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Best practices for small construction companies
Your contracting company may be small right now, but what does your dream company look like? Multiple teams and locations? Larger projects? Multi-million dollar contracts? The first steps to keep your contracting business growing may seem obvious, but putting in the work now will set you up for success as you scale and build.
In this guide we will cover:
- How to find the right project for your team
- How to get the word out about your company
- How to complete quick and accurate estimates
- How to expand with new project types
The Right Project at the Right Time
When it comes to finding projects to bid, there are two sides of the coin to consider. The first is searching RFQs (Requests for Qualifications) that are posted online. Research projects that line up with your team’s experience, and make sure that you meet all of the requirements for non-negotiables like insurance and bonding. Here are some websites and plan centers to start your search:
The other side of the coin is all about relationships. How are you networking as a construction professional? The goal is not only to build a network, but to earn trust with general contractors, project managers, owners, and developers. Do they know that you will respond quickly to their calls and emails? Set aside two times each day to focus on communicating with potential clients about their upcoming work. This will help create a pipeline of projects so you decrease your team’s downtime.
Creating a Digital Reputation
If a client Googles your company, what will they find? In a world that is primarily digital, those first brand experiences speak loudly about your professionalism and reputation in your local market. Your company may not be large enough to hire a full-time marketing team, but a few best practices can be implemented, even at a small scale.
Website, Domain, and Email
The power of a simple, straightforward, and professional website is unmatched. Even if you aren’t a web designer, there are many programs that now make it possible to create a website that showcases your work in the best light. If you plan to build your own website, start with a platform like Squarespace that offers a drag-and-drop web builder, as well as other services to connect all of your digital marketing.
A professional domain and email can also make a big difference in how potential clients perceive your business. If you are still using a Yahoo or Gmail email address for your business, it is time to invest the small annual fee in an email address that matches your domain. For example, if your website is verybestbuilding.com, your email should be firstname.lastname@example.org. This will also help you avoid spam filters as you ramp up your outreach efforts.
Whether it’s Google, Facebook, or Nextdoor, your customer reviews are shouting about your work from the rooftop of the internet. Here are two things that can make a big difference in the amount of positive reviews.
- Always respond to reviews. If they are positive, thank the customer for leaving a review and mention the specific project. If the review is negative, comment that you will be following up with an email to address the specific concerns.
- Always request reviews. When you have a happy customer at the end of a project, ask them in person to leave you a review on Google, then follow up with an email that provides links to places to leave a review. You can also include an incentive for reviews like a small gift card or discount on future services.
The details of social media can change every week, but be sure to choose a platform that makes sense for your business and allows you to create frequent, relevant content. Otherwise, your time will not be well spent.
Here are some social media content ideas to get you started:
- Create videos from your construction sites for TikTok
- Share about new construction technologies on LinkedIn
- Post stories about happy customers and finished projects on Facebook
The key to staying relevant on any social media channel is consistency. Do your best to post daily with content that is valuable and interesting to your audience, so your brand stays top of mind, especially when your prospects are making purchasing decisions.
Estimates for the Win
Are you working long days in the field and then coming back to your office just to face a mountain of bid sheets and estimating calculations? Or maybe you are spending hours chasing down quotes from new suppliers every time prices increase. An easy-to-use software platform like 1build can connect your architectural plans and takeoffs directly to your estimate and save you hours. And with more time, you can submit higher quality bids faster, getting your company in front of more clients.
Your accurate estimate is key to not only growing your business, but also remaining profitable. Bid too high and you will lose opportunities. Bid too low and you will lose money. By using a construction estimate software that is powered by real-time, local cost data like 1build, you can create a focused, line-item bid sheet that reflects the real cost of materials and labor.
Expand Your Reach with New Types of Projects
One of the best ways to grow your contracting business is to venture into a new type of construction project. If your team has focused on residential interiors, consider bidding tenant improvement (TI) projects for small commercial spaces. If your business has been focused on remodeling, reach out to some general contractors who are swamped with ground-up new build homes. For subcontracting work like framing, consider working together with other carpenters who can round out the skills of your team for cabinetry or decks. And adding specific types of projects like schools, warehouses, and student housing can open years of new opportunities and profit centers.
At the end of the day, a successful bidder wins work by delivering quality—from pricing, to communication, to the product you deliver. As your business grows, don’t hesitate to create winning strategies and find the right tools to streamline your process. With this foundation in place, you can build what you love and let the craftsmanship shine through.
Book a demo with 1build today, and see how a powerful estimating and cost data tool can transform your business.