Contractor Finds Marketing Success Through Instagram

Chad Porter used to overlook social media, but now he respects the benefits it provides his business

Contractor Finds Marketing Success Through Instagram

Chad Porter

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There was a time when Chad Porter, the owner of West Coast Hydrovac Services in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, used to make fun of Instagram. But now he’s dead serious about its capabilities as a marketing tool.

Porter started dabbling with Instagram in May 2020. Now he frequently posts photos and videos about jobs his company performs. And customers notice.

“They email me and say, ‘I didn’t know you could do that, too,’” he says. “I’ve also picked up another 12 to 15 new customers since last May.

“Initially, I thought I was wasting my time. But now I have more than 650 followers. Some guys I know make fun of me — they call me an Instagram influencer. Sometimes hundreds of people will look at a video I post. In terms of new business, it has opened up a whole new world for us. And it’s all free.”

In one case, Porter was browsing on his Instagram account late one night when he ran across a photo of a worker digging under a retaining wall with a shovel, preparing to fix a water-main break. He posted a comment about the photo, noting that it looked like a job for a hydroexcavator.

“I got a response from a guy at the company doing the repair, saying that it was too bad hydrovac guys don’t want to work at 1 a.m.,” he recalls. “So I told the guy we work 24/7. He gave me his father’s phone number and we were out there the next morning. They’ve been loyal customers ever since.”

Through Instagram, Porter also has developed contacts with hydroexcavating companies all over the world, including firms in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, China, Russia, Mexico and Italy. They talk about challenging jobs, offer tips on equipment, ask each other business questions and so forth.

To figure out how to use Instagram, Porter says he watched some YouTube videos and also learned just by experimenting.

“I’m still getting the hang of it,” he says. “I’m learning all the time.

“After a 16-hour day, I now spend another hour or two posting things. It builds an awareness of all the different things we can do — sometimes things you’d never think of using a hydroexcavator for.”

As an example, West Coast recently received a call from someone who lives in a wealthy oceanside community called Crescent Beach, about 15 to 20 miles south of Vancouver. The caller asked if Porter could clean out a large fish pond at a multimillion-dollar mansion.

“It was a bit of overkill, but we ran 180 feet of hose through a gate and out to the pond in the backyard,” he says. “There were people standing next to their Ferraris, wondering what was going on.”


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