Paving companies are in constant demand. Regardless of the economy, a business always needs a paver to install a new driveway or repair an existing space.
But like any business, commercial paving companies require research, effort, and experience to make them profitable. After all, the small business failure rate after year one is 20%. If this field is your passion, this could be your next business venture.
If you’re interested in starting your own commercial paving business, here’s how to do it.
Research Your Target Audience
Your commercial paving business relies entirely on marketing itself to an interested audience of sufficient size.
Begin by doing your research to assess the viability of your commercial paving venture. Is there enough demand for you to establish a client base and grow?
There are many factors at play that could impact your target audience. For example, rural customers may be farmers or extensive industrial facilities. Urban customers could be the owners of large office blocks or retail outlets.
Identifying your ideal customer is the first step because it forms the basis of everything else. Knowing your target audience allows you to complete your business plan and develop intelligent marketing strategies.
Note that your ideal customer today may not be your ideal customer tomorrow. Therefore, make sure you refer to this image regularly to ensure your paving business moves with its audience.
Determine Your Paving Services
Paving services can target multiple areas. For example, some companies prefer to focus on paving driveways and parking lots for businesses. Other companies may want to expand further to reduce seasonality in their trade.
Some commercial paving operations also offer snow removal, winter sealing, and repairs for businesses in the winter. These are just some examples of the types of services you can choose to offer.
Remember, each new service will require training, equipment, and additional resources. Try to include only a few services when starting your business. You can always add more later.
Create a Small Business Plan
Successful businesses don’t just happen overnight. Instead, they require forethought and planning to turn them into juggernauts. With that in mind, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides free templates for all types of businesses to create their plans.
Your plan should be as detailed as possible, but this is a living document, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the information immediately.
Business plans outline everything about your company, including:
- What your business does
- The services it provides
- Its ideal customer
- Marketing strategies
- Financial projections
Your business plan will be required if you need to apply for financing. Lenders will want to see your plan to determine whether you’re a good lending proposition.
Invest in Paving Equipment
Launching any business providing physical services will require you to invest in equipment. Commercial paving requires advanced equipment, so it’s not uncommon for business owners to turn to third-party lending options.
Generally, you’ll need a truck, trailer, and tools to start. You’ll also need to obtain bonding and insurance, which can further jack up your expenditure.
Should you buy new, second-hand, or rent?
Each option has its pros and cons. Before you’ve proven yourself as a business, opting for used equipment is recommended.
While rentals might sound like a great idea, the costs are immense in the long run. Moreover, this is dead money because it’s not contributing to the ownership of anything.
Rental equipment is best reserved for those one-time paving jobs where you cannot justify purchasing a piece of equipment outright.
Register Your Business
Strictly speaking, there’s no legal requirement to register your business. As a sole proprietor, you can start a company.
You are personally liable if someone decides to sue without a registered business, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a C-Corporation.
Registered businesses provide vital separation between your personal and business assets. It also allows for tax planning and makes managing your business’s affairs easier. Most commercial paving companies opt for the simple business structure of the LLC.
Registering your business is usually a matter of visiting your state government’s website and following the instructions there. Then, it typically takes less than an hour for you to file and pay for your application.
Don’t start work until your business has been established and you have liability protection, or you’re potentially risking your family home, car, and bank accounts.
Market Your Paving Company
The time has begun to start capturing your first clients. Any successful paver will tell you that the first client is always the most difficult.
Marketing is the key. Start small by targeting your local area. Here are some strategies for marketing a paving company for the first time.
- Build a Website – Your website is your digital hub in the infinity of the web. Use it as your online business card. For example, Dryco, a commercial paving company from Cali has a great website.
- Start Social Media – Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, start with one or two channels and create a presence within your community.
- Hand Out Flyers – Get local by handing out fliers to the locals. It’s also worth visiting local businesses in an attempt to create some partnerships.
The above three steps are examples of what you can do to get your marketing strategy off the ground. At this stage, the key to success in marketing is patience. It can take weeks for someone to bite.
Some other avenues to explore as your business progresses include:
- Local newspaper ads
- Radio ads
- Exhibiting at a local home and garden show
- Attending a trade convention
- Paid social media ads
Whenever implementing a new marketing tactic, track the results. Only some things will work. Successful marketing relies on experimentation and reviewing the data to find your best channels.
Develop a clear picture of what you want your commercial paving company to look like. Then, start in a small way by developing a plan and considering the range of services you intend to offer.
Like any business, building a commercial paving company will take time. So create realistic projections and track your progress as you move toward them.
What are your tips for starting a business serving the commercial sector?