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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Union Commercial Painting Contractors,

As we approach the start of the new year it is time to review what we can do to improve marketing and sales in 2012.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what market segments are active and the best methods for reaching out to GCs?

I know what not to do. In 2011, I did a lot of new construction bidding using Gradebeam with horrible results. It seems that a lot of times I was just providing free estimates for the GCs. Although by phoning and following up on bids I found out that most of the GCs never got the jobs I bid on anyway. Gradebeam is an online bid listing service. Most of the major GCs in my area are on Gradebeam. So, bidding strictly from the online bid listings doesn't work.

My thoughts are that now more than ever subs need to get off the computer listings and meet face to face with the GCs. Go grab lunch, stop by to say hello, drop off a card. Maybe use the online bid listings to get contacts and then try to contact them for a meeting.

Maybe if a GC/PM is not willing to meet with you it is not worth your effort to bid for them. They are probably just collecting numbers. My time is valuable. I have to know that I have a legitimate shot for getting the job on every bid I make.

More networking and outside sales is my guess for 2012.

Any thoughts out there?
 

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retired estimator
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I submit 50 -60 estimates each month, totaling around 1.5 M ... so I can tell you about the disappointment that comes from not being awarded a lot of jobs!

You are correct, that face time is really a good thing. I think that's true for any industry. But just like we painting contractors, the GC and his staff are up to their butts trying to get bids out and have little free time.

Start using a digital estimating program if you are not already. It will help speed up the takeoff process. Become active in your local ACG and ABC groups, they are a good way to network.

Good luck to you in 2012 ... we all need it.
 

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Regardless of what segment you are familiar with my opinion is this. It is a terrible struggle out there and you are not alone or experiencing uncommon problems. The majority of construction managers, g.c.'s and owners in my area will take all the numbers they can and will select the lowest even when they feel there is a problem with the number. They think they can just beat the unqualified sub into performing. Sadly enough when he is out of business there is another one right behind him with a pick-up truck and a magnetic door sign ready to jump in. Loyalty is mostly a forgotten term of the past.

My advise/opinion is this... focus on your customers/contractors that have been good to you. Work on negotiated work as much as you can with these people. If you have good customers that you can do this with you are less likely to get sold out or compete against fly-by-nighters. Talk to facility owners about maintenance programs and offer incentives such as reduced rates for long term or annual contracts. Developing new customers and networking is never a bad idea and you can tell pretty quick from feedback they give you or lack of on whether they are serious about doing business with you. If you get a bad feeling it is usually warranted. Scrub them from your priority list and find replacements. Never stop your search but keep your priorities organized correctly.

I do encourage you to look at estimating software as one poster suggested. On the screen i am on now there is an ad for OnCenter Software. I can tell you i have owned thousands of dollars worth of various software programs and i feel this is one of the better programs on the market. It is fairly easy to learn and i spend no time on commercial and industrial drawings compared to 10 years ago. The accuracy alone is a security blanket for you and potentially saves you from those toss in costs you throw in when you are in a hurry or do not want to take the time to take something small off because its a pain for no bigger than what it is. It doesn't take too many $1,000.00 toss ins before you are uncompetitive on a large job. Get rid of bid solicitation services and get involved with your community and business environment. FaceTime is priceless for the customers you desire. Your material reps can send you all the bid leads that you can handle to bid for free - they all subscribe to various services and are eager to help you out so you will buy their products.

Your time is precious. I have seen to many of my fellow competitors (good ones) fall because they have not been able to adjust to the times. I hate seeing this because the ones that fill those voids are (typically) not what our trade needs.

I've babbled long enough. I need to get back to worked and improve my efficiency :) Good Luck.

Please forgive me for spelling or punctuation errors, this was speed typing while i was taking a break :)

Have a great day
 

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Blueprint said:
Per month.
Wow that's some serious money for only 50-60.
I think it would take me at least 500 estimates to get close to 1,5M. How many painters to deliver that amount of work???
I need your receipe!!!
 

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retired estimator
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being awarded 10% of the projects quoted is really doing great. but that's not always the case.

The projects that I look at, for my clients, range in the $ 25K - $ 500K range. Some are small paint companies that can't afford full time estimating staff and some are larger companies that just need help, from time to tome, when they are overwhelmed with ITB (invitations to bid)
 
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