business tips 05


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 - Get a 50% deposit at the job start. If it's huge job, take 25%. Take another 25% in the middle of the job, or whetver works for you. Make sure you have all your contract forms in order. Make sure you make yourself very clear on when you get payed. There's nothing worse than someone dragging their feet on paying you. You have bills to pay, too. Don't be shy about money. Some people will see your apprehension and stretch out your generosity. Be firm.

- Technology: have it. Use our website to promote yourself. You have a gallery to use there and an intro video. If you like our site, so will your customers. We made the site for you and them. You ought to have a computer to e-mail pictures and a good digital camera with a decent flash to take pictures. Have a good printer to print pictures for your great portfolio. It's important that your work, or our gallery pictures, look great on a laptop computer if you are showing clients a compelling slide show.

-Blogs,, Constant Contact, and much more - There can be volumes written on internet campaigns, and there are. Research all these tools. They can be your make your business stellar. Most online campaigns are free, if very cheap. There is too much to say on the subject so I leave it up to you to do your homework.  Go to the bookstore. Check out books on online marketing. Most stuff might not pertain to your business, but there are some great ideas that can make your business very successful.

- Make sure your contacts understand how your referal fee works. On a $20,000 job, this can be $4,000 in their pockets. It's real money. Surprisingly, most people will never react to this offer, so use it as a last resort.

- Drop names. It's a nice marketing tool when beating the pavement. People will be less likely to close the door on you. Research your targets well. Try not to come in blind when selling someone on your services and product. Find out what projects they're doing. If you know something about them, use it in your opening line. Stroke their egos. Use charm and jokes. It's not unlike getting a date; except you are profiting financially from the relationship. That's most any business. Remeber most people that come in to try to sell something are usually bland and same as the last guy. Personality is a welcome change of pace to prospects.

- This goes without saying - be confident. Come into a project site knowing that you are the best wall finisher ever and that you will make the walls look amazing. Your customers desperately need you, but they don't know it yet. 

- Again, be persistent. It takes at least 6-7 contacts with someone to make them comfortable with you. Make an excuse for each time you see them, or call them. Say you have new samples, or you want to send them a CD with all your/our sample pictures, or you were in the neighborhood, whatever fits your personality; just keep trying until they think of you as The Plaster Wall Finisher to go to. Keep going nice and steady. Successful people appreciate others who are persistant. They will eventually give you a shot.

-As a plaster business, your job is to sell plaster, not apply it. Most 2 coats applications are very easy. Selling is the hard part. That's the real creative element of your business. It's should be so easy, that it shouldn't be a problem hiring part time people to apply it for you. Get drywallers or other plasterers. Easy to find off craigslist. All you have to do is supervise. If you think of plaster as an art, you'll start to think that only you or specially trained people can do it. This limits your business potential. If you have to, do the cool colorful stuff that your workers can't do. Show off on the accent areas so that your customer is impressed and leave the basic stuff to your crew. Pay them well , and they'll treat you well. If you're making $1000 per person per day, you have plenty of room to be generous. Consider also that if you're making only $300 per day per person (meaning you're applying at something like $2-$3 per foot, 5 guys constantly working for you is still a small fortune.

Again, there are billions of square feet of walls and ceilings ou there. More than enough for everyone. And most of should be covered in plaster. People spend fortunes on countertops, wood floors, tiles, etc. Yet they end up surrounding themselves in a coat of plastic paint. Gypsum texture, primer, and 2 coats of paint can already cost up to $2 per foot. Plaster is just a little extra, and gives so much more. The beauty, longevity and health factors are incomprable to anything else. Make sure you know how to convey it. Show your passion and your customers will be more than just a paycheck. Make it rewarding and beneficial for everyone.

And lastly -