Freda Construction in Basking Ridge, New Jersey comes into the 21st Century and stakes its claim on the internet.
Basking Ridge , New Jersey
While most large brick and mortar businesses have recognized the power of the internet, one of the most overlooked business sectors to fail to embrace the world wide web has been the small builder and tradesmen that support general contractors. One local general contractor decided it was time to put down the nail gun and stake their claim on the internet. Freda Construction, a family owned and operated builder and general contractor since 1967 chose T3 Consortium to integrate an internet strategy into their new technology inclusive business plan.
Who’s Frank Freda?
“I may be good swinging a hammer, but when it comes to the internet, I knew it wasn’t something I could just sit down and build myself ” explains Frank Freda Jr, owner of Freda Construction Company in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. “Just about all of our work is referral based. But in today’s world, people want to do the research first, and that’s where the internet is great,” explained Freda. T3 Consortium agrees. “The internet is one of the most underutilized and feared tools that small businesses and services just can’t seem to get a handle on, noted Brooks Betz, Director of Information Technology Services at T3 Consortium. ” T3 has worked mostly with non-profit organizations and other local businesses around the Somerset Hills area in Somerset County to develop not only a web presence, but an overall internet strategy, custom fitted for the small business owner.
Most small businesses start out on the internet by purchasing what’s known as a hostname or URL. It’s that dot.com name that most people are familiar with that gets you started. “Most people think that for $10 you can get a website and be on your way, ” noted Betz. “But in reality, it does cost quite a bit to get started on the web where you can actually use the internet to properly represent your business in a way that’s professional, uncluttered, and increases the potential that a potential customer is going to make the next move and call or write you.” However, the cost is a mere drop in the bucket compared to other forms of marketing that are out there today.
Industry statistics indicate that the price for a rudimentary website can cost roughly $50 per month with an annual contract using a reputable provider. Some larger web host providers bait new customers with $10-$20 per month sites. However, once you start to add features like email, file storage, blogs, and digital content such as images and video, the cost goes up quickly. A typical website for a small business with a decent amount of features will normally run in the $150-$250 per month to launch and support. Remember, a website shouldn’t stay static and it will need to change alongside business needs and customer feedback, so a support contract is essential.
Yellow Pages vs. the Internet
Another point to consider when costing out a web campaign is comparing current Yellow Page advertising costs to the costs associated with being on the internet. While a small business could spend hundreds of dollars per month to get a few local and regional Yellow Page line listings, the internet is a much better cost proposition. The internet offers the capability to promote and interact with clients where a yellow book just cannot compete.
GC’s Swing a Hammer, but what about the Web?
General contractors and builders need to display their work. But It’s also important for them to share how their clients have felt about their work. Not that you have to believe everything you read. It’s still a good practice to ask for written references and do proper due diligence. “I really want to have my clients, and potential clients for that matter, go and see my work, and also hear what my clients think about my work before I sit down with them,”explains Frank Freda. “Rather than coming over to their house with my laptop and spending two or three hours showing them my collection, I now can direct them to our website and let them review my work when it fits their schedule.”
General contractors can leverage the internet much like budding artists and photographers. The internet IS the place to promote their wares. An artist’s portfolio is their most important display, without all the costs associated with a gallery, “If someone can see my work before we have a conversation, and then I get a call or an email, I know that I have a qualified potential client. I’m thankful that T3 Consortium is looking to support me, as well as other small businesses that need this critical marketing tool.”
Look to T3 Consortium’s Blog for updates on how Frank and Freda Construction are doing on the web. Go to blog.t3consortium.com
For additional information on Freda Construction, please visit them online at www.fredaconstruction.com
For additional information about internet strategy for small businesses or local non-profit organizations, please contact T3 Consortium
Submitted: February 28, 2008