Contractors Need Their Own Web Addresses

I read John R. Hall’s Sept. 29 column [“Taking Care of Business: Failures Linked to Website Ignorance”] about the need for contractors to have their own unique Web address. I couldn’t agree more! I’d add to that the importance of business e-mail addresses sharing the same domain as their Website. A business appears less credible and less technically sophisticated when their business e-mail address is with Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo!, sbcglobal, etc.

One of the things we’ve discovered is that moving to the Web is intimidating for some contractors. They’re worried about what they don’t know, worried that they’ll make mistakes, and worried about the cost. So we decided to make it easy for them and introduced a low-cost, entry-level Website for Service Roundtable members. We exactly agree with Hall’s column. We’ve been telling our members without a Web address their business just doesn’t exist for many potential customers.

David Heimer
Chief Operating Officer
Service Roundtable

One Man's Answers to Industry Questions

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mark Skaer’s Editors Blog, “Skaer-Tactics: More Questions to Ponder …” Sept. 29]

The questions are interesting. I have no answers, but some opinions on some of them:

Why contractors don’t have a Website. We do have one and I would say it is only marginally helpful. One argument for not having one is that your liability insurance broker will certainly go to it and see if he can find things you are doing that requires you to buy additional insurance. This has happened to us.

I have another company in another state that specializes in building automation and security and access controls. These guys are system integrators and very successful. They see no need for a Web page.

Is the Internet helping or hurting? It is definitely helping our business, and I can’t imagine how we could operate without it. Also the Chiller Systems Group is a group of contractors who share information and solve problems using our mail list.

Do you believe in LEED? We are getting people certified simply because it’s the price of poker. The market apparently wants this and the specifications are demanding it. Most of us are aware of the provisions and try to follow them. I think we have probably gone a little overboard with the requirements.

Who has the power? I know contractors feel they are at the bottom rung of the ladder, and they have no influence. Of course it’s the market itself that has the real power, but contractors can influence how the market is served. To do so they must ban together and work as a team. It’s difficult because contractors are an independent bunch and don’t like to work as a member of a pack. The Chiller System Group (CSG) has been able to accomplish some things that have enhanced the contractor position and influence in the market.

Pat Rucker
Entech Sales & Service

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Publication date:11/17/2008