Winning construction projects is easy if you have the right strategy.
We teach our clients the Xplode Strategy which sets you up to develop lifetime clients. If you’re serious about getting more construction projects, you’ll need three parts to succeed:
- Get potential clients to Invite you to Bid
- Estimate those projects fast and efficiently (we can help with this part)
- Convert clients to lifetime clients
We cover all these steps in detail in our Ultimate Guide to Grow your Construction Business.
But here we’re going to focus on what you came here for – ways to get more projects and leads.
Once you start getting a ton of leads, we can help you estimate all of your projects. Our specialty is construction estimating for busy contractors. Learn more about our construction estimating services for Contractors and Subcontractors.
Initial Game Plan
We’re going to create a plan to find great clients and great projects. A few recommendations before we start:
- Create a dedicated email for your estimating department (even if it’s just you)
- If possible, get a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to keep track of new contacts and projects. You also use an Excel spreadsheet.
- Make business cards and company polos. You can do this on Fiverr.com and Vistaprint.com
- Have a plan on how to estimate these projects faster. They are going to start coming in by the truckload!
Let’s get started. Here are the best ways to get more construction projects.
1. Double-Dipping Method
If you’re a General Contractor, you really should also be pursuing jobs as a Subcontractor. The best part about being a GC/Subcontractor is that you have a long list of Subcontractors to perform the work for you. You can hire these guys at a discounted rate, labor only, and just manage materials and overall management of projects.
I recommend you pursue each project as a GC, find out who is bidding, and then use the Architect as a resource to find out who your competition is. You won’t always get an opportunity as a GC though, and thats why your backup plan is to bid that same job as a Subcontractor to the bidding GCs. If you spend the time to prepare your quantity takeoffs for a project, you can take advantage of the opportunity and bid as a GC and Sub.
It’s a great strategy to complement your current income, but if you want to have more steady work, this is definitely the way to go.
Create a separate business entity with a different name and also bid as a Subcontractor. You can pick a few specialties you know well and stick with those. Most Generals don’t like to hire a company to do too many trades because that leads to lower quality at the end.
2. Sign up for Commercial Lead Generation Services
If you’re in commercial construction as a general contractor or subcontractor, commercial lead generation services are the best way to start and get connected with clients who need contractors, and projects who are currently out for bid.
If you’re on a budget, building connected is free, and the other two have a free trial you can sign up for. They’ll send you a few leads per week for free.
I suggest you eventually pay for the service and get a really good amount of leads through it. They are only about $75-150/mo.
3. Use Residential Lead Generation Services
Home Advisor is a great service for Residential Contractors. They have superb marketing to get homeowner leads and then provide those leads to contractors. You only pay per lead. You’ll pay the annual membership which is about $200 per year, and each lead is between $40 and $90 depending on how many contractors also get that same lead.
Pro Tip – Call their customer service and only ask for the zip codes with higher value homes. These homeowners prefer value or price. You’ll be able to charge a bit higher. You can find the home values at Zillow.com.
4. Sign up for Government Construction (local and Federal)
The Government is always building! Sign up to be a government contractor. You can sign up with your city, county, state, and federal.
Go to these sites and register to get bid invitations:
USA.Gov – https://www.usa.gov/become-government-contractor
BidNet – https://www.bidnet.com
GSA – https://vsc.gsa.gov/RA/toolBox.cfm
Fed Biz Opps – https://www.fbo.gov
Next we’ll cover longer term strategies to supercharge your leads for years to come.
Visiting Method (best for long term)
Next… make a list.
Make a list of potential clients and create a schedule to visit 5-10 potential clients per week.
Making time to meet clients is going to boost the speed you’ll start securing jobs. It’s all about relationship building.
To meet those 5-10 clients, you can do it all in a day, or spread it out through your week.
Pro Tip – According to business expert Michael Masterson, you need to spend 80% of your time involved with your sales and marketing, and only 20% on actually running your business.
Just make it a routine. Once you get the ball rolling, the leads are going to start coming.
How to find leads to visit
Fire up browser and head over to maps.google.com.
Coming up we are going to give you a massive master list of potential clients for you to contact.
But here is how you find them.
Go to Google Maps and search for your type of client. Type the following into the search bar:
“Type of client” + in city
“Type of client” + zip code
“Type of client” + near me
-Developers in Miami
-Commercial Realtors 33196
-Property Managers near me
Google will return a great list for you which will soon convert into leads. Click on each one and save their company name, email, phone number, and address.
Quick Tip: I suggest you go one step further and try to get someone’s email address that works there so you can follow up. A great way to do that is using Hunter.io. It will scan the website for any emails. You can add this as a Google Chrome Browser Extension.
Put those into your CRM or Excel spreadsheet and let’s start visiting.
Expert Tip: Visiting rather than calling is so powerful because it establishes a face-to-face relationship. Even though we have technology, at the end of the day we are still human beings so use that to your advantage.
Sales Tip: To get some extra help, you can offer a finders fee if they help you secure a job. It’ll motivate some of the people into recommending you over someone else.
Master List of Potential Contacts
5. Contact Developers
Get connected with Developers. Developers are the financial planners and risk-takers of projects. If you’re a General Contractor, these guys are always looking for quality contractors to build their projects. Developers also like to hire Subcontractors directly often.
6. Contact Architects
Architects are one of the best contacts a GC can have. Architects are the “Gatekeepers” for projects. They are the first point of contact an Owner or Developer has for their project. Once they finish the plans, the next question is:
“Do you know any good General Contractors?”
Imagine if you build a great relationship with multiple Architects – imagine how many opportunities you can get. Go and visit them and offer your services.
7. Contact General Contractors
If you’re a Subcontractor, your very best source for projects will come from your local General Contractors. They are doing plenty of work in your city so getting a few repeat GCs as clients can really grow your bottom line.
Pro Tip: Since your time is limited, try to focus on local GCs that are winning a lot of jobs. Just because a GC bids a lot of projects doesn’t mean they are good at winning those jobs.
8. Contact Realtors (Commercial and Residential)
This is the FIRST contact an Owner has when buying or leasing a property. Most new Residential Owners will do some sort of remodel. In Commercial, almost every Real Estate transaction will be followed by a construction project. Offer them a finders fee if it leads to a job.
9. Visit Interior Designers
Interior Designers hire GCs and Subcontractors. They usually perform designs for higher-end projects which means higher-end profit margins!
They also have a lot of clients so if you can get in their good graces, they’ll send you projects. Remember, they need you.
10. Property Managers
Property managers are great because they usually represent the landlord. They manage rents, but also repairs, remodels, and even new construction.
Property managers often manage tens, if not hundreds of properties sometimes. They usually like to use the same contractors. And these guys will definitely send you projects consistently. Remember to offer a finders fee.
11. Mortgage Brokers
When an owner is going to get financing for their new property, mortgage loan officers are one of the most important people in their transaction. If you can build a few solid broker relationships, you’ll get a steady stream of potential projects.
12. Active Construction Sites
Active construction projects are great to get in contact with the architects, developers, owners, and general contractors that are actually winning jobs and doing work. Look for banner signs on the fences of construction projects, or even stop by and ask for the project manager’s information so you can contact them directly.
13. Construction Management Firms
When planning a bigger project, owners often hire a construction manager that will be responsible for the overall project, and this construction manager usually breaks up the project into smaller pieces and hires general contractors and subcontractors. If you are interested in building big projects, this is a great type of client to pursue.
14. Owners Representative Firms
Often times owners hire an owner representation firm that is involved with the project from the very beginning before the architect is even selected. The owner rep is involved with the project all the way through the owners move-in. Owner reps often are involved with higher profile type projects or projects with owners that are willing to spend money on quality and not so concerned with price when compared to other projects.
15. Mall Leasing Offices
Go visit the leasing office for every single local mall and ask how to become a preferred contractor. Malls are constantly turning over retail spaces and there is always construction going on. Sometimes the new tenants don’t know any contractors, and a contact in a leasing office can win you a steady stream of retail jobs.
16. Universities and Colleges
Universities and colleges are probably one of the most active when it comes to construction. Because education is such a profitable business, you are probably seeing new buildings going up in your local universities all the time. These guys are willing to pay top dollar for quality contractors, and they have a preferred contractors list. Find out who is in charge of construction for the University, and ask what the requirements are to work for them.
Large hospitals are also constantly doing renovations or adding new buildings. Hospitals are often publicly funded and require prevailing wage rates which means higher contract amounts. It’s just tough to become an approved contractor, but once you’re in, you’re almost guaranteed jobs. Check what their requirements and experience is. There are also ACHA requirements so make sure you’re familiar with those.
18. Apartment Complexes
Apartment complexes are often managed by large property management firms or regular leasing employees. Large property management firms manage multiple apartment complexes. Guess what they all need to do every few years? Paint, and 40 year recertifications. This will lead to a lot of remodeling or rework of existing buildings.
19. HOAs (Homeowners Associations)
Homeowners association‘s are constantly renovating and upgrading their communities. But most importantly, they are in charge of approving construction projects for owners. Sometimes owners want to perform a project and ask for the requirements. If you have a good relationship with some homeowners association, they might be able to recommend you. Also a lot of HOA‘s are run by property management firms.
20. Empty Tenant Spaces at Malls and Strip Malls
One of the things I always advise my clients to do is to always keep a lookout for opportunities. If you are at the mall and you see empty retail spaces, these are incredible opportunities. If you are at a smaller strip mall, the owner’s information or Commercial Realtor may be posted on a for lease sign. If not, do a quick Google search and try to find the Realtor or Owner.
Retail spaces usually get leased very fast, and it is in the owner’s best interest to have a contractor on standby. Tenants often have an alteration period of free rent. Often construction costs and logistics can make or ruin a real estate deal. Having a quality contractor is valuable for both sides.
21. Suppliers and Vendors
Suppliers and vendors are often contacted during the design stage for pricing. Then when the project is actually in the big phase, the other subcontractors that are being invited to bid on this job are going to be requesting pricing. Therefore, suppliers and vendors know about every single project that is going to be built. Establish a few key contacts, especially at framing, drywall, and painting stores. A great strategy will be to offer a finders fee if you get the job.
22. 3D Rendering Companies
When projects are in the very early stages, to sell the project to Investors, often 3D Renderings are involved. These are projects that could benefit from some initial estimating. If you can use 3d Rendering companies to connect to the architects, you might find that you can negotiate a Cost-Plus Contract to secure the job in the future.
23. Print Shops
Print shows are great sources of leads because other contractors and architects are always printing out plans. If a specific project keeps getting printed, your source can print you a copy so you can contact the Owner to become a potential bidder.
24. Previous Clients
Because you have worked with them in the past and they know your work, previous clients are going to be a great way to get repeat business. As a matter of fact, Phase 3 of our Xplode Strategy system converts clients into lifetime clients. It’s harder to get a new client to hire you than to get a previous client to re-hire you. If your previous client does a lot of work, invest in them so you can convert them to lifetime clients.
25. Ask for Referrals
After every project (and even during) ask for referrals of people who are also needing construction services. Selecting the right time to ask is also important. Try to ask for referrals at a point that they are most happy with your work. During the middle of construction is often a challenging time, unless your progress is fast.
Offer a referral fee for recommending you.
26. The Title Page Method
The title pages of plans show the Architect and Owner information. If you get a new set of plans, take a few minutes and call the architect to find out who else is bidding the job. Plus it’ll help you get a new potential client for the future.
If you use this strategy for every project that comes across your desk, you”ll multiply your chances of winning the job, you’ll build relationships with potential clients, therefore, setting you up for repeat business in the future.
Pro Tip: If you sign up for a lead generation service, sign up as a Subcontractor also. You’ll have access to more projects that you can use the Title Page Method.
27. Ask Subcontractors who else they’re working for
If you’ve been in the construction industry for a while, you’ve gotten to know Subcontractors. They are a great source to find out who else is actively building. They can connect you to the right GCs, and if they are a good Subcontractor, your GC will seriously consider you for that project or future ones.
If you are serious about growing your business, and getting more construction projects, you’re not going to find a better list and strategy than this.
I recommend you mix Lead Generation Services with visiting these potential clients door to door.
Door to door marketing is the most successful and time consuming approach, but it’s the one that will give you the best result long term.
Using Lead Gen services, you’ll be doing the same thing, but you’ll also be bidding on projects that are about to be built. So its a win-win.
Our team are experts at Lead Generation and construction estimating, so we can help you every step of the way.
Get our complete guide to explode your construction business. Download the Ultimate Guide here.