Whether you’re struggling to find work now or your team is busy in the field, in the construction industry, it’s always the right time to be thinking ahead. After all, a full pipeline is the best way to ensure you’re staying competitive.
While bidding on jobs via plan rooms is a great way to find projects, sometimes you need to supplement that tactic with other options. Here are 5 ways you can get ahead of the pack and ensure future project opportunities remain plentiful.
1. Keep up with your existing customers.
Construction is an industry that’s all about networking and relationships. Stay in touch with existing customers to be top of mind. You should also go above and beyond by tracking your favorite companies so you can be notified when they bid on a project or pull a set of plans.
When you’re this far ahead, your sales and estimating teams can be proactive. Rather than waiting around for invitations, you can reach out long before you might normally have become active, express your interest, and potentially avoid much of the competition.
2. Get involved during the design stage.
By paying attention to future projects, you’ll know what’s coming months in advance of bidding. You can identify projects that never even go to plan rooms, and more importantly, you can access complete bidder lists.
If multiple GCs are bidding on a single project, you can complete one estimate and get it out early to all of them, significantly increasing your chances of winning no matter who ends up with the project from the owner.
3. Make bidding decisions in advance.
Early access to plans and specs gives you the time and space to choose which projects make sense for you to focus on before having to consider deadlines and competition. Review as many plans upfront as you can so you can be strategic on the best ones to bid.
Watch for early RFPs and RFQs coming down the pipe as well. Knowing what types of projects are heading out to architects and engineers gives you a clearer picture of jobs that might become available farther out into the future. You can keep those in the back of your mind as you plan for staffing, tool, and financing needs in future quarters and even years.
4. Consider seeking out single-trade projects.
There are thousands of single-trade projects out there every month, and you can be taking advantage of these. These are jobs like roof replacements or electrical upgrades that never go to a plan room or through a GC, meaning as a trade contractor, you effectively are the GC on the project and work directly with the owner.
This type of job offers the advantage of typically being a quick turnaround without the added complexities of working with a GC or other subcontractors. You can fill pipeline gaps with these projects as you work around more complicated job schedules.
5. Look for ways to diversify your niche.
Having an eye on large-scale market trends will let you pivot more quickly when the industry shifts direction. Economic and societal changes inevitably bring ebbs and flows to particular types of work: for example, if industrial sector demand slows, multifamily housing might still be increasing; or restaurant, office, and medical complex construction might move in a new direction.
Having a pulse on these cycles allows you to look ahead at ways you could expand your business’s specialties, and you can seek out those opportunities before others catch on.
How to Put Your Plan into Action
All of these methods sound great, but how do you make them work within the constraints of your organization? Who has the time to seek out this information? All you need are two tools that will revolutionize your preconstruction process.
To free up time for all this forward thinking, you need to reduce the hours your team spends on takeoffs and estimating. STACK helps you do this by providing a complete set of takeoff tools to make your process up to 10 times faster.
With an advanced estimating platform, your takeoff data is quickly converted to a detailed estimate using your items and assemblies, and you can even generate a branded, bid-ready proposal. When the entire process takes so much less time, your team now has the freedom to think critically and look ahead to find these new opportunities.
Once your team has more time, you can create an account with Construction Journal, which does all the work of tracking your favorite customers, supplying early stage projects and plans, maintaining an enormous database of single-trade projects, and providing details on the latest projects.
You don’t have to do the work to find all this valuable information – it’s populated right into your dashboard. And once you access the plans you want, you can upload them right into STACK to keep your workflow smooth.
Want to learn more about how these strategies and tools can have a major impact on the way you do business? Watch our on-demand webinar for a detailed look.