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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How to Market Yourself as an Independent Contractor

 

Becoming a contractor is one of the best paths you can choose for a career. Whether you decide to work for a large construction firm, a small operation, or fly solo, you'll never have to worry about finding work.

From homeowners needing regular electrical and plumbing work to giant firms needing design and massive facilities, the range of work available to contractors is vast. 

Breaking your own path and going solo as an independent contractor is an exciting way to use your contractor's license. You can hire subcontractors as needed, decide your own hours, only work for clients you like, and work on passion projects. 

But how do you build a client base? Follow the following tips for marketing yourself as an independent contractor. 

Secure Your Contractor's License

First, you'll need to think about preparing for your licensing exam, which you can get help for through sites like contractortrainingcenter.com.

It is possible you won't need a license, however. Each state has different rules for independent contractors. Some require you to have a license; some only need specific city or county registration. Others limit what work you can do by what level of licensure you've attained.

It's best to check with your city, state, and county about licensing requirements, but you can rest assured that you'll need a contractor's license to perform enough work to make a living. If you want real high-paying jobs, clients will need you to prove your safety, responsibility, and competency have been tested and verified.

Build Up an Online Presence

This advice holds for any independent contractor—artist, dog walker, or plumber. These days, everything happens online—all the research points to the fact that today's business marketplace starts and ends online. 

That includes even the manual trades that general contractors specialize in, such as HVAC. Sure, you won't be wiring a new lighting display or installing an HVAC system online, but how are you going to get the word out about your business? Where will you display testimonials, promote your work, handle correspondence, and issue and collect invoices? Where will clients go to find out what services you offer?

Get in touch with your digital side.

Gather and Display Testimonials

The biggest thing clients go off when choosing a new contractor is past testimonials. Of course, no one asked to give a testimonial is going to give a negative one. What's important is that you have them in the first place.

Clients want to know that you've worked before and that the work was good. They want to be able to visualize you doing the work for them. Testimonials help them do that.

Start With Your Friends, and Build Your Network Out

If you're stuck figuring out how to land your first clients, ask your friends and family. Do a bang-up job for them, have them write testimonials, put them on your website, and start reaching out to friends of friends of friends.

Word-of-mouth is how networks grow from those we know outward to those we don't know. Approximately 75% of people report that the impression they get from face-to-face meetings determines whether they're going to go forward with hiring you or not. So make a good impression!

Fortunately, even if it's slow-going at first, you will eventually gain clients. After all, the demand for contractors will never dry up because everybody needs contract work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average general contractor earns around $90,000, and job growth in the field is estimated at 11% by 2026. That's faster than almost every other occupation for that period.

Full Confidence, You Can't Lose

When you enter into situations full of confidence, you can't lose. The same goes for marketing yourself as an independent contractor. Believe in the services you provide, and others will too.

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