Business Articles - Marketing

Hidden Pockets of Revenue

The problem with New Year's resolutions is that as much as we want things to change, we hate changing our routines. You might want to get in shape, learn a new skill, go back to school, or grow your business, but who has the time to pull from an already full schedule? Especially in our industry, free minutes are just as hard to find during the work day as they are in a cell phone plan. But that doesn't mean they aren't there.

As the year comes to a close and you are thinking about what to do differently next year, there might just be some hidden ideas that won't take more time, but could provide some hidden pockets of work.

Driving Farther

Gas prices being what they are, driving farther than you currently are is not likely to soothe your expense column. However, there could be some additional areas just beyond your current one that would be of tremendous benefit. So, as they say, if you wouldn't cross the street for the wrong job, wouldn't you drive just a little farther for the right one?

But how can you save time checking out these new areas? First, don't make any special trips just to look for areas that might need your services. If you are planning to go out and eat somewhere with your spouse, go to a new area instead. Go a little early and get the lay of the land. If any reason takes you to a new area, explore a little. You know the kind of homes that need your help, and you will know a good area when you see it.

For example, in Denver there is roughly three miles between the Downtown area and I-70 that goes into the mountains. Referred to as "The Highlands", this area is full of older homes that are being refurbished by the young and able. However, inside of The Highlands is Berkeley Park, Potter Highlands, Mountain View, Harkness Heights, and the list goes on. Harkness Heights, for example, is a small 10 block area of mammoth, brick homes that are elevated from the street. There are hardly any homes in that area that are new and aren't brick. So if you install brick siding, or perform tuckpointing, you might have just found a little gold mine by visiting a different area.

Research Home Sales

Home sales are public knowledge, and depending on the city and state where you live, there is likely a database where you can look up home sales. currently does this to some extent, as their algorithm works off of these statistics. By checking into these areas, you not only get a sense for where homes are being worked on the most, but also their value. If you are a remodeler who only does jobs over $80,000, you likely don't need to dabble in areas where the sales average $150,000. In the same vein, a metal roofing contractor doesn't have much need for subdivisions with asphalt shingle covenants.

As for when to fit this research into your day— when you are waiting for your kids to get ready for school, or for water to boil, or during a ball game that is no longer interesting— charge yourself with looking for recent home sales during those times. After you do it a few times, you'll get interested, and after that it'll be easy to make time for it.

Old Neighborhoods

No one would be surprised to hear that older neighborhoods are hot spots for home improvement professionals. Many of these old neighborhoods are becoming gentrified and are full of potential work, and potential repairs for all those DIY projects gone wrong. Even the neighborhoods that are not seeing the yuppie resurgence are still in dire need of repairs and updates.

When you are out on your next job, any job really, keep your eyes peeled for the tell-tale signs of homes that fit the bill. If you notice a neighborhood with several, you might have just found a new hidden pocket of revenue. Like you found a $20 in your pocket.

ServiceMagic Market Activity

At they actually generate a map of the entire US that reflects areas where they are receiving tons of requests, areas that are steady, and areas that are cold. Just go to their site and you can play around with their Market Activity Report in any state and area. If you're a member professional, they will send you a custom map to your exact area and type of work so you can see where most of the requests are happening close to you.

If you go this route, it really saves you time because this report comes in a custom email, and monthly in their newsletter. Even if those sources get past you, you can always look it up yourself on their site.

Brass Tacks

Even if you already have a sweet spot neighborhood or aren't looking to better your business over last year, these tactics are still solid ideas. You need to be thinking about the best job for you and for your business, and it just might be a few miles away. But those few miles would be worth it.

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