The use of humor can make your company distinctive, though it must be done carefully.  Pest control company, Truly Nolan does an excellent job by outfitting vehicles with mouse ears and tails, stating that the company is “ears and tails above the rest.”  Some vehicles proclaim that the company is “licensed to kill.”

18. Heritage

Do you have a heritage of contracting in your family?  John’s Refrigeration in Mesa, Arizona has transitioned from father to sons.  Both Andrew and Stephen helped their father growing up.  Pictures showing all three stresses this heritage and helps the company stand apart.

19. Personnel

Is there something unique about your personnel?  Are 100% of your technicians NATE certified?  Is everyone a veteran?  Is there something you can use to stand apart?

Remember, the differentiation must be sustainable.  If you promote 100% NATE certified technicians, this will restrict your hiring to technicians already NATE certified.

20. Bundle

One way to stand apart is to bundle another product or service with your products or services.  For example, you might give away a flat screen TV with every full system. In the past, contractors have offered short resort stays with change outs.  The resort packages are bought in bulk from vacation bundlers.

In Iowa, Byron Thelander got together with an independent cinema to give away pairs of movie passes on service calls.  The theater owner bills Byron at reduced rates for the passes that are turned in.  If his customers fail to use the passes, Byron pays nothing.

21. Miles

Almost all airlines sell blocks of miles for businesses to give away.  It is surprisingly affordable.  In cities with lots of frequent flyers and a dominant airline, giving miles away can differentiate your company from the competition.

22. Demographic Specialization

Women are the decision makers for HVAC.  They decide who to call and are often stuck with the job of waiting for a technician.  Yet, many contractors appear to market to men.  Why not specialize as the company who serves women?  Or, specialize as the company who serves seniors?

I know one contractor who goes out of his way to solicit business from the gay community by advertising in local gay publications, advertising in the pink pages, and so on.  As he explained, the gay community is networked, has lots of disposable income, and values great service.

23. Publications

Have you written a book?  If not, could you?  If you aren’t a writer, could you hire a ghost writer to write it in your name?

Robert Wade Brown wrote six books on foundation repair.  His company, Brown Foundation Repair, stands apart from the competition by stating that “we wrote the book on foundation repair.”  Brown Foundation Repair is automatically credited with possessing greater expertise than other companies.

24. Price

You can differentiate based on price, either high or low.  In a service industry, it’s difficult to become the low cost provider when there are so many contractors who seem willing to subsidize the customer.  However, you can price and promote certain items or repairs that are lower than anyone else in an attempt to position as an affordable company.  This is the strategy used by many retailers.  People assume that you must offer a low price on everything if you offer a low price on some things.

Conversely, you can boldly proclaim to be the highest priced company and claim you are worth every cent.  Curtis Mathes televisions successfully deployed this strategy for years, stating that their television sets were the most expensive in American and “darn well worth it.”

For more ways to differentiate your company through branding, call the Service Roundtable at 877.262.3341 and ask about the Retail Contractor Coalition.  Or, visit