If you’re chomping at the bit to be the top of your field, specialization in a task might just be the way to go. From concrete pouring to historical restoration, specialization allows you to combine the areas of general contracting that you’re passionate about with the skills and knowledge you have that make you outstanding – not just good – at what you do. While it may sound like a done deal, like any other business move, specialization isn’t without its drawbacks.
Deciding to Specialize
Specialization seems to make sense if you have an area of construction that you’re incredibly passionate about. Passion alone, however, does not pay the bills. You’ll also need to ensure your skills in that area are up to par or better than those required in the field. For example, you might love historical restoration but don’t have an eye for fine details or the patience to comb through salvage stores to find period-appropriate hardware for a reno.
You’ll also need to ensure there’s a demand for your intended specialization. Using historical restoration, you might not fare well if every home in a 50-mile radius is a new development. To determine whether there’s a demand, you’ll need to do some market research.
Ensure Your Commitment
Specializing isn’t just something you do on a whim – to see tangible results, you’ll need to invest in rebranding your business and advertising yourself as a specialist in your area. Make sure you can commit to your specialty for the long haul, lest you find yourself out time and money you might never recoup.
Rebranding isn’t an easy task. If your customers know you as Joe Anonymous, your friendly neighborhood contractor, it’ll take a fair bit to get them to think of your name when it comes time for something more focused, like Joe Anonymous the Concrete Guy. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the business of general contracting: deciding to specialize means you’re starting over fresh.
Completing Your Homework
Before you embark on the adventure of specializing, you should do some homework. First, figure out what skills and specialized knowledge it takes to work in your chosen field. You probably already have a good idea of the overall requirements, but there’s almost always more to learn. Figure out any special licensing and insurance requirements, as well.
Next, figure out if there’s a demand for your services, and almost as importantly, who’s demanding them. Knowing your intended market will give you a leg up when it comes to advertising your newly specialized business.
Finally, scope out the competition and see what is – or isn’t – working for them. Analyze what sets you and your potential new business venture apart. Know the competition’s strengths and weaknesses and see if you can fill the gaps left in the market. If you can, it’s probably a good idea to jump in and specialize.
Should I Specialize?
Specialization isn’t a small task. You may have decades of experience under your belt – but deciding to specialize is almost like starting over from scratch. You’ll need to research your market and the competition and do some personal inventories of your own skills, commitment, and desires. Specialization means spending a fair bit of time rebranding your business and investing in marketing, in order to do so successfully.
Before you decide to specialize, have a plan and work to follow it to ensure your success as a newly-minted specialty contractor.