marketing to general contractors

There is a very specific marketing strategy I want to show you that’s going to get GCs to literally beg you for your bid and award you tons of projects.


Note:  The usual marketing methods like Google and Facebook are not going to work because you’re targeting a business vs. targeting a homeowner.  The following proven strategies will guarantee your success.


If you’re going to be successful at marketing and getting project opportunities, you need to understand the process and what your client needs from you.  What I’m going to show you here is something most Subcontractors don’t even think about, but I’m going to give you the secrets to marketing to general contractors.


At our core, I AM Builders is an estimating firm but part of what we do is help our clients get more project leads.  To get project leads you have to get in the head of your potential client.  Your job is to identify your client’s problem and provide them with the solution.


Most GC’s problems are like this:  “I need to hire a good Subcontractor for the project that I can trust, that is reliable, and is a good price”.


There are two parts to this problem:


Problem 1 – You need to find the companies that are in need of Subcontractors. This can be achieved by doing the following:

  • Lead Generation Services
  • Outreaching and Face to Face


Problem 2– Their problem and or need is quality subcontractors. This can be achieved by doing the following:

  • Increase your perceived value
  • Follow Up and close



Let’s tackle this 2-part problem


Part 1 – Finding the Right General Contractors


In the old days, everything was word-of-mouth.  And although word-of-mouth is a good way to get project opportunities, you can’t control this and you can’t scale it. If you want to grow your business and get more projects, you have to figure out a way to control the number of incoming project leads. We teach our clients two strategies:  Using Lead Generation Services and also the Outreach Method.


Lead Generation Services


There are great lead platforms that are designed to connect General Contractors with Subcontractors.  I AM Builders is working on a lead generation service that is going to be full-service, but it’s in a pilot program now so we’re not quite ready to launch.  In the meantime, you can use any of the following major Lead Companies:

  1. The Bluebook (Highly Recommended for Subcontractors)
  2. Construct Connect
  3. Building Connected (it’s free for Subcontractors)
  4. CMD
  5. Dodge
  6. iSqFt
  7. BidClerk
  8. Planshub


If all you did was use Lead Generation Services, you wouldn’t need to anything more. But as a company, you should have a mix of incoming leads from these platforms and face-to-face visits.



Outreaching and Visiting (Face-to-Face)


In sales, they say “ABC, Always Be Closing,” but in Construction, you can say “AATBPOABL, Always Ask to be Put on a Bid List.”


With the Coronavirus, it might be a little difficult, but you should still try to do the face-face-marketing.


Use the Google Method

Go to and type in:

“Type of client” + in city

“Type of client” + zip code

“Type of client + near me


– General contractors in Dallas

– Painting contractors 68102

– Commercial realtors near me


You’ll see a list of prospects you can easily convert into leads, click on each company, collect their info (email, phone number, address), and add them to your list of potential clients.


Not sure where to start? We’ve identified the best leads for you to go after. 


Click here to download our Master List of Potential Contacts in 2021 for GCs & Subs. 




Research Active Projects and Connect with those Companies


When you see construction sites, those are people actually winning jobs, not just bidding them. Finding jobs to bid is easy, but finding jobs to win is where the real challenge is.  When companies get to the point of breaking ground, chances are they have several others about to start or in the works.


When you see a construction site, take pictures of all the billboards, signs, and note the address for research later.


Use Construct Connect to find out the projects that were awarded. Here is how you do it:


1. Go on Construct Connect, filter by city, location, and AWARDED. These are the winners. 

2. Make an Excel file with all the companies in the contacts list to add to your Target List


Add the address and other contact info to the list and use it for your Outreach (see above).


If you find a project under construction, go to your local building department’s website and punch in the address. Since permits are usually public information, you’ll see the architect and owner’s information.  There you can talk to them about future jobs.



Part 2- Increase your Perceived Value


This is another one of these secret strategies that most subcontractors don’t really use that will set you far apart from your competitors.


In Sales and Marketing, the most important thing you show off is going to be your branding.  It’s a sign of your professionalism.  Every company should have a great logo, embroidered polos, branded proposals, contracts, Change Order Forms, and RFI (Request for Information) forms.


You can also use PM Software like Procore and Buildertrend to help you with managing this.  They usually come with pre-made templates.


If you’re not that techy, that’s ok too.  Here is a proposal template we give to our clients in case they need them.  You can add your own logo.


Download the Proposal Template Here


The professionalism in your branding in reality has nothing to do with how good of a contractor you are, but it gives your potential client a sign of how professional you are and increases your perceived value.


General Contractors want to work with Subcontractors that can do their paperwork correctly, send their billings on time, and build correctly and maintain their schedules.  By having all your paperwork branded and in-order, you’re giving them the signal that you’re going to be a great company to work with, therefore solving the second part of their problem by showing them you are a good contractor at a good price.


Now the rest of it is going to be in your execution of the job.  If you hit a home run with your GC on the first job, there’s a good chance they are going to invest in you for future jobs.



Follow-Up and Win the Job


You’ve gotten the leads, estimated the job, submitted your bid, and now you have to close.  There is a fine line between marketing and sales. There’s no point in investing your time into marketing yourself just to fall short of the finish line. Now it’s time to close.


If you’ve been following the strategies above, by now you should have a great relationship with your potential client.  You should work at building relationships from the beginning all the way through even after you are awarded contracts.


We teach our clients to create a follow-up schedule.  Adhering to a schedule will ensure you do not become distracted and miss an opportunity to close and land that job.


Just recently I just spoke with one of my clients and he told me he stopped bidding projects two months ago and he just ran out of work.  Scenarios like this help us fine-tune our strategies and base on what our contractors are actually experiencing.  We didn’t make this stuff up.  We listened to our clients and developed all these strategies.


Here is a sample follow up system:


  • Day 1 – Ask to get on a bid list
  • Day 7 – Call and ask for projects coming up
  • Day 10 – Pass by and meet them and say “I’m going to start bidding for you guys and I wanted to meet your team”
  • Day 14 – Submit your bid
  • Day 14 – Call and confirm they received your bid
  • Day 16 – Ask for feedback on pricing and status of job
  • Day 25 – Pass by and visit with the excuse “I was in the area, what else do you have coming up?
  • Day 32 – Follow up on project and ask for more projects
  • Day 40 – Send an update email and request a meeting with the Owner
  • Day 47 – Text the PM and/or Estimators (texting changes the dynamic to more friendly and informal which wins you jobs)
  • Day 57 – Sign a contract
  • Day 70 – Start the job
  • Day 80 – Visit their office and ask what else they have coming up
  • Day 100 – Repeat


Imagine if you did this with 300 clients.  Don’t you think you’ll be blowing up with leads, projects, and contracts?


The answer is YES!!!


Start doing it solo, then hire a Salesperson, add their cost into your Overhead, and within 6 months they’ll be bringing in 20X their salary in revenue.




By following the steps in this post you will fine-tune your strategy and target your marketing to the right clients. Identifying and addressing your client’s needs will prove your quality above the rest and make you stand out in the crowd.


Good luck with your company.



FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY: Give us a call at 305-433-6432 and say you came from the How to Market to General Contractors Article and we’ll give you 10% off on the next estimate you do with us.

Daniel Quindemil


Founder and Senior Estimator at I AM Builders