the sky floor

The Myth of Contractor Busyness

January 21, 2022

Recently we moved into a new home and needed some work done in and around it. Much to our chagrin, it was nearly impossible to find anyone to do the job who wasn’t booked out for months and months. As we discussed this with friends and family, many would remark something like this, “at least you know they are good because they are in demand.”

It is often said that contractors who aren’t extremely busy are probably not very good. But I don’t think that is true. There are two times this isn’t the case:

  1. The contractor is brand new or
  2. They aren’t good at marketing themselves.

The Problem of Being Brand New

It can be challenging to be new to anything. Enter the job market for the first time or enter a new field – everyone wants five years’ experience, seemingly even at the “entry” level. How do you breakthrough?

If you are an independent contractor just starting, you have to find your customers, or they need to discover you. That is no small task. Even if the contractor is pretty good at marketing and makes the right moves, it will take a few years to get up to full speed. It is just a reality of the beginning. There is nothing wrong with being new, so I won’t hesitate to give the new guy a chance to convince me they are competent and then hire them – I challenge you to do the same! 

They Aren’t Good at Marketing.

In the seminal classic, “The eMyth Revisited,” author Michael Gerber highlights how rare and difficult it is to transition from Technician to Entrepreneur isn’t as smooth or evident as many would hope. Many contractors who decide to step out on their own aren’t good at running a business. They aren’t good at marketing. 

It is one thing to be great at plumbing or creating websites, but it is another thing entirely to turn that into a thriving long-term business. Don’t automatically write off a contractor who isn’t slammed with work (as long as they aren’t known for their terrible work); plain and simple, they may stink at promoting themselves. 

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