Being a contractor can be tough, you rely on others to bring you work and without clients to supply you with a more consistent flow of work. Life can be tough but with clients, you have the platform for limitless opportunities.
But how do you get the clients?
In this article we will be going over some of the thing’s businesses successful with clients do and how you can go about winning clients and tender for your business.
One of the best ways for businesses to meet contractors and swap details is by going to networking events, such as Construction Connects which is hosted by SMAS Worksafe. Events such as this will allow you to turn up and meet contractors who have current or upcoming projects in your area.
You can also identify your own potential clients. You can search for upcoming projects in your area and reach out directly to them to arrange a meeting. Make sure you consider the size of the project and whether it is appropriate for your business.
Once you have identified the client, reach out to them outlining your services and work capacity, the project you’re looking for might not be right for either party but now the relationship has been formed there is potential for them to contact you regarding other projects. Your willingness to reach out to them shows them you’re keen and the fact you have reached out to them may save them the hassle of trying to source a contractor later.
If your business employs subcontractors, you can also use them to find out about potential work or clients that may require contractors by asking them. Use them to get you in touch with clients and to keep you posted about opportunities that might be coming up.
Another way in which your business can win contracts from clients is via referral. You may be invited to contract bidding processes from clients you already have a network with. Those clients may also have partners or members that require contractors on other jobs and can extend tender invitations to you.
Building lots of strong relationships in your industry is the best way for your business to go to the next level and continue to win client deals. Working with a client and meeting or exceeding their expectations is the first step, you need to make sure that you’re building up credibility with the people you’re working with so that they feel confident in recommending you to others.
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals either, requesting a referral might be the best way to earn one. It might be something that a client hadn’t considered, or they might simply have not gotten around to asking businesses and putting yourself forward will put your business in pole position.
The more extensive your list of clients and contacts is and the better your reputation the more likely you are to obtain referrals. However, the most important aspect of gaining referrals is making sure that your business reflects high standards of safety and quality within the industry.
Of course, there is little value in building a referral network for your contractor business if your actual work does not reflect the high standards of quality and safety that clients expect within the industry. Clients are unlikely to recommend a business that is doing a poor job and risk damaging their own reputation. A commitment to standards of excellence is essential for developing a robust referral network that can help you get more contracts. Having a relevant and up-to-date health and safety accreditation like SSIP is a major asset, not only does it demonstrate your dedication to high standards, but it may also be a prequalification to work for the client.
Make yourself visible
The next way to win contracts with big clients is by letting them come to you. Most major clients will
have project management teams that are looking out for the best contractors in their area to come and work on their projects, this means that on occasions they will be going out of their way to look for contractors.
Your business can make the most of this by doing two things well:
- Making sure that your business shows up in the right areas – create a good digital profile that explains exactly what your business can do.
- Build up a reputable name with your existing clients and use review platforms such as Feefo and Trustpilot to boost your digital profile.
Stretch your businesses digital platform across as many channels as possible, use a mixture of website, web ads and social media to help cover as much area as possible. This not only helps clients to find you but will help smaller businesses to look bigger and more professional.
The messaging across these platforms should be consistent and display your businesses work, values, qualities, certificates and accreditations along with any awards you have won or been nominated for.
Creating case studies is also a great way to show off work you’ve done to clients, creating profiles about jobs you’ve done with feedback or quotes from the customers. These could be in video or written form.
You can also explore digital marketing strategies; this could involve hiring someone to oversee the businesses digital presence or outsourcing it to an agency. This will allow someone to manage and develop social media, display advertising and search engine optimisation. Doing this will direct a flow of client traffic to your website and show off your business – it’s great to have a good website but if you’re not bringing traffic to your site then it is ultimately a wasted effort.
Sourcing through SMAS Worksafe
Networking is a great way to win clients, but you may be able to obtain clients through the SMAS Worksafe portal.
Our clients can search for contractors using the SMAS Worksafe portal and reach out to them. All our members are visible to clients on the portal but those with further areas of compliance may gain an advantage over those with just health & safety as clients can see that the contractor is not just SSIP accredited but environmental management and quality management systems are in place.
All our members can upload documents relating to further areas of compliance for free however they will not be checked against IEMA or IRCA standards unless you have an Essential or Complete membership.
Further areas of compliance supported by SMAS Worksafe:
- Environmental management
- Quality management
- Anti-bribery and corruption
- Modern slavery
- Finance and business