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If you are an active reader, you should know by now that S.I. Goldman Company, Inc., and Comfort Systems USA Florida, Inc., receive plenty of ink under the FYI heading “Contractors.” There is a very simple reason for this. Each firm knows the value of marketing, and each firm makes sure that The News knows what is on its docket.
So, where is everyone else? What are you doing that the above two Florida firms are not doing?
There is value in marketing and public relations. Just ask the above firms. Or, better yet, ask Elaine Ingra.
IMAGE IS IMPORTANTIngra is founder of PR Works! of Orlando, FL. It is she who writes and sends the press releases for both S.I. Goldman, a Comfort Systems USA mechanical contractor in Longwood, FL, and Comfort Systems USA Florida, a Tampa-based commercial hvac and refrigeration services provider. Her releases are mailed to The News and other strategic spots, including to local newspapers. In her eyes, the more people who know about your contracting business, the better off your business will be.
“What it says is that we’re busy,” she says. “It says ‘We have a variety of work and we can do it for you.’ If a technician sees that you’re busy or that you hired some good people, they may just apply. And if you get good people, they are like gold today. It can be a huge recruitment tool. It gets your name out.
“It’s a good team-building thing, too. People like to see their name in the paper. It can build a lot of pride and togetherness.”
Not too long ago, if you wanted more work, you just bid for more work. Usually, the low bid got it.
“It’s not necessarily that way anymore,” says Ingra. “It has gotten a lot more sophisticated. Marketing is needed. Owners are more knowledgeable. I know of a mechanical contractor who had to make a 45-minute presentation just the other day in hopes of getting a project. They know their business, but marketing is not necessarily their strength. They needed help and we helped them.”
Ingra does not like to use the word “image,” but that’s part of the marketing-business strategy.
“Your image should reflect your business,” she says. “It’s a symbol of what your business is all about. It’s the quality of your work. It’s how you do business. It’s keeping trucks clean, putting a logo on vans, and having company uniforms, for instance.”
LET’S HEAR FROM YOUUnfortunately, she agrees that many contractors do not see the value in marketing. It’s one of the reasons she stepped away from marketing architecture and engineering services for practices in Orlando. After being on one side of the construction fence, she realized that contractors needed more marketing help.
“A contractor has to determine how he gets his work. He then has to ask himself if he is satisfied with that. If he is not, then he needs to get a marketing plan together. I mean, does he wish to grow? Does he wish to get in new areas? If so, you have to have a plan of attack.”
Ingra is not looking for work, either. She advises contractors to find an agency or a consultant in their area that knows the construction industry “because it is such a unique business.”
“Don’t just go to any ad agency,” she says. “They may just say, ‘Oh, yeah, we can make some ads.’ That’s not all a contractor needs. He needs someone who he can sit down with to promote his company.”
She adds, “If you are a small guy, you just do it on a smaller scale. For instance, you can help yourself by letting the local newspaper know what you are doing.”
You can also help yourself by supplying your information to The News. Greg Mazurkiewicz compiles the FYI section, so let him know by fax (248-362-0317) or by e-mail (mazurkiewiczg@ bnp.com) what’s going on with your firm.
You may have such a good story that we may just follow up with a personal interview or visit your firm in person. The alternative is reading about another honor awarded to S.I. Goldman Com-pany or another appointment at Comforts Systems USA FL.
Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446; 248-362-0317 (fax); firstname.lastname@example.org(e-mail).
Publication date: 09/11/2000