Ways to Find Subcontractors for Out of Town Work
June 2, 2021
If you’re expanding to a new location or bidding on work outside of your usual service area, it can be tough to find subcontractors to bid construction projects. You need to find reliable subs who will bid the work and provide quality performance for your customer. But you also need to find subs who can do the work economically.
Here are a few ways you can expand your reach to find subcontractors for out of town construction projects.
Use a digital plan room
Contractors who post their projects to bid on digital plan rooms, like PlanHub, can reach out directly to subs in a specific area to see if they want to bid. It’s easy to select a location and the trades you need, and invitations are automatically sent out to those subcontractors. Digital plan room users are prequalified and you can be sure that they are currently in business and actively seeking work. It’s quick and easy and the only time you spend is following up with subs who’ve expressed interest in the project, not the initial search.
Visit the location
If you’re bidding a large project or it’s one you know you’ll be working on, you may want to take a trip to the location. It could be a short trip for just a day or two, or you may want to set up a local office if you plan to be there for a while. Being on-site allows you to see who’s actively working in the local area. You can visit other job sites and note the companies’ names, then call them to set up meetings or visit their office. Making an in-person trip shows your commitment to the project and may encourage more subs to bid.
Setting up an off-site office or even making a short trip out of town can be expensive, depending on how far away the location is and how many people you send. But it could be a good way to see which contractors are working in the area and reach out to them.
Search state business directories
Many states have online directories that list minority-owned and small businesses. You can use these directories to find contractors to bid on your project. If the project requires a good faith effort to reach out to minorities and small businesses, you may be required to do this anyway.
Like many of the options above, once you get a list of potential subs, you’ll have to reach out to them by phone or email to confirm that they are still in business and see if they’re interested in bidding your project. Depending on how many subcontractors you’re looking for, this could be quite time intensive.
Check the internet
It’s not surprising that one suggestion is simply to search the internet for subcontractors in the town the project is in. This is the quickest and easiest way to find contractors in the area. Simply Google “concrete contractors in Atlanta, Georgia” and you get a list.
While this is may be the quickest way to come across possible contractor names, it’s not always the best source of information. There’s no guarantee that a company is still in business, even if they show up on the search results. Also, not every company has a digital footprint, so you may miss smaller, more economical contractors that aren’t online. And, once you’ve got a list of contractors from the search results, you have to spend time calling to see if they’re still open and if they want to bid on your project.
Advertise in the local business journal
Although newspapers are quickly disappearing and being replaced by online news sites, there are still a few of them around. The Daily Journal of Commerce or other local papers may provide space for contractors to advertise when they are looking for subcontractors. For some projects, contractors are required to advertise in certain publications in order to prove that they made a good faith effort to recruit minority owned and small businesses.
One downfall of advertising in these papers is that only subscribers will see your advertisement. Subscribing to business journals can be expensive, so there may not be a lot of subcontractors on their mailing list. Also, placing advertisements in newspapers costs money. You’ll want to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it’s worth the cost or if you’d rather pursue less expensive options.
Use PlanHub to find subcontractors in a new location
PlanHub allows GC's to send invitations quickly and easily to contractors near your job site. It’s the fastest and most accurate way to reach out to potential subs, and it's free for general contractors. If you’d like to see a demo of how PlanHub’s plan room works, contact us today.