions advertisements
Now there are other ways of promoting your business online today that are more effective than Craigslist but Craigslist seems to be the go to place for handyman and landscapers looking for work and an easy promotion.
This article is not about promoting your business through the available channels… It is about preparing you for the game changing effect that crowdsourcing is having on almost every industry..
Wether or not I convince you of the coming change is not the point… the point here is for those that see the future of buying and selling services is online… I want to help you get prepared.
First off you should be cataloging every job you perform, yes that sounds like a lot of work, but it will give you a substaintial advantage when porting your job history and customer reviews into a crowdsourcing system.
Get a letter of recomendation from every customer even if it is a simple one liner like “Mike and his team did great work, I highly recommend them to anyone seeking a contractor in Dallas”
Get pictures and even video of your construction work. Having abundant images in your portfolio will always set you apart from your competition. In most cases customers want to see that you have completed similar work even if that should be understood, an image will always help you to close the deal and get the job.
Postitioning your business to compete on both price and VALUE…
Value is someting that can be seen as very different from price… for instance your company provides added value by using green building methods, recycling building materials, offering your services to your community, or even shaping your community with the progressive nature of your companies mission or values.
For instance company A provides landscaping services at a rate that is well below industry standards, but uses a labor force that is not US citizens, and pays their employees a wage that is far below the established standard for quality living… They will always win the customer that is shopping for price alone, and how can you compete!
More to come for Contractors and Homeowners.