4 Ways Contractors Can Connect with the Community
It Pays To Give
In today’s economy, many small businesses are making community involvement a top priority to improve customer loyalty, attract new business and boost brand awareness. Other impacts on your business’s health and the community, include:
- Improve the local community through pro bono contractor services or donations.
- Attract and retain local talent, which is especially important as the talent pool for contractors continues to shrink.
- Qualify for tax deductions when your business makes a donation to a charity or nonprofit organization.
While the benefits can be profound, as a small business, you may initially be worried about the time it takes to truly intertwine your business and employees with community initiatives. Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to start giving back that have a great impact on the community and your business. Some initiatives include:
Donations don’t necessarily always mean money. While donating money or a portion of your service sales to a community organization may be great for profitable businesses, time or material donations are also valuable options.
Think strategically about resources available internally, and which organizations closely align with your business goals and initiatives. Prioritize activities there. For instance, it may benefit you more in the long run to volunteer as a mentor at a local technical school, or donate older (but still functional) supplies to a high school program.
2. Pro Bono Work
A unique advantage that HVAC, plumbing and electric contractors have is that almost any resident or business in a community will need their services at some point.
Similar to monetary and time donations, think strategically about which organizations in the community may have a need. Is there a community building that desperately needs upgrades or improvements? Pro bono work may be a good way to get your business’s name out in the community to strengthen your reputation.
3. Strategic Partnerships
No, we’re not talking about a co-ownership. Strategic partnerships can have a lot of meanings, but we’re referring to the ones in which your contracting business can capitalize on another organization’s audience through a mutually beneficial business relationship. These strategic partnerships can result in new customers and increased recognition within the community.
Some potential partners that may align with your business’s goals and abilities include:
- A local home improvement store that may be able to set up installation or repair appointments for their customers with your contracting business.
- Other contractors, such as electricians or HVAC contractors, who can refer one another’s services.
- Builders or construction companies who can also refer your contracting services to developers for HVAC, electrical or plumbing needs.
- Certain nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity, which focus on repairs and improvements to old or existing structures that may need a professional for plumbing, HVAC or electrical projects.
- Technical schools or high schools, where you or your staff can provide services or conduct apprenticeships.
Reach out to either a nonprofit or a business to see how your contracting service capabilities and their line of business can make a positive difference in the community.
4. Attend Community Events
If you want your business to be easily recognized in the community, showcase your activism. Participating in city council or chamber of commerce meetings, networking events, local sporting matches and more can lead to more connections and awareness.
Consider some of the following ways to stay top of mind at community events:
- Advertise services either in printed programs, banners or TV spots.
- Sponsor the event for increased exposure in promotions and onsite.
- Speak at school programs, career fairs, networking functions or council meetings.
- Attend council or chamber meetings, where you can volunteer to share how city-wide issues or community changes will impact small businesses.
The key to making a lasting impression in your community is to remain consistently involved year-round. Many businesses—big and small—fall into the trap of only giving near the holiday season. By getting involved through one of the initiatives listed above, you can keep your contracting business top of mind in the community.