The Internet is Opening New Doors for Contractors
No matter how hard you try to resist, the Internet is impacting our lives at a rapid rate. As consumers, we can find products and services any time of the day, with dramatic ease, and from the comfort of our own homes. In fact, most products can be found cheaper on the Internet than in retail outlets.
The masonry industry and our own businesses are being impacted by this technology in tremendous ways. Customers can find contractors through the Internet and conduct research on our businesses without even picking up the phone. General contractors and owners are increasingly conducting online bidding auctions where they pit contractor versus contractor in a race to see who can get to the bottom price the fastest ? an ominous sign that not all uses of the Internet are necessarily in our best interests as subcontractors.
Even industry trade associations like the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) have become increasingly involved with marketing the industry, the use of our products, and the capabilities of our members through our expanding Association web site. Today our site, www.masoncontractors.org, is receiving over 15,000 hits per day and has become one of the most visited sites to find useful industry news and information. Even better, construction customers such as schools boards, public works officials, architects and specifiers can now select MCAA member contractors by state, by volume and by specialty right from the MCAA web site. Through the magic of the Internet, your company is promoted 24/7. In addition to having the capabilities of our contractors' companies listed, those members with web sites of their own can be linked through the MCAA web site with just the click of a button.
Every day, increasing numbers of customers are turning to the Internet to find contractors to bid their work. But will they find you if they look? Is your company online with a web site of your own? Are you listed in a web service, much like the Mason Contractors Association of America's web site, where your company can be found? If not, it's time to build a site of your own.
It is remarkable how easy it is to have your own quality commercial web site. The MCAA offers a service for contractors to develop and maintain web sites at reasonable prices. However, you do not have to go through the Association to have a web site developed. There are many low-cost quality providers ready to build a site for you. Just remember that you'll want to keep your site up-to-date with recent information regarding your company. An old, out-of-date site will send the wrong message. As an industry, the bottom line is: we must provide information on our products and our capabilities in the venues where our customers are looking, one of which is the Internet.
We can no longer ignore the reality of the Internet. Get into the game or you may never be able to play!
About the Author
G. Alan Griffin, President of Griffin Contractors, Inc., has severals years experience in the masonry industry. He is a past president of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association. Griffin grew up working in the masonry business founded in 1957 by his father and grandfather, and has since taken over the family business. Griffin was award the C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award for exemplary leadership in advancing the masonry industry in 2007.