7 Surprising Places to Find Construction Leads

7 Surprising Places to Find Construction Leads

There’s no denying that Covid changed the way we work. Things are starting to get back to normal, but you never know when we might need to keep our distance again.

However, contractors and construction material suppliers still have to find leads for their businesses. If networking and in-person appointments aren’t on the agenda, you still need to connect with new customers. So, where do you look in a world that has gone from brick and mortar to click and mortar overnight? More places than you might think.

1. Read the Papers

You don’t get lower tech than old-fashioned newspapers, but they’re a treasure trove of construction leads. Start with the business and property sections, and look for stories about new companies, projects, and corporate appointments. Research them to find the right contact person, and then reach out to congratulate them on their big news and offer your services if they need them.

When you’re done with the obvious, go to the news section. Fires, burglaries, health code violations, and more are all opportunities to get your foot in the door. Read the stories, find the relevant contact people, and start dialing for dollars!

2. Look at Major Projects Lists

Most provinces have a page on a website where they list major projects that are in progress. These are usually searchable by sector, stage (planning, feasibility, underway, and so on), and estimated value. Even if you’re a subcontractor or a material supplier, these can be a goldmine of information. Look for the project owner or architect/engineer’s information and contact them. They might be able to refer you to a general contractor, or, often, they will ask for your company profile to add to their project file.

Make sure that you find out what their timeline is and schedule a follow-up with them. Even if you send information, you must stay on their radar to ensure you’re invited to quote or bid!

3. Vendor Lists

Many larger companies, municipalities, and other organizations have lists of preapproved vendors that they contact when they need work done. This is particularly true when it comes to projects that are smaller and fall under their required bidding threshold.

There’s usually a process involved in prequalifying for the list, and you might need to submit a company profile and other documentation, but if you get on the list, you can get some great leads this way!

4. Municipal, City, and Town Tender Pages

Most companies that bid on commercial and industrial work already look at the bigger bid sites like Merx, BuyandSell, and others. But you might not know that many other organizations also have bid or tender pages. On municipal sites, you can usually find these under “doing business with us” or a similar tab.

5. Google Alerts

The internet is a treasure trove of information, but let’s face it – there’s a lot of stuff to go through out there. If you know you’re looking for a specific topic or word, use Google alerts to be automatically notified when news with that word is posted. You can set up many different words and make them location-specific, and you’ll get all the latest news about topics you’re watching for leads right to your email inbox!

6. Cold Contact

Yes, you can still cold call, but people tend to be too busy to talk when you do. You could try email, but spam filters are not your friend. Now might be the time to go old school.

Identify companies that you want to work for. You can use Google, search directories, or read awards.

Compile an info package about your business. This could be printed in the form of a company profile, product data sheets, specifications, information about your services, and other things. Put them in an envelope, address them to the estimating or purchasing manager at the company you want to reach, and put them in the mail.

Don’t like print? You can put it all on a thumb drive or CD, put it in a weather-resistant envelope, and save on postage!

7. Digital Networking

Sure, there aren’t any real-world networking events, but networking is still happening. Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Get active on Twitter and connect with people in your industry. Sign up for Eventbrite or Meetup (or both) and look for relevant digital networking in your city.

Bonus Tip: Get More Out of Emails

I assume you’re already using a corporate email. If you’re not, you need to get one. Switching from free email to your own top-level domain address is one of the cheapest things you can do to make yourself look more professional.

Use the area directly under your email signature to promote new products, services or equipment you’ve acquired. Add a short blurb with a link to your website for more information (if you have one.) Every time you send an email, you’ll be promoting your business!

All of these are great, low-cost ways to generate leads for your business, even when you can’t do the face-to-face stuff you’re used to. Some take a little more preparation because you need a good company profile or product and service literature, but most cost a lot less than paid advertising and make a bigger impression.

Try some, and let me know how they go. And, of course, if you need any company profiles or marketing documents written, I’d love to help!