Professional Builder continues its journey alongside new business start-up Camberford Construction and founder, Barry Kavanagh.
One of the first jobs I secured after starting Camberford Construction was the fit out of a gym in North London – nothing too flashy but a fairly significant piece of work that allowed me to get the ball rolling as a newly established firm. The gym asked me back recently to help with the filming of an exercise video that was taking place there.
No, before you ask, I wasn’t asked to star in it – it was in fact a performance from “Shaun T”, a world famous fitness nut who was making his way through Europe as part of a worldwide tour.
I was drafted back in to build a stage for him to perform on. The resulting exercise video has been seen by thousands and even if they didn’t know it – they’ve seen my very own handy work (albeit not the most interesting thing I’ve ever created).
The video generated some great free publicity for me on Twitter, which chimed quite nicely with some advice I received from my friend Danny Williams on how to make the most out of social media.
Danny is a London 2012 Olympian and the current Commonwealth judo champion (that’s the last name drop for this month), and he’s always been really positive about how platforms like Twitter have helped him grow his profile.
Obviously, a small business like mine is never going to have millions of followers. However, it’s still worth taking seriously as the first thing a person does when checking up on a business they might employ is to take to the internet.
Based on my experiences of talking to both customers who have had an experience with a dodgy builder, a classic sign of a cowboy is a total lack of web presence.
In this day and age, drawing a blank when you enter a company’s name into Google may set off alarm bells. Twitter is an easy way for me to give myself an online presence, show off the jobs I’m proud of and prove that my firm wasn’t set up yesterday.
Although I also have my own website to help establish that trust but I’m not exactly a tech expert. Given that I spend so much time on actual sites, it’s difficult to find the hours to keep my website updated.
I’m a member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the FMB helps pick up the slack through their own site.
With a few clicks of a button, I’ve been able to upload pictures of my work, case studies, client testimonials and my areas of specialism, meaning that any would-be client looking for a builder can see that I’m professional and reputable. It also means that I can spend more time doing what I’m good at!
As for the main job I’m working on at the moment – a loft conversion in a bungalow that I mentioned in my last column – it’s been full of surprises.
The internal walls, which were going to be load bearing for the new steels necessary for the loft conversion, didn’t have any foundations under them, meaning that we’ve had to add a new pad foundation, as well as adding a new steel post and beam. We’ve also had to underpin other parts of the existing walls to keep things secure.
As part of the original plan, we were aiming to tie in a new dormer roof to the existing pitched roof, only to find out the existing rafters were in such a bad state that it was best to remove them and build an entirely new roof.
In short, the job has resulted in more work than we’d anticipated but these challenges are what keep things interesting!
For further information on the Federation of Master Builders click here.