Small construction businesses have a hard time surviving in a crowded market. Indeed, even though the building sector shows no sign of slowing down, small family firms can find it challenging to secure their position on the market against corporates and national building companies. More often than not, small businesses choose to act as subcontractors on large commercial construction sites.
But what happens when your area runs out of commercial sites? Indeed, sites that are located in a different region are more likely to find subcontractors among the local companies, aka you may not be on the list. For a small building business, the transition towards residential gigs is a fundamental move to the survival of the company.
Equipment for commercial & individual projects
If you’ve been working on large sites until now, it’s fair to say that you may not have the appropriate equipment in terms of size and performance for a residential project. However, you can consider hiring smaller machinery and engines while you test the market, a van or ute hire is an excellent place to start. You’re likely to need to adjust your working process to a small environment. Unlike commercial buildings, residential homes occupy a limited space, which will force you to downsize your machinery and lifting equipment.
Are your business insurance covers still valid?
Do you need different insurance policies when you work on a private site? In reality, you might need to adjust your policy by informing your insurer that you are active on residential projects, but when it comes to liability, tools protection and contract works insurance, your rights and responsibilities remain the same. There is a significant difference, though, in the sense that you can’t be held responsible for anything that occurs while you are not on site. For example, if you’re building an extension and the homeowner decides to make changes without informing you, your insurer will claim that damages are not your responsibilities.
How do you promote your services?
When you work on commercial construction sites, your portfolio needs to appeal to professional builders who need your services. When you work on residential projects, you have a different audience. Homeowners are not trained in building jargon and specialisations. You need to bear their knowledge in mind to create content that works for them. Keep it simple and using plain language whenever possible – also make a point of explaining specialist vocabulary.
The main question you want to ask yourself is whether you need to specialise either in commercial or residential construction. At the end of the day, being adaptable in your work is vital. As a professional building business, you’ll gain to become a known name in both markets. In terms of strategy, it means creating a double entry page to your website, where visitors can navigate to different content, whether they are looking for commercial or residential services. As a result, while you can use the same portfolio across both content hubs, you need to show different skills to each audience group. As a result, instead of a transition, you might consider a new business model in which your team promotes professional building for all.