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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Change orders and construction marketing
Key in the Google keywords "change order" and "construction marketing", and you'll quickly find references to my "Seven Tips for Construction Marketing Success" (available by request through the online form on the side of the page.

The example in "Seven Tips" relates to the relationship building initiatives of a local contractor and hospital. By doing great work, and securing a reputation for reliability, the hospital wanted to have the contractor return, again and again, but faced constraints -- it needed to post its jobs publicly and accept the low bidder. The work-around -- by mutual understanding, the hospital understood the scope of work descriptions would be loose enough that the contractor could file change orders, and make enough profit to achieve satisfactory results.

Woahh, you may say, does this smack of bid-rigging and 'corruption'? I suppose so -- but variations of the qualitative evaluation system now used for many public projects have the same element of subjective and pre-existing relationship judgment. If you are 'in', your happy clients will find a way to work with you to work around the "low bid must win the job" mentality -- assuring your continuing relationships, and profitability.

These examples, of course, point to fundamentally the most important issue in construction industry marketing: Your current projects and relationships are your most precious marketing resources -- focus your primary marketing resources on current client relationships, and you'll likely do far more profitable business in the future than by searching blindly for new business.

P.S. I'm continuing my search for the Change Order boat owner; in the meantime, the boat has become a screen-saver on my laptop.

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