Built to last: Online branding tips for contractors

When you develop your business in the construction field, it’s often easy to slip into the illusion that you don’t need to do much in terms of online representation as the essence of your work is outdoors and a very practical one.

The reality of today’s interconnected world is that this is not true. Even contractors need to have a tangible internet presence if they want to reach higher. Creating your company’s online signature is easier than you imagine, yet it is crucial for your placement in the business world. There are a few key tips to follow when going down that road.

 

Graphic design and website development

The most important things to start with are your brand logo and consistent design system, the design of your website and email signature. They should all be coherent and present a unified picture of your company. This creates a strong image of your activity and allows your customers to recognize you and associate you with a certain color scheme and imagery, thus building trust and familiarity over time.

A good example is the website and logo of Martins Construction Corp. With a clean and color-coordinated design, the site is both informative and promotes their services, yet it remains unobtrusive and readable with a few carefully selected visual elements. The logo is stylish and memorable, especially because it is an unlikely choice for a construction company.

Martins-Construction-Corporation

A professional approach in the creation of your website will greatly benefit your authenticity in your clients’ eyes. Important points to cover are how your business functions and why it will satisfy your clients’ needs better than anybody else. It is useful also to make sure that the website’s Search Engine Optimization is done properly so that people actually find your company in the myriad of options online.

 

Your business in the social media

Building your online presence begins with setting up profiles of your company in the social networks, and Facebook and Twitter are indispensable. If nobody heard about it, it’s like it has not happened. That’s why communicating your work and successes is crucial. Being active on social media gives you another advantage as well – that of receiving direct feedback and thus being able to quickly adapt to your customers’ needs. Creating a conversation with your clients is the best as it is engaging and gives them freedom and the feeling of involvement with your brand.

A great example of active social media presence and customer engagement are the Facebook and Twitter profiles of Joel & Co Construction. On top of having a stylish and minimalistic website design, quite unusual for the construction field, they are also functioning well in the online networks with regular posts and visuals about their remodeling and building projects.

Joel-&-Co-Construction

Starting a blog for your construction company is also a great idea but you should keep in mind that it should be maintained regularly in order to build a stable audience. Going further, you can establish your name in more specific circles like construction forums and websites, which is always helpful in terms of positioning your brand. Guest blogging in construction-specific websites, for example, is quite beneficial because you can offer your expert opinions and thus raise the profile of your business as you show leadership and authority in the field.

 

Built to last

Putting a bit of effort and keeping a consistent level in your online branding is guaranteed to bring long-standing results for your construction business. Not only will it bring more traffic to your website and thus more leads, it will also develop a positive and strong image of your company. This in turn will help you in establishing a trustworthy relationship with your clients.

In today’s construction world you have to manage a million details – administrative procedures and legal agreements, insurance and surety bonds, public project bidding and subcontractors’ relations. Taking care of your online presence is, indeed, one extra detail, but one that can bring huge benefits and develop your construction company into a strong brand.

What 2014 holds for the trucking industry

Trucking-trend-2014

After 2013 was named the Year of the Network in the freight transportation field, what will 2014 be?

Some of the biggest trends we saw this year include a focus on technology in freight transportation, new FMCSA regulations in a few areas, and less small freight brokers in business.

Keeping in mind that trucking remains the leading mode of freight transportation in the U.S., it’s interesting to see what the next year promises for this industry.

Check out these 5 major trends below to learn more about the future of trucking in 2014.

Stronger economy = more loads

Nobody holds illusions about skyrocketing economic growth, but still, some growth, even slow, is better than none. As the economic situation has stabilized and the general outlook is positive, this certainly translates to the trucking industry as well. The direct consequence will be, quite simply, more loads and more work in the field. Slowly and gradually, the business is getting back to normal in respect of the workload.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the truckload volumes will grow by 3.2% and the less-than-truckload volumes – by 3.5%. As usual, trucking tonnage will vary throughout the seasons.

Smaller loads and better packaging

Although great practical solutions, streamlined packaging options are leading to reduced truckload size.  This, in turn, means less work for the industry in the long run, which has to be compensated with more goods to be transported.

Another seemingly irrelevant trend is the miniaturization of many consumer goods such as technology and electronics. More and more tablets and smartphones are sold instead of stationary personal computers, for example. The difference in size is considerable, which leads to smaller loads. Such changes will inevitably influence the trucking business as well.

Diversifying fuels

Truck stop near Colorado

20% of all fuel consumed in the U.S. is used by heavy duty trucks. Lower crude oil prices are expected in 2014, which is generally good news for trucking. Still, the industry is looking at cheaper and cleaner fuel alternatives.

More and more companies are moving to natural gas, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. A foreseeable trend will be more truck stops with options for natural gas loading.

 

Drivers needed… desperately

The lack of experienced truck drivers has been an ongoing problem for the industry. Undoubtedly a tough and isolating profession, trucking companies had difficulty adding employees in 2013. While federal hours-of-service regulation in 2010 has attracted some to the job, predictions for new drivers in 2014 is not expected to keep up with need. Additionally, the stricter FMCSA regulations put many boundaries on the pool of potential drivers.

Costs associated with hiring more drivers can have an impact on consumer goods prices, since 80% of all goods in the U.S. are transported by trucks.

The freight broker field is changing

One of many FMCSA regulations that is changing the freight broker world is the new freight broker bond requirement. The bond was increased from $10,000 to $75,000 effective October 1, with a 2-month grace period for enforcement. The result has been a drastic reduction of freight brokers due to revocation of licenses.

The surety bond is a requirement for obtaining and maintaining a license as a freight broker. It acts as a guarantee for broker compliance with relevant regulations for operation.

Due to the bond increase, many brokers did not manage to renew their licenses and have had to leave the business. If you still need to get bonded, JW Surety Bonds is able to approve most applicants at the most competitive rates in the industry.

JW Surety Bonds Closed for New Year's

JW Surety Bonds will be closed at 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 31st and will remain closed through Wednesday, January 1st. We will reopen Thursday, January 2nd at 9:00 a.m. EST.

We wish you a happy, prosperous and healthy 2014!

 

 

JW Surety Bonds Closed for Christmas

JW Surety Bonds will be closed at 12:00 p.m. Monday, December 23rd to celebrate the season with our company holiday party. The office will remain closed through Thursday, December 26th. We will reopen Friday, December 27th at 9:00 a.m. EST.

All of us at JW Surety Bonds wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

 

 

Surety bonds renewal deadlines are approaching with the end of the year

It’s the end of the year again, and along with the looming end of the holiday season, quite a lot of surety bonds are due to expire on December 31.

This should not ruin your holiday mood because with JW Surety Bonds you can renew your bonds very quickly and conveniently while saving on costs. In this way you will ensure your seamless compliance with state regulations. This will guarantee your license’s validity and legality of operations.

Below is a review of the surety bond renewal deadlines for December, grouped according to the particular field of operation. Check your bond dates – you may need to contact your surety agent to obtain the appropriate renewal.

 

Auto dealer bonds

Auto dealership bonds expire on December 31 in the following states:

  • Montana - Motor vehicle dealership bond
  • Nebraska - Motor vehicle dealership bond
  • Rhode Island - Motor vehicle dealership bond
  • Oklahoma - Motor vehicle dealership and motor vehicle salesperson bond
  • Georgia - Used motor vehicle parts dealership bond
  • Louisiana - Used motor vehicle parts dealership bond
  • Illinois - Designated agents bond
  • Florida - Franchise dealership bond

If you are running an auto dealership business, you should have already obtained the necessary auto dealer bond for used and/or new cars. The bond is a guarantee that the dealership will abide by state regulations.

For motor vehicle dealerships based in Montana, Nebraska, or Rhode Island, the deadline for renewal of the auto dealer bond is the end of the year. The same applies to dealerships in Oklahoma as well as motor vehicle salespersons licensed there.

Used motor vehicle parts dealers in Georgia and Louisiana will also have to renew their bonds as well as designated agents in Illinois. Franchise dealers in Florida should take care to obtain their renewal by December 30.

 

Mortgage broker bonds

Mortgage broker bonds expire on December 31 in the following states:

Mortgage brokers also need surety bonds to license their operations. The bonds ensure their compliance with the state laws regulating the mortgage business.

Mortgage brokers, lenders and servicers in Michigan will have to make sure their bond is renewed by the end of the year.

 

Telemarketing bonds

Telemarketing bonds expire on December 31 in the following states:

Telemarketers will have to double check their bond expiration dates as well. The telemarketing bonds are also known as solicitor bonds. Their aim is to guarantee that solicitors will follow the rules of their respective states in terms of their telemarketing activities.

Professional solicitors based in Kentucky and Massachusetts should renew their telemarketing bonds at the end of the year.

 

Finance bonds

Finance bonds expire on December 31 in the following states:

Paid solicitor bonds are a part of the finance bond category. They refer to solicitors that work as fundraisers for charitable organizations. They are required in the licensing process in order to guarantee solicitors’ compliance with state regulations.

Paid solicitors operating in Georgia will have to renew their bonds by the end of the month.

 

Liquor bonds

Brewers, distillers and vendors of alcohol products are often required by the state they work in to obtain a liquor bond. Its aim is to ensure the proper filing of taxes by these businesses.

Such businesses in Texas that have a mixed beverage gross receipts tax bond must renew their license by the end of this month.

 

Sales tax bonds

The sales tax bond is a part of the tax & fees bonds category. The bond guarantees that vendors of goods other than fuel, tobacco and alcohol, such as convenient stores and retail owners, will report and pay the necessary taxes to the state in which they are operating.

Sellers based in Texas will have to renew their continuous sales tax bond at the end of the year.

 

Investment advisor bonds

Investment advisor bonds expire on December 31 in the following states:

  • Utah - Investment advisor bond

In the indemnity bonds field, the investment advisor surety bond guarantees that investment advisors who are providing advice for consumer investments will abide by the state regulations.

spike55151 / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA

The deadline for investment advisor surety bond in Utah is also approaching – at the end of December.

 

In case your business is in any of these fields and in the relevant states, it is a good idea to get your surety bond or license renewed soon. Keep in mind that the end of December will arrive quickly because of the holidays, so it is wise to get your in place now.

FMCSA Revokes 7,500+ Freight Broker Authorities

75k-guide

Now that the FMCSA’s $75,000 bond compliance grace period ended on December 1st, the FMCSA has stuck to their word and is wasting no time enforcing the increased freight broker requirement.

In the first week, about 7,500 broker authorities have been revoked. It is expected the number of authority revocations will only increase, as some industry professionals estimate that about half of the 21,000+ freight brokers within the U.S. are still not $75,000 compliant.

Is It Too Late To Get The $75K Bond?

As of December 3rd, we are still actively writing the $75,000 bond for current and new freight brokers. Don’t wait any longer and have your authority revoked, obtain the bond with:

• A+ rated, Treasury-listed surety
• No collateral
• Lowest rates in the country
• Approvals with good or bad credit
• 99.9% approval rate

 

 

Get the bond and keep your authority. Apply directly on our website to get an instant approval.