Moving Beyond Residential Concrete Lifting

Increasing the Percentage of Commercial & Governmental Work in Your Business

Paul DelFino

You can view the eyes open super wide and the minds calculating when HMI ownership describes larger commercial and governmental jobs at monthly Discovery & Training Seminars. The mention of jobs using hundreds of thousands of pounds of material has some attendees nearly salivating. When I mention perceived value pricing in these forums, where you are charging for a larger percentage of the savings you create for the customer and not by the square foot, the excitement builds. The attendees start doing searches for their new boat or second home.
The large commercial and governmental projects described and opportunities reviewed at our seminars are real. However, whale hunting is different than fishing. Most business experts encourage diversity of revenue streams and the establishment of a core, predictable, revenue stream in successful businesses. That is why HMI seminars emphasize the building of a residential based business. The sales cycle is shorter and the market is larger. Once that foundation is established – swinging for the fences is strongly encouraged.

Nearly all the large jobs used as examples at our seminars were found by our customers. That is small business entrepreneurs, relatively new to the industry that made a local connection that allowed them to become aware of an opportunity. Most were intimidated at first and did not know how to approach the opportunity. One phone call to their account manager revved up the HMI machine to support them with:

  • Assistance in Estimating
  • Interface on their behalf with Local Engineers
  •  Interface on their behalf with Local Approvers about Chemistry & Technical Requirements
  •  On site assistance “On the job!”

As we say at our seminars, “the best way to learn something is to do it.” In the cases above your first bigger jobs are not only high profit opportunities but training programs supported by experts with a vested interest in your success.

One evening at your computer will allow you to identify:

  • The names of specific utility companies in your market
  • The names of major manufacturers in your market
  • The names of commercial property management firms in your market
  • The names of specific township and city DOTs in your market
  • The names of specific county DOTs in your market
  • The names of geotechnical engineers in your market
  • The names of trip hazard attorneys in your market

Real business is often LOCAL and PERSONAL. Most of the individual entities in each “school of targeted fish” above has one individual titled facility/property manager who controls the capital budgets that prioritize all repairs and spending. That is your target! You can attempt to buy a list of these individuals but in most cases the target lists are small enough that a few days on the phone with calls into the entities can secure for you an ideal personalized list.

Getting through to major decision makers on the phone can be difficult. They build shields around themselves. Consider initially mailing into the group before initiating phone contact.

The effort:

  • Supports your name/brand awareness and increases probability that your future call will allow you to reach a decision maker!
  • May possibly motivate a call into you about a pending project!

Again, in this case lever HMI. Contact HMI marketing who can support your development of a mailing piece and they will have (or create) a specific relevant case study you can include in your mailing to support the credibility of your offer.
Remember – successful direct mail is a function of:

  1. The quality of the list
  2. The repetition and frequency (do not rely on one)
  3. The quality of the offer

Reminder: The groups you are targeting are skeptical and cynical seasoned buyers. They may or may not have any knowledge or experience with your process. Worst yet they may have a bias against your process based on hearsay and prior experience with a prior contractor.


  • Offer a demo or no risk attempt at a live project. No charge unless they are 100% satisfied!
  • Encourage individuals who agree to your offer to invite peers in the industry or related government entities to attend (a free lunch does not hurt).

Because real business truly is often local and personal it is highly probable that your target will personally know every other person on your list of that school of prospects. Everyone wants to be perceived as an innovator. So encourage them to make it an event and support them in inviting others to observe the work.

Stack your deck at the Demo and consider securing assistance from your account representative at HMI. That DEMO may be the most important LIFT/INJECTION you will ever do!

Sales is not “one and done” – follow-up on all demos with continual mailings (and Emails now that you are known) with continual information and fresh case studies.

“If you do not do something, do not expect anything. Relying on LUCK is a bad business strategy.” BUT “A little effort MAKES what others call LUCK”

Paul DelFino is a principal of the consulting firm Opportunity Inc. For over two decades he has assisted entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, responding to economic downturns and merger and acquisition activity. He has consulted with HMI and RaiseRite for nearly two decades. His publications include “Avoiding Skewed Entrepreneurial Strategies” available from all on line booksellers.

Upcoming Discovery & Training Seminars

  • June 20-21, 2024  Manitowoc, WI
  • July 25-26, 2024  Manitowoc, WI

In 2 days, we teach you everything you need to know to start your own concrete raising company!

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