In order to build your construction contracting business, you need more work. Where can you find potential projects to bid?There are so many options that it can be overwhelming.
Search “construction bid opportunities” on the internet, and you’ll find lots of sites available with projects to bid. There are lead sites, owner-hosted bid sites, and contractor’s associations and bid centers advertising that they can deliver the leads you need.
Most contractors are looking for quality leads –customers that are ready to buy and want the service they are providing. It can be tough to know where those opportunities are posted and how to find them.
We’ve put together a short list of the best ways to find construction bid opportunities and have some hints about getting the most out of them.
Contractor’s associations and bid centers
Many cities and local communities will have a contractor’s association or bid center. These membership organizations provide services to help contractors get more work. Many of these organizations publish bidding opportunities for their members, either in newsletters or online. You can visit their website, log in to their system, and pursue the project opportunities.
You’ll find that there are all sorts of different project types advertised at these sites. Public projects, as well as private projects, are usually posted by general contractors looking for subcontractor bids.
Using the organization’s website, you can locate projects, download the plans, or often, the association provides plan printing services to its members. Whatever your preference, these organizations make it easier for you to find projects and often bid them for a low membership fee.
Many projects put out to bid by businesses or public organizations will be advertised on the organization’s website. Universities, state and local governments, school districts, and even the federal government have bidding websites that you can visit to keep up on the work that is out to bid.
Most of these organizations will let you register to access their list of projects bidding for free. You may also be able to set up notifications, so you receive an email every time a project that fits your profile is posted. Take advantage of these types of services, as they will save you time combing several sites looking for work.
While you generally don’t have to prequalify to subscribe to these websites, you may have to prequalify before bidding on projects. School districts and universities often call for a pool of contractors and subcontractors to qualify themselves to bid on their projects.Notices about these opportunities for qualification will be posted on their websites.
Meeting business owners and organization officers in person is a great way to drum up more business. Of course, since the COVID-19pandemic, we haven’t had many opportunities to meet face to face with anyone, let alone potential customers. Virtual conferences and events are still an excellent place to meet people. Even if you can’t talk during lunch, you can look at the attendee list and connect with people through LinkedIn or their company website.
If your contracting company specializes in a specific industry, such as restaurants or medical projects, attending industry events, and meeting people involved is another way to connect. Trade shows are also a great opportunity to meet customers. Many industries have trade shows to show off the newest advancements in equipment and technology, and construction contractors would fit in nicely.
Lead sites, like PlanHub, post potential bid opportunities for the companies that subscribe to their service. Often it is free to post a project, and members pay for viewing opportunities. The good thing about these leads is that you know they’ve been vetted, and there is generally a smaller pool of contractors bidding on them.
When you set up your profile for these sites, you can select the type of work you perform and where you want to work, and have leads emailed to you that fit your work and location. You can also browse the site to see how much work is out there and what types of projects are available.
General contractors who use these sites will receive an increased number of sub bids due to the volume of vendors who receive an invitation to bid on their project. These sites also make it easier for a contractor to bid on projects outside their normal construction area by allowing them to reach out to subcontractors and suppliers closer to the project location. GCs can also track who has viewed and downloaded their plans, so they can reach out to see if the sub has any questions.
Subcontractors will see similar benefits – the ability to bid on more projects, even outside their normal service area, easy ways to communicate with general contractors, and all their bidding documents stored in one easy-to-locate site. Getting just one or two projects from this type of system will make the small fee worth it.
If the lead site offers a free trial period, take advantage of it. Use this time to search the site to see what types of projects are posted. If you don’t see many projects with your type of work, you may want to try a different site. Some are targeted for certain types of work, like residential or commercial, and some may only cover specific geographical areas.Shop around and find the best service that will provide you with the most legitimate leads, easy access, and works with your bidding processes.