Cold Calls

One cabinetmaker describes how he succeeded with a determined program of cold sales calling. June 4, 2012

What is the best way to find work besides friends/family members? I've posted ads various places and received zero replies. I also had some door hangers printed up with zero responses.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor C:
Family, friends, and associations - it's really a networking thing. Have you called any past customers to see if they might know someone? Cold calling builders or showing up on the jobsite is helpful. Just show up, don't take too much time, and get them an estimate.

From contributor S:
Other contractors and designers are a big source of work for us.

From The Staff at WOODWEB:
A couple of suggestions - you are welcome to post an "Offering Services" listing at our Job Exchange below:

Job Exchange

Another resource that you may not be aware of at WOODWEB is the Woodworkers Directory. The Woodworkers Directory allows you to create a free web page listing for your company, and also gives you the option of promoting your company even further with advertising options.

By listing at the Woodworkers Directory, your company becomes part of WOODWEB's Internet index of woodworking companies. Architects, homeowners, and commercial customers use the Woodworkers Directory to find woodworking professionals, and the Directory's Request for Quote feature will automatically send you messages from visitors who are looking for prices on projects. To view the Woodworkers Directory, follow the link below.

Woodworkers Directory

From contributor R:
I get 50% from referrals and builders who use me regularly - 30% from hits off my website (I use Google Adwords). In today's environment, you can't afford to shut yourself off from a potential source of work. Be patient, put up with the spam and crappy leads, and you might get rewarded.

From contributor Z:
As the farmer does, you must first plant the seeds. My suggestion - hand out one business card every day. Not two in one day and then skip a day, one card every day, including Sunday, to somewhat qualified prospects. Start talking to everyone and knocking on doors., you will be surprised with the results. Like the farmer, be ready when the seeds start growing.

From contributor I:
I have been to the building department and requested all the permits issued in an area pulled in the last three-six months. I then cold called these permit pullers and said, "Hi, I received your number from the building department where your permit was issued, I am a local cabinet maker and thought I'd ask if you have any need for any custom work being done in your home or business." I've only received one job this way, and it was small, but the responses from 99% of the folks was; hats off, well done hustle, thank you for your call, etc.

It could turn out to be something next year. The key is to keep in touch and meet them if possible. If they know the face, the probability is high they will call you the next time they need something.

From contributor M:
Last year my company was in threat of being evicted from our shop in NJ due to non-payment of rent for four months because work was so scarce. We were sending introductory letters out to contractors, designers, architects, builders, etc. We were sending about 300 plus a week to these people. After a six week period, you start receiving calls and faxes for bids but this wasn't working very well, nor was it fast enough, and it was also pricey buying envelopes, stamps, etc.

I started printing out lists from for designers, architects, GC's, and builders and started making a ton of cold calls every day, refining my message and evolving my "pitch" if you want to call it that. I tried this for six weeks and we suddenly had a lot of calls, faxes, and e-mails being sent to us by all kinds of people in the tri-state area of NJ, NY, and PA. We received four projects within a two month period. We were able to pay off rent and past debts. For the rest of the year, it continued to get better and better. Miraculously, we received a call from a company based out in Chicago that hired us to do work for a military base in NJ. If you're desperate for work, try this out. Make at least 200-250 calls a week, for six weeks. You'll start seeing results.