If you’re moving into commercial construction, it can be tough to find figure out where to start with finding work. You might be used to getting clients via word of mouth from homeowners.
If you were previously turning down residential work but are now struggling to find new commercial projects, don’t worry. The construction industry is all about building relationships, and with commercial work, it just takes a bit of a shift in how those relationships are developed.
The Role of Relationships and Networking in Commercial Construction
Whereas in residential projects, you’re working with a different client each time and hoping for referrals to their friends and family, the goal for commercial work is to build a network of general contractors who will put you on their preferred subcontractor list to work with on a regular basis.
Because you don’t have this network yet, you’ll have to do some searching first. This is where online tools come in handy. When general contractors are looking to expand their subcontractor list or simply need someone to handle overflow, they often use online plan rooms to get bids.
How to Use Online Tools to Find New Construction Projects
Think of online platforms as job boards and research tools. You can use them to find projects that are available as well as to seek out info for upcoming jobs.
Online Plan Rooms
Online plan rooms are where general contractors list jobs that are available for bid. Often plans and specs are included for download, so you can pull them directly into your takeoff and estimating software. These are the best places to start seeking out commercial projects and get your feet wet with the bidding process.
Bid Management Platforms
When you’re ready to look ahead and be more proactive with your pipeline, turn to bid management programs and construction publications. These tools give you access to early stage projects. You can see what’s coming up in the design phase and track companies and projects that you’d like to work with, so when those projects come up for bid, you’re prepared to be among the first to submit a proposal.
3 Online Solutions for Finding New Construction Projects
There are a lot of tools on the market, so it can be tough to decide which ones to try. As you’re evaluating, think about what else you’d like the software to do, such as easily integrate with other tools you’ll be using (like takeoff software) to smooth the process. Here are 3 of the best options out there.
Construction Journal helps you build relationships and win more business quickly and easily by putting relevant information right at your fingertips. Browse their huge listing of projects and discover ones you previously didn’t know about.
Each project includes key contacts, bid dates, trades for requested sub-bids, and even plans and specs when available. You can narrow in on projects you want to bid on by filtering out those that you don’t want to see.
Increase your sales pipeline and win more business. Try Construction Journal for free at constructionjournal.com.
PlanHub helps subcontractors find and bid on projects posted by local contractors. They also help general contractors find more subs to bid on their projects.
Upon logging into their software, you’ll see a list of open projects that are looking for subcontractors to bid on. Projects outside of your area are automatically filtered out so you can concentrate on those within your targeted geographic area.
Get a free trial at planhub.com. If you find it useful, you can upgrade to one of their premium plans.
Dodge Data & Analytics
Dodge Data & Analytics helps you find the right kind of jobs that fit your expertise. Their platform also helps reduce the time you spend sorting through documents and preparing and managing bids.
Dodge provides all the information you need for early stage projects and projects bidding soon in your area. They organize and manage the whole bid process so you can stop dealing with office work and get back to building!
Take a closer look at the Dodge Data & Analytics platform by requesting a demo at construction.com.
Build and Maintain Relationships
When you’ve had some success and won some bids, now is the time to put in the work to strengthen those new relationships with GCs. Show them that you can complete the work on time and on budget without complications. Be ready to suggest subs you know in other trades or ideas you may have to save on costs. Make sure your crew is consistent and professional on the jobsite and follows all protocols.
In a way, it’s not so different from residential: instead of earning your clients’ referrals to others, you’re earning the opportunity to work with them again.
Relationship Building in Preconstruction
While it might be a bit of a learning curve at first, remember that the more accurate your bids are, the more your relationships with GCs will thrive. When you submit a proposal that’s clearly on target, you’re giving a good impression right from the start.
The best way to get that accuracy is to choose a preconstruction platform that will work with you, not against you. Find a takeoff and estimating tool that will allow you to perform fast, accurate takeoffs, create detailed estimates without rework, and generate professional, bid-ready proposals all in one place, and you’ll be way ahead of the game already.
Looking for the right software to do that? STACK works smoothly in tandem with Construction Journal, PlanHub, and Dodge.
Create a free STACK account to discover how easy your preconstruction process can be.