How do we get rid of the 'Cowboy Builder' label once and for all?

3 Oct 2014

The term ‘cowboy builders’ has been unfairly associated with the home improvement industry for decades. But how do we get rid of this name?

Cowboy builder - silhouette of a decorator/contractor

The term ‘cowboy builders’ has been unfairly associated with the home improvement industry for decades. Like any industry, we have our share of dishonest tradespeople, but to use the term so generally discredits the exceptional service and products that the majority of our industry’s workers deliver.

Distinguishing yourself as a reputable builder or contractor is important for the future success of your business. We’ve come up with a few ways to help you make the right statement about your business.

1. Stand out from the competition with great marketing

Imagine you’re a customer. You need a new conservatory. You see two adverts. Are you going to choose the company that has a small advert in the local parish times or the company that has adverts on every bus stop in town, with sleek graphics and engaging content? It’s a no-brainer: you’d choose the second, every time. That’s why, the quality of your marketing is so important – because it direct affects the reputation of your business.

It’s no surprise then that the terrible marketing practices and materials that many companies use unintentionally reinforce the ‘cowboy builder’ stereotype associated with our industry. You have one chance to make an impression with a consumer, so use it well by investing in high quality marketing services. Employ an experienced copywriter to create your adverts. Get a skilled designer to create your logo. Develop a social media presence to promote your products.

Above all, make sure that your marketing is professional and coherent: its quality reflects the quality of your business.

2. Make a name for yourselves as the good guys

Developing a reputation as a company that fixes the mistakes of cowboy builders can reap dividends in the long term, and is a great way to develop your reputation. Somerset home improvement company, Mendip Conservatories, are one such company that have really benefited by helping to solve the problems created by cowboy builders.

By regularly sorting out botched jobs that other companies won’t touch, Mendip Conservatories have built a steady reputation online and through word of mouth, for providing exceptional services and customer care. One of the botched jobs they recently helped to correct was even featured in an episode of the BBC home improvement programme, Don’t Get Done, Get Dom. Their business has really grown as a result of their great reputation, helped by their CPA member status.

3. Become homeowner friendly

Becoming homeowner friendly is one of the most important ways that we can shed the industry’s false reputation. By emphasising our extensive skills and experience, and the quality of our services we can directly combat the unfair reputation of our industry.

Go the extra mile to prove to your customers that you really are trustworthy; keep your quote system transparent, keep your deals simple and easy to understand, create a showroom of your products to show your customers the quality of the products they’ll be receiving. All of these steps will really help to boost the reputation of your business for being homeowner-friendly.

4. Get a website and an online presence

Building a decent high quality website is perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve the reputation of your business. It’s been found that approximately 89% of people look at a company’s website during the buying process, making it an incredibly useful asset.

A high quality website convinces customers that your company is reliable, trustworthy and reputable, and serves as a great place to provide information on your products and to generate leads.

On top of this, 83% of consumers say that it’s essential for a local business to social media presence. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter aren’t just some passing fad: they’re viable ways of generating customers and increasing the promotion of your business and brand. When done in the right way, your website and social media presence can really boost your reputation, and your leads.

5. Generate a culture of reviews

Generating testimonials and reviews from your customers is another brilliant way to increase the reputation of your business. By incentivising your customers to leave an online review or testimonial about their experience of doing business with you, your company can be provided with an incredibly effective way of boosting your reputation. A honest, accurate review of your service by a customer really affects how other customers view your business.

The CPA: Marketing experts in the construction industry

Here at the CPA, we have 20 years’ experiencing supporting general builders, contractors and other tradespeople with high quality marketing advice and materials. We’re passionate about helping you stand out from the crowd and highlight the positive aspects of our industry.