Amanda Lamb's big tips for small businesses

Amanda shares her top tips on how small businesses can win construction work in the private sector

1. Keep your skills up to date

This can make an enormous difference. Learning new skills and new ways of doing things means you’re always on top of everything. Would I rather have somebody who trained 30 years ago and has never done anything new, or someone who’s gone on lots of different courses and kept their regs and certificates together? Absolutely the one who keeps their skills fresh.

2. Stay in touch with your customer

Whether you can’t get the right equipment, you’re going to be delayed or whatever - just phone. If you’re taking on a big project like a garden or extension, have a meeting with the client once a week. Say right, we’re going to be doing this, this and this and by Friday we’ll hopefully have this done. For a customer, communication is the most important thing.

3. Offer options and suggestions

This helps you stay ahead of the competition. One side of our garden is Victorian brickwork and we wanted to replicate it on the other side. Our builder bent over backwards. He turned up with brochures of bricks and samples and talked us through the options. It made the whole process enjoyable and helped both my husband and I to visualise it.

4. Keep your work area tidy

At the end of every day, make sure it’s all swept up and neat. Having any kind of building work done in your house is stressful and you can keep that stress for clients to a minimum by keeping it tidy. Our builder would always come in with the cups of tea we’d made and put them in the dishwasher. Little things like that make a really big difference, so you’re not running round the garden at 10 o’clock at night collecting up cups.

5. Go green

Green credentials are something we all need to look at quite seriously for things such as solar panels and underground heat pumps. So that’s something for people who are thinking of enhancing their skills to look at.

6. Carry business cards!

It would just be good for anyone reading this to think, I just need to keep business cards on me. I have a big pile of my builder’s cards at the front door and whenever someone asks for a recommendation, I hand them out. Ask the people you’re working for to do the same if they think you’ve done a good job. You can spend a fortune on advertising in all the local magazines and God knows what else but most people, myself included, take recommendations from other people.

The skilled R&M work on your doorstep...

The English Housing Survey from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) reveals how many homes are in need of some repair or maintenance, by region.

South East – 3,654,000 homes

Greater London – 2,655,000 homes

Yorkshire and Humberside – 2,497,000 homes

North West – 2,300,500 homes

East Midlands – 2,216,000 homes

West Midlands – 2,112,500 homes

South West – 1,505,500 homes

Eastern England – 1,434,000 homes

North East – 931,500 homes

Read our interview with Amanda Lamb to find out what other advice she has for builders.

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