Researching the Market is a Crucial Part of Every Business Strategy
In a previous post, Is Your Charge-Out Rate a Marketing or Business Strategy?, I talked about Mark the painter, who charged a really low day rate that ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, because he couldn’t carry out the volume of jobs he needed to for it to be profitable.
When I asked Mark why he chose such a low day rate, he said it was because no other painter could possibly compete with him. Sure that’s probably true, but obviously, for good reason!
What Mark really should have done was to research the market to determine precisely what other painters are charging, and for which services.
Determine the industry average
A good starting point is to determine the average price for your industry. Be diligent and look at as many businesses in your local and surrounding areas to ensure you’re getting a clear picture of what people are charging.
It’s really hard to justify charging much below the industry average, even if you’re trying to get new business.
As I mentioned in the last post about day rates, low prices is a numbers game. Unless you’re able to turn work around exceptionally quickly to justify taking a cut on your profit margin, then it’s probably not worth it.
In our work with National Bookkeeping we discovered that bookkeeper charge out rates fall into some distinct categories based on their knowledge, experience and how they prefer to work. These rates are a great guide to help you become comfortable with your own hourly rate.
Give customers savings in other areas
Rather than reducing your rates to get new business, try to give customers savings elsewhere. You can do this by providing something your competitors aren’t, which is why researching the market thoroughly is a crucial part of your business strategy.
If you determine that your competitors charge a call out fee or a fee to prepare walls, this is a good place to start reducing or eliminating those charges in order to make yourself more competitive.
How are people finding you?
If potential customers are finding you via your website, it’s important to have a good call to action that contains reasons for people to make contact with you. Then make sure you highlight the reasons to call.
Competitors copy so keep changing your offers
Believe it or not, one of the most challenging aspects of your market research and the OFFER you make to potential customers is that your competitors will also be researching what you are doing and if they feel it is a good offer they may copy it — so you may want to have a couple different offers and discounts and change them regularly to stay unique.
Use WordPress, a Blog and Social Media posts to keep your business looking fresh online and as well as attract the attention of potential customers — we cover all of this in our Digital & Social Media Marketing Courses.
You can learn how to research the market by enrolling in the Market Research Module of our Business StartUp Training Course as a stand alone mini course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.