Advertising your contracting business to storm-ravaged areas needs to be done with care to avoid appearing like a vulture or the impression that you’re preying on a tragedy. As a contractor, you know you have the knowledge and skills to help people rebuild their lives – but getting the word out after a disaster is a delicate undertaking.
Advertising Your Services After a Disaster
Advertising options immediately after a disaster are limited. As people assess the damage done to their homes, it’s not likely they’ll be interested in clicking on your newsletter or e-mail blitz. Depending on the severity of the disaster, post offices might not be running mail, either. So what’s a contractor to do?
Look to the tried and true avenues of radio and in-person advertising. Get out into the world and actually talk to your potential clients about their needs and wants — and if you can meet them, initiate that sale.
Be Mindful of the Situation
Double and triple check the wording and imagery used in your promotional materials. If you usually use images and wording related to the event that caused people to lose their homes, opt for a different campaign. For example, if your normal promotional materials contain a fire logo and you’re offering to help rebuild after a forest fire, you’re looking at a PR disaster of your own. If you find yourself questioning your promotional materials and whether someone could take offense in the wake of a disaster, you’re probably better off reworking them.
Are Discounts the Way to Go?
The compassionate thing to do after a disaster is to offer help. From a humanitarian perspective, this is great. But from a business perspective, it’s a nightmare.
Lowering your prices to aid in disaster recovery can seem like the way to go, but people are scrambling to weed out the pros who know what they’re doing from the riff raff looking to make a quick buck. If you run a tight ship, chances are good you’ve already priced your services fairly so that you can continue working. Consider keeping your prices firm and offering discounts as you see fit.
Volunteer Your Time, Materials and Skills
Actions speak louder than words, and the best way to get the word out that you’re able to help and do quality work for those recovering from a disaster is to get out there and pitch in. One of the ways to build trust among those looking for contractors after a disaster is to donate what time, materials and skills you can to trusted organizations looking to help in the recovery. You’ll know you helped, you’ll have accomplished something good and you might get some positive press and mentions out of it.
Make Sure You’re Able to Help
As people recover from disasters, they’re likely looking at using their insurance company or FEMA agreements to pay for the work. This can be a legal and logistical nightmare, so make sure you’re somewhat familiar with the way those payments work and be certain you can handle them.
Offering Disaster Recovery Work for Contractors
Be mindful of the situation people are dealing with — it’s possible people haven’t just lost their homes and material possessions, but pets or family members as well. Emotions are running high and this is not the time to play fast and loose with your promotional material’s wording and imagery.
Offer discounts as you see fit and can afford and avoid underpricing yourself just to get a few gigs. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth and the positive effect that volunteering as you’re able can bring. As people seek out contractors to rebuild and repair using their insurance payouts or FEMA agreements, they’ll remember your name.
What’s the best tip you have for other contractors looking to offer their services after a major disaster?