How to find local construction cleanup leads
[Note: This is post #2 of a 6 part series on how to find construction
cleanup leads – to read the whole series click here]
I hope you’re ready to start finding some local construction clean jobs to grow your cleaning business, because today I’ll show you just how to do it.
When I started out in the construction cleaning biz, I used the EXACT techniques outlined in this post to start landing very lucrative cleaning projects and made over $30k of revenue in the first 3 months.
That’s with ZERO experience, ZERO contacts, and ZERO money – it all started with a library card and a phone, from small apartment in Atlanta.
The point is… the techniques in this article aren’t just theory – they’re only here because they WORK.
And if I can do it, so can you!
I’m going to share a bunch of lead sources with you here, but before I do, I want to talk quickly about the importance of having an actual system in place to manage all of this information.
If you look for project opportunities and submit bids inconsistently, your results will be inconsistent as well.
This is the #1 reason cleaning companies struggle to find construction cleanup work. It’s not that there aren’t enough projects around, usually it’s that they’re just not organized enough in their efforts to find them.
If you want to grow your cleaning business predictably and sustainably – a little organization will go a LONG way.
At the very least, you should build a spreadsheet or document to keep all of the contact information you gather for construction companies and building projects in your area.
If you’re serious about this, I highly recommend investing in some kind of CRM (customer relationship management) software like Salesforce, Zoho, or SugarCRM.
These software tools allow you to keep all your contact data conveniently organized, and you’ll be able to keep track of who you’ve sent emails to, who has responded etc.
Most are pretty cheap to get started with, and the time one of these tools will save you over the long run will easily pay for itself.
Also, because you’re better organized, you’re less likely to miss out on opportunities because they got lost in a sloppy “to-do” pile.
SO… rule #1 is, stay organized. Search Google for the CRM’s mentioned above or at least use a spreadsheet.
Now before I show you WHERE to look, here is WHAT you are looking for:
Contact information for local construction companies (names, positions, phone numbers, email addresses)
Project information for local construction companies (upcoming projects, start dates, work required, job site locations)
The two types of leads you’ll find online…
1) Projects that have already been awarded to contractor, or in progress (great)
2) Projects that the contractor is bidding on (not so great)
The best construction cleanup lead sources
Lead source #1 – Construction company online planrooms.
Most construction companies have a section of their website dedicated to sharing information about the projects they are bidding on, or ones they have in progress. They do this to make it easy for subcontractors (like you) to submit accurate bids.
In construction industry lingo, these are called “online planrooms”
About half of these planrooms are password protected, and you’ll need to register or email the contractor for access. The other half are open to everybody.
Here are a few examples – check them out so you know what I mean:
How to find online planrooms:
These aren’t that difficult to find, but they will take a little bit of time and effort.
Just start searching Google for “construction companies [your city]” and poke around their websites.
If the company looks like a good source of potential leads in the future, but you can’t find a planroom, consider emailing them to see if they have one on a hidden page.
- Search Google for local construction companies and contractors. Look around their websites for plannrooms like the examples I shared
- Create a dedicated list of these URLS in a spreadsheet, document, or a CRM software system
- This list of websites is only useful if you check for updates on a regular basis (at least every 2 or 3 weeks – more is better). So make a schedule and stick to it. Checking your list for any new leads doesn’t take long once it’s in place
Lead source #2 – Social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn)
Not all construction companies are active on social media, but the number is growing quickly, and the ones that are active often post updates about their project wins right when they happen.
While their company website can take days or weeks to be updated, social channels are quick and easy to post to. If you stay on top of these social pages you can have a real advantage by being the first cleaning company to get in touch with them about a new project.
There are a ton of social media channels out there, but the ones I’ve had the best luck with are Facebook and Twitter.
Finding new project leads on these platforms basically works the same as our last lead source, online planrooms.
As you find local construction company websites, look for their social media pages, and subscribe. Also note down the URLs of these pages and check them regularly (build this onto your planroom checking schedule).
That last part is important – just because you’re “following” or you “liked” a local construction company’s Twitter/Facebook page, doesn’t mean you’ll see everything they post. Actually, you’ll probably miss 80% of their posts.
So you’ve got to manually check their company page every few weeks (or more often) to keep up to date.
The main reason I mention LinkedIn here is that creating a very nice (complete) LinkedIn page for your cleaning business is about 1,000 times easier and faster than building a webpage.
If you’re going to be cold emailing construction companies and you don’t have much of a reputation or online presence, this is a simple way to give yourself some credibility.
Also, if you make a nice profile you’ll likely get occasional inquiries from construction companies looking for cleaning bids.
- As you find local contractor/construction company websites, note down their social media pages and follow them.
- Also SEARCH the Facebook and Twitter platforms themselves to find these pages, or to find recent construction news for your area. (Twitter search is especially good for this).
- If you don’t have much of an online presence yet, take an hour or so to create a nice (complete) LinkedIn profile. The more laser focused you can make this profile on construction cleaning, the better your results are going to be.
Lead source #3 – Construction industry online directories/ bidding & project platforms
There are quite a few websites online that are basically big directories and project listing platforms for the commercial construction industry.
These websites make it easier for subcontractors to find construction companies, and vice versa.
Some of these are better than others. Some are free, some are partially free, and some are for paid members only.
Here are a few of the most popular websites in this category which have free membership options:
Generally, you’ll get a lot of bid invitations on these platforms that are in “project bid phase” – meaning, the construction company hasn’t been awarded the contract yet.
These aren’t great opportunities (I’ll explain why later on) BUT, it’s worth at least signing up for free accounts on these websites to see what comes your way.
If the leads look promising, you may consider paying for an account to get more of them.
Lead source #4 – Biz Journals
Our last lead source for today is one of the best, and is actually the one that really launched our business in the first few months.
Basically, Biz Journals lists building permit applictions in your area, on a monthly basis. These applications will have the construction company name attached.
This is a better source than most of the others because a contractor will only apply for a building permit if they’ve actually been awarded the building project.
This means you’re not wasting your time and energy sending bids to contractors that haven’t even secured the project yet.
The online version of this directory is paid, but most local libraries have a subscription for this, or they can get you a recent copy if you ask.
This is the exact source that put my cleaning company on the map in the construction clean industry. All for free, too.
We just went down to the local library and started gathering contacts from Biz Journals, then started emailing them, asking if we could bid on their projects.
Putting it all together – action steps cheat sheet
- Google search for local construction companies
- Look for online planrooms or ‘news’ or ‘latest projects’ pages on these sites. Make a list of these and check them regularly for updates.
- Find local construction companies’ social media pages and add these to your list.
- Follow/like/friend all of these pages, AND manually check them as often as you can.
- Create a LinkedIn account specific for construction cleanup services in your area.
- Make it COMPLETE
- Search for any and all contacts you know and connect with them.
- Anytime you make a new connection through email, phone, or handshake, try to find them on LinkedIn and add them.
- Include this link in all your email communications, business cards etc.
- Create free accounts for as many online construction industry directories as you can.
- Check your accounts and email regularly for new messages or promising leads nearby.
- These directories are hit and miss depending on your area, so give them a try for a while to get a feel for which ones will work for you. Try out a paid account on a one or more of these to increase your chances of getting good leads and find the best one (you’ll need to experiment a bit here)
- Go to local library (free) or pay for an online subscription to BizJournals
- Look for building permit applications in your area
- Note down project locations + any and all contact information for later use
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of every possible way to find construction clean work.
But these 4 lead sources are MORE than enough to get you started.
None of these platforms is a magic bullet, but using them all together, is like a machine gun. If you take it step by step and you stay organized and consistent, I promise you’ll start getting some high quality leads to bid on within as little as a few weeks.
That’s it for today.
In the next blog post, I’ll tell you how to actually make contact with construction companies in the right way. This is really easy to mess up, so stay tuned.
For now, I’ve given you plenty to work with, so get out there and collect some contacts!