How one professional keeps his welding chops sharp with HomeAdvisor leads

HomeAdvisor Contractor Spotlight

Not every HomeAdvisor member is using the service to bolster a major business venture. There are a number of members who use it to work their trade part-time, with or without an aim to turn it into a full-time job. If this sounds like you, and you’re simply looking to practice your trade on the side of another job, you may benefit from these tips from professional welder Bradley Dupre, Owner/Operator of Dupre’s Welding and Fabrication.

#1 Know your competition.

Just because you’re angling for part-time work doesn’t mean you should throw yourself in without doing research. You don’t want to spend money on leads and make bids without knowing what other professionals charge in your area.

“You have to know what your competitors are charging,” Dupre says. “Because, if you’re too high and the person gets another quote, most of the time they’re going to go with the cheapest.”

This isn’t to say that you should aim to charge less than the competition. Dupre recognizes that, when it comes to his profession and most others, you get what you pay for. “Not all people give quality workmanship and not all are honest. They tell you what you want to hear instead of what they can actually do.”

If you start any size business venture without knowing how your prices stack up against the competition — and without knowing how to explain why your services may be worth a little more — you’re likely to lose most of your leads. And your side gig will be more of a gamble than an investment.

#2 Call leads back right away.

It’s especially important to stay on top of your leads when you’re working a side gig.

“When I get a text, call or email, I try to call them immediately,” Dupre says. “That’s been working out in my favor, for the most part. As soon as I know that I have a lead, I get on it. If not, they’re going to go somewhere else. It’s usually the first one who calls that gets it.”

Bigger companies and full-time professionals will be responding as quickly as they can in order to get enough business. And that immediacy looks great to homeowners. If you’re the first call they get, you’ve nailed a good first impression and you’re more likely to win the bid.

#3 Practice your people skills.

When you’re just starting out, every little bit helps put you above the competition. And your people skills can make or break the job. From winning them over in the bidding process to handling changes along the way, good communication is key to keeping customers happy.

“You’ve got to have good people skills,” Dupre says. “And I didn’t have good people skills. I had to learn that. The people have a picture in their mind of what they think they’re going to get, and then sometimes they want to change it. And then, when you start changing, changes are not in the quote.”

Practiced people skills will help you navigate difficult moments like these, helping you collaborate with clients to find a mutually beneficial solution.

Starting with HomeAdvisor

Getting the word out is one of the biggest obstacles for professionals trying to break into their trade of choice. Dupre wanted to start small and avoid having to advertise, for example. And HomeAdvisor not only puts him in front of new customers, but he can also accept jobs as he’s available and capable and turn them down when they don’t fit into his schedule.

“I work a regular job and I’m doing this on the side until I can get enough business to where I can just do it full-time,” says Dupre. For him, working with HomeAdvisor has been the perfect way to launch a side business.