Questions from a General Contractor

12 Replies

Hi all,

I think this is the right forum for this question. My father runs a  general contracting company mainly focused on commercial properties but has done a lot of residential as well, from renovations to build outs. 

I was wondering what do you think are some good ways to market our services to investors. Working with homeowners I believe is harder than investors due to the fact that with homeowners decisions are driven more by emotional than numbers.

Looking to expand our services to individuals that fix and flip as well as larger commercial investors.

Wondering what do you like to see with a general contractor. 



@Thomas Shanley Interesting take...I find it more gratifying to work with homeowners because they are generally more invested in the finished product and always want a good job. That's not always true with investors. What did you mean when you wrote that it's harder to work for homeowners because their decisions are more emotion driven?  Can you expound on that?

In any event, investors seem starved for good contractors; it shouldn't be any problem finding them. 


What I meant by that was we have encountered many situations where homeowners are constantly changing their minds throughout the renovation or building process.  Then you are submitting change orders, etc. Nothing wrong with that but it can a more time consuming process. 

The main thing I was thinking of is that by working with investors you have constant flow of work that is similar. An example is someone renovating a small apartment complex, each apartment would look similar, making it an easier and more straightforward job. 

well as far as marketing I think BP markplace is great for u.. Post there and I'm pretty sure some investors will be interested, you can never have to many good contractor on your list... 

Goodluck with everything

Reliability and good communication are the qualities I am looking for and have not found yet. All the contractors I have dealt with thus far have over promised and under delivered (most of the time, there has been no delivery at all).

First contractor I find that is reliable with good communication skills will be working with me FOREVER!!! 

with doing quality work at fair prices a given....

you can be way ahead by being excellent with professionalism, paperwork, responsiveness, cleanliness, and having a good bedside manner. 

This reminds of good, fast, or cheap you can only have two. Having been in the contracting business my entire life every year the schedule and budget shrinks. My strategy has been picking the right players for the projects. I assess the project scope and intent of my client and try to provide them exactly what they ask for. I also assess the quality of the people I provide services for, are they realistic about pricing/timelines, do they pay on time, can they create a backlog for me, and if I get really busy is this a client I will turn down. There is a difference between clients and customers this why I assess to determine the people I do work for. I'm grooming potential clients and long term relationships.

I am exposed to all industries, and the cheapest is investors, it's because every dollar they spend, comes from their pocket, when dealing with homeowners, they tend to invest more on making their house pretty, even if changing their mind, at least they pay for it. Investors might not have the same take, they want every change free, get the cheapest price, and expect you to eat the changes on your price. I am not very familiar with apartment complexes, but I have the same expectations from it. I had one bid for apartment that wants to reno almost all of the interior except wall, for $3,500 labor only, and when I asked the reason why he was asking for bids when he already has a ceiling price, he simply answered, because it's what the others are charging me. On my end, I wouldn't touch it for less than $5,500, it was a 2 bed 1 bath apartment. Their whole budget was 12-15k for 2/1 up to 3/2 labor and materials.

 I prefer commercial work for the same reason you mention. Its very hard because its a relationship business. Real estate agents and maintenance supervisors give me the most cold calls.

Landing 1 large commercial account can bring in 500k gross receipts pretty easily. So keep trying because landing that single customer  with 1 million square feet of space makes it all worth while!

Network. This site is a good start. Post in your local forum, go to local REI club meetings.