By Nathan | Posted on
One hears the term "networking" so much these days in so many contexts, that one could argue that it's overused. Except perhaps, in the case of the construction industry, where the concept might be under-utilized.
The most common definition of "networking" these days is the exchange of information, primarily with the goal of finding employment. The term is most frequently applied to the financial sector, but it is being used more and more commonly in other fields. Is it a good fit for the construction industry though, which has historically relied on referrals, word of mouth, and watching for government projects to obtain work?
Satisfied, informed customers make for great referrals to be sure, but their scope of influence can be limited. And although our industry is rebounding in a recovering economy, competition for projects remains fierce. By using networking tactics to advertise their firms, contractors can reach a larger potential audience, and may find clients that they wouldn't have been aware of using more traditional methods.
So how exactly does a firm begin networking? If their owners aren't already members of industry professional organizations, they need to correct that. Associated Builders And Contractors, Inc. is a national organization that provides members with training, conferences, and contact information to steer applicants to potential projects, as does the Associated General Contractors. Everything is online these days, and in addition to the other services that these organizations provide, they maintain extensive electronic data bases. The days of firms being able to subscribe to monthly catalogs for job listings are nearly done; access to these data bases now provides managers with leads for new work and contacts.
And more and more construction firms are turning to Honest Buildings for construction networking help. Honest Buildings is a web-based platform that provides consumers with information on existing buildings and firms that provide building maintenance and construction services. Contractors themselves may subscribe to Honest Buildings and post their company's profile. The site then matches clients and contractors. The platform also hosts an "Open Projects" section which allows all contractors to apply for available jobs. Honest Buildings also helps to arrange interviews between potential clients and contractors. HB also helps construction firms to locate specific new employees, such as architects and structural engineers, saving much hunting time.
And don't discount other construction firms in your area. Be aware of the services that they provide, and their clients. Yes, they're competitors, but they can be allies, too, occasionally sharing work and resources. As networking has proven in other industries, one can never have enough friends. It is important to consider construction networking especially if one wants to succeed in business.