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Construction Business Cards – Choose Quality

How To Make $100,000 A Year

As you’re starting up your contracting or service business one of the first things you’ll need to purchase are construction business cards.  If this comes as a surprise to you then you probably need to back up a few steps and reflect on how big of a role professionalism plays in your ability to get work and move your business forward.  If you don’t even have a business card to hand out to prospective customers then I can almost guarantee that most of them will cross your name off their list without thinking twice about it.  This goes back to putting your best foot forward and working on your image.  If you’re not willing to spend the piddly amount that is required to buy a box of cards then you can probably forget about ever having a successful business.

What Your Construction Business Card Shouldn’t Look Like

I don’t mean to suggest, however, that simply having business cards will make a good impression on people.  In fact, I’ve seen some cards that were of such poor quality that they actually reflected negatively on the company’s image.  I can think of one gentleman in particular who was operating a construction-related business and wanted to earn my trust.  He said “Let me give you my card”, then removed from his back pocket a small, rough-edged square that had clearly been cut out from an old cardboard moving box.  Written on his “card” (with a magic marker) were his name and phone number.  It was the most pathetic excuse for a business card I had ever seen.  I’m sure this fellow was simply down on his luck and didn’t feel like he could afford to spend anything on marketing materials but, my goodness, I can’t begin to imagine how much business this guy was losing because he was too cheap to drop just a little money on some decent, printed business cards.  Now I’m all for cutting costs smartly but if your idea for getting free construction business cards involves an old U-Haul moving box and a box cutter then you seriously need to rethink your marketing strategy.

Construction Business Cards

A black background can occasionally be effective for construction business cards, but my personal preference is a white background as it makes the text easier to read.

Here’s another example of what not to do.  I recently traded cards with a local lawn maintenance business operator and had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing because his was a complete joke.  To his credit, the cards had obviously been made by a printing company and were printed on standard white stock (as opposed to a cardboard box), but the graphics and text were totally absurd.  The graphic was of a plain stick-figure just standing there and waving.  It looked like something that a preschooler would draw on a rainy afternoon.  Can someone tell me what that has to do with landscaping or mowing?  At the very least, could he not have found an image of a stick figure that was actually mowing a lawn?  The text was even worse, if that’s even possible.  It was simply his name, phone number, and a brief list of what services he provides.  Let’s just start with the fact that there were at least two misspellings on the card.  Yes, you read that right.  Secondly, there was absolutely no mention of what his qualifications were or if he was even insured.  Finally, he chose a font that was so silly that it really did look like his little kid designed the card for him.  The card as a whole was a complete disaster and I felt bad for him that he was handing it out to prospective customers and thinking that it was actually helping him to grow his business.

How To Design Contractor Business Cards For Maximum Impact

So now that I’ve mercilessly trashed a few of my fellow local contractors you’re waiting for me to get around to actually telling you how business cards for construction should look, right?  Well, let’s start with the graphic (and, yes, I do think it’s a good idea to have one).  Keep it to less than half the size of the card face.  It should be either a high-resolution replication of your business logo (you do have one of these, right?) or an image of a project that you worked on that turned out particularly well.  A before and after photo on the back side couldn’t hurt, either.  If neither of these is a possibility then just leave it blank.  Blank is better than a corny cartoon graphic or, worse yet, a darn stick figure.

Make sure the text is spaced out well and easy to read (white background is best), and choose a font that looks professional and neat.  Skip the bubble font, okay?  Your card should have your name and title, your company’s name, address, and phone number, your cell phone number and personal or business email, and your company’s website address.  It should also tell people what you do and what your qualifications are.  Finally, it should spell out for nervous nellies that you are fully licensed and insured.  If there’s room put any awards on there that you might have earned from Angie’s List or the like.  That’s it!  Try to keep descriptions short and to the point.  You want enough information on the card that it is a helpful resource for potential clients but you don’t want so much that it looks like a darn dictionary.  Remember that a lot of the people that hire you will be older and may have trouble reading very small print.  The bottom line is trust.  Look at your card honestly and ask yourself how it looks to complete strangers.  If it looks like crap then start over.  There’s no shame in admitting that you made a mistake and need to correct it.

Opt For High Quality Materials When Your Contractor Business Card Is Printed

The last piece of this puzzle is the actual card material itself.  When you order your cards they will ask if you want certain upgrades and features.  For the most part you’ll want to say yes down the board.  Extra thick stock?  Say yes.  Glossy face?  Say yes.  Picture on the back?  Say yes.  They may even try to sell you a unique card material like wood, plastic, or metal, and in some cases this makes sense.  For example, if you run a log siding installation company then I think it would be totally appropriate to order wood cards.  True, all these upgrades will cost you a few more bucks but what’s a few bucks when there’s thousands of dollars worth of business on the line?  Do you really want to risk losing a $15,000 roof job because you were so worried about spending an extra five dollars on a business card upgrade?  Think about it, folks.  When you hand someone your card you’re saying that it’s an accurate reflection of who you are and how seriously you take your business.  If your card looks like junk then people will assume your business is junk.  Spend just a little more time and a little more money on those construction business cards and I assure you that they will pay for themselves thousands of times over.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Andy Gullion January 16, 2015, 9:37 am

    Good article on cards.Two contractors I know make over 250,000 per year…both by replication…and with very little overhead. My bath business does 1.3 million per year and yes…it was hard to get there. Best advice received? In small business there is no substitute for the presence of the owner. Also..don’t steal from yourself by misusing the money and lastly on the economy: worry about your own economy. Andy Gullion

    • Scott January 16, 2015, 4:38 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Andy. I’d love to hear more about your story. Do you only remodel bathrooms? How long did it take to crack the 1 million mark? I take it you are on site for every job?

  • Jon Milligan April 5, 2015, 5:59 pm

    Hey Scott,
    Love your blog. I have been in business for few years now and I am ready to take it to the next level. I am struggling with a logo. Any words of advice? I do residential and some lite commercial construction work.

    • Scott April 6, 2015, 3:20 am

      Hi Jon,
      Thanks for the compliment. I think getting a professionally designed logo is a great idea. 99 Designs is probably the best place to get a logo if you have a large budget. If you’re looking to go with a cheaper option I would recommend Matt from The Logo Mat. His work is good and he provides great service. He designed the logo for this blog and I’m happy with how things turned out. I hope that helps, and good luck taking things to the next level!

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