Every equipment hire and subcontracting company faces different challenges. While we all share similar goals (in getting our gear or people on a job), some are stuck trying to get out of the oversupplied coal mines, others are having trouble winning work, and some just aren't receiving new opportunities in the first place.
The past financial year has certainly rocked some foundations, as we continue to see a shift in growth from mining investments, to non-mining sectors of the economy. So how do you survive in a volatile market that's no longer a safe haven for guaranteed work? We've compiled our top seven tips to help you figure out ways to not only survive, but thrive this financial year.
1. Grow your brand presence online
To increase your chances of success this financial year, make sure you have a presence where potential customers are spending a lot of their time - online. 83% of Australian's use the internet, so if you don't have a strong presence online, you are not doing any favours for your business. We hear far too often that some plant, equipment and subcontracting companies are surviving purely from word-of-mouth. While you may be generating new work from referrals, there's a whole nation out there regularly looking for plant, equipment and subcontractors to help with jobs of every size. After all, work is work, and every job you get will help your business grow that little bit more.
If you haven't done so yet (which you'll be surprised to hear happens quite a lot), get yourself a website, or get yourself a PlantMiner subscription listing which acts as a secondary website for your business. Over 200,000 searches are made on Google each month for plant, equipment and subcontractor services, and PlantMiner helps connect these searchers with your business.
We can get you started by setting up a listing on our website, and we'll continue to optimise your listing as things change in your business. For example, if you get a new machine, or sell a old one, we can take the tech work out of it and make the necessary changes to update your account for you. Our team of 80 tech-savvy professionals will help optimise your listing on PlantMiner, which in turn, will optimise your brand presence online.
2. Invest in technology
Technology is in! From GPS tracking and driver-less machines to bricklaying robots and mobile management technology - generation-tech has landed and is here to stay. Adapting to technology will not only give your business the stepping stones it needs to survive in today's economy, but it'll also gear you up with the tools to capatalise on new opportunities.
In a recent post we published on 'the rise of dot-coms', we discussed how 70% of the nation’s productivity gains came from technology. It’s these advances in communication combined with the evolution of the IT industry that has made it possible for people to do business throughout the world in real time. Innovation improves our lifestyle, both personal and business, by allowing technology to reduce complications and enrich possibilities. The leaps we’ve made to simplify our daily processes seem limitless.
In the construction sector, technology hasn’t always been readily embraced, but with the rise of cloud computing and mobile devices, it’s enabling businesses of all sizes to manage their information more efficiently.
If you're a PlantMiner customer, and would like to learn more about how to capatalise on work through our portal, get in touch by calling us on 1300 550 434, or review our post on how plant hire companies can win more work.
3. Respond to every opportunity
Respond to every plant, equipment or subcontracting service opportunity that comes through to you - regardless where it came from (direct call, website enquiry, PlantMiner enquiry). If you don't respond to opportunities, you are selling yourself short, and your business won't thrive to it's full potential. We've heard it before where suppliers don't respond to enquiries as they seem too small, or won't be 'worth their time'. This may be the case sometimes, but by acknowledging a service request, you are opening up opportunities to put your business forward for future work.
Take this case study for example, where a Victorian-based earthmoving company, Starbuck & Sons, received a lead through PlantMiner for a three-day hire request for a truck & dog in Braeside. They responded to the service request and through hashing out a cost-benefit analysis, they found it was more economical to use a truck & dog a few days a week as opposed to continually bringing their bins back from job sites.
With one conversation, Starbuck offered a solution to the hirer and turned a one-off three day dry hire job into an agreement that will see him do two days wet hire per week. With no end in sight, the contract has been worth $15,000 (and counting) in plant hire work.
4. Nurture opportunities
Following the case study above, nurturing new service opportunities is just as important as responding to them in the first place. Nurture new opportunities that come through the door, and deliver a service that exceeds their expectations. Starbuck & Sons did just this, and ended up $200,000 better off for it. They picked up work with a recurring PlantMiner searcher and built a promising relationship. So, when the same searcher used PlantMiner to source equipment for a bulk earthworks project in Officer, Victoria, Starbuck was able to act quickly on our information and secure a three month contract worth approximately $200,000.
5. Follow population growth
Strong population growth will underpin demand for housing and infrastructure, and the ageing population creates the need for new communities and hospitals. We've spoken about the importance of addressing these issues in the past, and we've seen plenty of projects kick off to help accommodate the increase in population nationwide.
Increase your chances of working on these projects by knowing where they are, bidding on the local works, and responding to (and nurturing) any new opportunities that come through. A recent study shows that building approvals in Australia has responded to population growth, and last year hit nearly 200,000 new dwellings, the most in 20 years. More on that here.
6. Follow infrastructure
Infrastructure follows people and people follow social trends and desires. Follow these trends.
There is an over supply in coal, so the demand for companies to dig it up is diminishing. While there may still be mining opportunities out there, you can't sit back and hope for the best. Proactively following new projects to get your plant and people working on, will be one way to thrive this financial year. As long as our population is growing, our infrastructure will develop too.
7. Adapt: Set yourself up to succeed
If you've had a tough time in the past financial year, don't fret. Now is the time to set yourself a plan for this financial year. Figure out where your business needs to grow, identify those areas you can monitor external to your business (such as population growth and infrastructure trends). Adapt your business to follow these trends by implementing new internal processes, and become experts in new technologies you invest in, so that you can maximise their efficiency capabilities, and your overall business opportunities.