Providing a variety of services is good for business and your customers
Diversification can be a great way to expand your business and grow your clientele.
Cover star Al Branding knows this firsthand. He started out small with 15 units and one pumper truck. Twenty years later, his inventory numbers in the 700s, he has added luxury restroom trailers and has a fleet of five trucks. And he turned one small business into three.
Branding specializes in construction services, but since purchasing the restroom trailers the company has started serving weddings and festivals. He also launched another rental service: supplying 20-foot portable storage containers.
The third branch of his business is a little outside the norm for PROs: Branding also operates several day care centers. While that line of work is probably not part of the average PRO’s area of expertise, it just goes to show that diversifying your services can be rewarding – and profitable.
Michigan’s Stenberg Bros. is another company that knows diversification pays — especially in a rural area. Being a one-stop shop for related services is a win-win situation for the customers and the business. Customers only have to deal with one company to have their needs met and Stenberg Bros. employees always have work, which isn’t always the case in northern states with harsh winters.
The offshoot services of Stenberg Bros. are all natural fits for the company, which means easy learning curves for the employees and equipment that can serve double duty. Employees are cross-trained in order to be able to help out in any division of the company. Along with restrooms, the company supplies party rentals. The business started as a septic pumping outfit, and has since added a company branch that does industrial cleaning and waste hauling.
“The more services we offer, the better it is for our customers,” says co-owner Wayne Stenberg. And the better it is for the company, as well. A variety of services means a more reliable cash flow and can help with seasonal fluctuations.
Your marketing plan might need some variety too. Editor Jim Kneiszel introduces an interesting new strategy you probably haven’t considered: a networking outing sponsored by your company that subtly introduces potential clients to your business. Read his tips here.
One area in which too much diversification can be a bad idea: employee salaries. Obviously veteran PROs will be making more than the rookie, but paying a similar wage to employees of the same level, doing the same work, creates an environment of teamwork. Even if you’re in desperate need of new help, throwing more money than usual at a new hire is a good way to hurt morale and build resentment among other workers. For tips on hiring and salary negotiation, check out Do You Play The Negotiation Game With A Potential New Employee?