How to Build a Brand For Your Home Service Business
As a small business owner, you want your company to stand out from competitors, impress clients, and attract potential employees.
Your brand is one of the best ways to do that. In fact, when we surveyed home service business owners, we found that 66% of them believe their brand is a key part of their business’s success.
But what is a brand? And how do you even go about branding your business? We’ll give you the answers and show you exactly how to build a brand that helps your business succeed.
What is a brand and why does it matter?
Many business owners think their brand is their name and logo. They aren’t wrong—those are important pieces to have! But they’re only a small part of your company branding.
Your brand is the feeling or impression people get when they see, interact with, or think about your business.
It tells them who you are, what you offer, and what to expect from you.
By building a brand, you have greater control over what people think about your business. You can encourage them to respond to your message by buying what you’re selling.
What makes a good brand?
Great question. A good brand:
- Is memorable
- Accurately represents your business
- Makes you stand out from the competition
- Shows you know your clients and what they’re looking for
When your brand is strong, your clients (and employees, when and if you have them) can identify your purpose and get on board with it.
How do you know you’ve succeeded in branding your business? When clients are willing to pay for your services because they know what you’ll deliver and why you’re better than competitors.
That’s what the experts call brand equity.
READ MORE: How to price your services
How do you build a successful brand in 5 steps?
Here’s how to start a brand in five steps:
- Create a brand strategy
- Choose a business name
- Design a visual identity
- Develop marketing materials
- Launch your service branding
To show you how to do all this, we’ll go through the process of creating a brand for a contracting business, using our imaginary friend Kevin as an example. Let’s dive in.
1. Build the foundation for your brand
To create a well-branded service business, you need to be authentic with what your company actually is. This will help your clients connect with your business and your brand.
Kevin nails down what his company is by developing a brand strategy, which is a fancy way of saying “a detailed description of the business and the market he works in.”
His brand strategy includes:
- Company history: Kevin has worked at contracting businesses for years but hasn’t run his own, so he doesn’t have a company history yet. Still, he writes down the events and decisions that led him to start his own business, like his desire to be his own boss.
- Services: Defining your service list helps you better communicate that service offering to your clients. Kevin lists all the residential contracting services he provides, as well as the services he doesn’t currently offer but plans to expand into in the future.
- Target audience: Kevin figures out who his ideal customer is and what they need from a service provider. He most enjoys working with young families on remodeling projects with a lot of custom elements that fit their lifestyles, so that’s his target market. He then figures out where these people spend time online so he can advertise to them later.
- Analysis: Kevin needs to know where his business fits into the market and how he can stand out, so he researches what other businesses do well and what he can do better. This competitive analysis shows him that he communicates better with clients than anyone else in his area.
- Unique selling proposition: A USP makes a business different from (and better than) any other competitor. After his research, Kevin’s USP is: “My contractor business is the only one that pairs quality work with clear client communication.”
As part of his brand strategy, Kevin writes down a company mission statement and vision statement. These describe why his business exists and where he wants it to go.
He also picks a set of values that describe the business. These will help guide him as he makes decisions for his business, from hiring employees to planning his marketing efforts.
2. Choose a business name and slogan
A name is one of the most recognizable pieces of any business. That’s why it’s so important to get it right.
Kevin knows that a big part of his brand is the clear communication that keeps clients happy and in the loop. This leads him to name his company Clear Contracting.
How to pick a business name
Just starting a business and don’t have a name yet? In business for years and need to change the name you’ve already got? When you’re picking a brand name, choose one that:
- Is short, memorable, and easy to pronounce
- Doesn’t spell anything questionable, if it’s an acronym
- Reflects your services and values
- Doesn’t use your name, if you plan to sell or franchise
- Is unique in your industry so you can trademark it
Pro Tip: Find out if your business name is taken by searching for it online. Your area may also have a state or national trademark database you can search.
Kevin also comes up with a brand promise: “Your On-Call Expert.” This slogan tells clients what to expect from Clear Contracting, which is an always-open line of communication.
He can use this slogan alongside his name on his website, business cards, vehicle, and other marketing materials. This will help the slogan be recognized and remembered.
3. Decide what your branding looks like
When you’re branding a service business, you’ll need to think carefully about what your brand will look like. It should appeal to potential customers while making it clear what you offer.
Here’s what Kevin’s visual identity includes:
- Logo: A brand logo should include the business’s name at the very least, and many businesses add an icon as well. Kevin chooses a logo icon shaped like tools, which pairs with the company name and underlines the fact that he’s a contractor.
- Colors: Choose brand colors that stand out from competitors and appeal to your clients. Kevin chooses a gold color for his icon and pairs it with white text. He also uses as few colors as possible to keep printing costs down later when he orders marketing materials.
- Fonts: Knowing that his audience is young families, Kevin chooses a clean, modern font that’ll look great in his logo and be easy to read in his marketing materials.
- Brand guidelines: A brand needs consistency if it’s going to be recognized. Kevin writes down a few quick rules of thumb for using his logo, colors, and fonts—for example, which colors to use and when.
You can design your logo yourself using a logo maker like Looka, or you can hire a freelance designer or branding agency to create a strong brand identity for you.
For Clear Contracting, Kevin used Looka to design his logo—and did it in about five minutes.
How much does it cost to build your own brand?
When you’re branding a small business, expect to pay $100–1,000.
Branding your business yourself is the most budget-friendly option—just pay for whatever design tool you’re using, like Looka’s annual subscription. It’ll save money, but you’ll need to have the time to invest and the willingness to learn how to brand a service.
If you work with a freelance designer, it could cost up to $1,000 for a logo, color palette, and fonts. This price can vary depending on the designer’s experience level and what they include in a branding package.
If you partner with a branding agency, you could be looking at $5,000–10,000. However, this amount could also include the design of several print and digital marketing materials, as well as photography and illustrations.
When you’re planning your branding budget, don’t forget to factor in printing and production costs. Designing business cards doesn’t do you any good if you can’t print them!
4. Design marketing materials to promote your business
Once you have your logo, colors, and fonts nailed down, you can apply them to all the different marketing items you use. For Kevin, this will include:
- Business cards and email signatures
- Print ads and digital advertisements
- Door hangers and postcards
- Website and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Vehicle wraps and decals
- Employee uniforms
- Swag (hats, shirts, etc.)
READ MORE: 3 steps to make your marketing stand out
Kevin isn’t a suit-and-tie kind of guy, but he’s still professional. When he’s creating his marketing materials, he uses a friendly, casual brand voice with a little humour to help him connect with clients.
He also makes sure his advertising is easy to understand. Readers can quickly learn what Kevin offers and how to contact Clear Contracting about their service needs.
You might feel a little intimidated making these items yourself. But if you’re using Looka to make your logo, it’ll generate your marketing materials for you, like these items for Clear Contracting.
5. Introduce your brand to the world
Your branding for services is ready to roll out, and there are three groups who can help you do it:
- Employees: If you have employees, help them understand what your brand is and how they can represent it. For example, Kevin’s brand is all about clear client communication, so he makes sure to send appointment reminders, on-my-way texts, and visit follow-up emails to clients. When he hires employees, he’ll train them to do the same.
- Clients: If you’re an existing business that’s rebranding, explain the change to clients and why you did it. As a new business, Kevin starts marketing with the new brand right away. He’s also prepared to answer questions about his business (like where the name came from) and turn new clients into advocates.
- Community: A great way to launch your brand is to get involved in the community. Kevin cares about helping other people, so he volunteers at a homeless shelter twice a month. This shows clients that he cares about his community—and so does the fact that when he’s ready to hire, he goes to the shelter first to find people looking for work.
By planning how you’ll launch your brand and who you’ll share it with, you’ll help build brand awareness and start bringing in clients from day one, just like Kevin.
Now that you know how to create a brand, you’re ready to begin! Start building your brand, wow your clients, and make your business a trusted name in your industry.
Originally published May 2016. Last updated on December 17, 2021.