Finding an ultra-niche can be ultra-rewarding

by WOHe

There are niches, and then there are ultra-niches. Allow me to share some of the niche work a few of your colleagues are doing to stay busy, and profitable.

A builder I met recently is building homes for banks. You see, when the housing market crashed, construction stopped on thousands of homes. Banks now own many of these unfinished homes, but they don’t want to. So, some of them are finding creative ways out. For example, a bank contacted the builder I met and asked if he would finish unsold homes owned by the bank. He finished the first one which sold quickly. The bank sold the home and asked the builder to finish a bunch more. Now that’s all he’s doing, and he’s busy.

An architect I met in Atlanta told me he sort of has two businesses; one for traditional residential and light commercial work, and another for his niche work. He says he gets more business from the niche work than from his other clients. The niche? Hunting lodges and shooting ranges. He tells me he keeps his lodge and range work hush-hush within the Atlanta architectural community because, in his words, “I would be shunned and looked down upon.†Then he hands me his business card and says, “This is my public card for the regular work. I have another one I give to clients who want the hunting lodges and shooting ranges, but I’m out of those.â€

One more example of ultra-niche work comes from a builder who approached me in Richmond, Va. I asked him, “How’s business?†Thinking I was local, he replied, “Business is great. Do you know the new such-and-such restaurant going up at the corner of Fifth and Main?†I said “No, I’m from Chicago.” He said, “That doesn’t matter. They’ve got this big tornado-lookin’ statue out front. It’s their logo. Well, I build those statues for the restaurant. They keep opening new restaurants, so I’m busy.†Plus, he said, he does similar work for other local businesses. He left before I could ask him how he got into that line of work.

Hearing all these stories got me thinking about other ultra-niches to tap into. One I thought of is designing and building dog houses – or childrens’ play houses – that match the design style of the main home, or are exact replicas. Or what about becoming a boat dock designer, builder or remodeler?

Are you doing any ultra-niche work like these designers and builders?
Know of a colleague who found some specialty work you covet?

Let me know by sending me an e-mail. Or, scroll up to the first paragraph of this blog entry, look to the right and click where you see, “Leave a comment†or “Post or view comments.â€

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