Manufacturer of Hydraulic Presses

How a Small Machine Shop Can Stake Out a Share of the Market

August 10, 2016

Machine shops in the U.S. generate over $40 billion every year. Getting your share of that revenue can be an uphill battle. For small shops, it takes more than producing an excellent product. You also need greater visibility.

Here is a quick overview of the machine shop industry and four ways you can make your small shop stand out from the crowd.
 

Your Competition


There are over 20,000machine shops in the U.S. and small shops make up a significant number of that total. Shops like yours have plenty of room to make their mark because the industry is described as “fragmented,” according to Hoover’s, industry analyst experts.

The top 50 businesses in the field control just 10% of the revenue. That means It’s an excellent field for small business success: your chunk of the remaining 90% of the revenue is ready and waiting for you to claim.
 

Getting Your Share


Industry experts point out that every machine shop needs to build a solid reputation for precision and on-time delivery. Some small shops choose to specialize in a particular industry and type of parts. Others aim for diversification, being the go-to shop for challenging jobs of any type.

What strategy a shop chooses depends on the experience of the owner and his crew and the type of equipment he has to get the job done.

Whatever the approach, specializing or diversifying, the small shop will have competition. The biggest challenge is standing out from the crowded marketplace.
 

Getting Seen by Prospects



Shops that are getting a steady flow of new customers have one thing in common. They take marketing seriously. Here are four ways you can make your presence felt by boosting your visibility. These are tried and true ways to grab the attention of prospective clients.

#1. Work on your website. Your website needs to be attractive to the eye. This is often the first contact a prospective client has with your company. Make a good first impression. There is so much competition online that viewers will quickly move on if what they see doesn’t appeal to them.

Use harmonious colors, lots of images, add videos and update your content regularly. Make sure it is easy to navigate your site.

Put your contact information on every page. The simpler you make it for people to contact you, the more likely it is they will.

#2. Ask for testimonials and reviews. When you finish a job and the customer indicates he is happy with the work, ask for a testimonial. Put it up on your site on the testimonial page. Also request that customers put a review on Yelp or Google+.

#3. Use social media. The most common are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. You might consider Instagram or Tumblr. Find two or three that appeal to you.

Then add content at least twice a week to each. Respond quickly to customers who post to your social media accounts.

If they have problems or negative comments, answer immediately. Let them know you will do whatever it takes to fix the difficulty. Then follow through. Reputations are made, or ruined, quickly on the internet.

#4. Get coverage in local papers and trade publications. Did you come up with a new machine shop technique for a recent job? Was the work particularly challenging? Have you worked on a job that was connected to recent news? If you have a compelling story, local newspapers and trade publications want to hear from you.

Send out press releases about interesting jobs. This gets exposure for your shop, giving you status. It helps prospective customers remember your name.