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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reader's Question: High-end residential construction: How to even out the troughs and increase potential deal flow

Although David Markham, president of C.A. Peletz Co. in San Fransisco, said his company focuses on high-end residential work, the contractor also handles commercial projects such as the conversion of an old automotive garage into the Sierra Club headquarters. This information led me to one of my suggestions below.

Readers questions are invited. You can email me at

Hi Mark, I am enjoying the blog as a new reader. I own a construction company that focuses on the very high end residential market in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. We are an older company founded in the 50’s when the principal built schools and bridges. Over the decades we have built commercial, medical office and always luxury multi-family and single family.

Since I took over in 2002, most of our success has come from the boom in extremely high-end single family ($800 - $1,200 per square foot) due to the and housing booms.
Things have obviously slowed, but not stopped. We have quite a few repeat clients that are constantly upgrading, maintaining and adding to what they have.

I would like to even out the troughs and increase potential deal flow. We generally market to high-end architecture firms and maintain good contact with existing and past clients. Do you have any further suggestions?

Best -
David A. Markham, President C.M. Peletz Co.


First, obviously you should take the thoughts of someone at a distance who does not know your specific business or market conditions with a good degree of caution. But here are my initial thoughts.
  1. The main frame of business of course is repeat and referral. You probably already encourage this but you may wish to extend your outreach and programs to thank existing clients and encourage referrals. Consider the story of Peter Danis in Toronto as an example.
  2. Media publicity can be very helpful, especially in the publications and websites read by your clients. If you don't (yet) know what publications/broadcast outlets and websites your current clients read/use, you can ask a few of them. With permission stories of successful building projects are always helpful. Specialist PR services and agencies may be helpful. Community service may be helpful.
  3. If most of your current referrals are coming from architects, you have two choices. You can build relationships with them by (a) referring clients to them and (b) offering cost savings/technical/practical seminars and lunch and learn-type programs/ The former is obviously the most effective but the latter is probably the most controllable
  4. You may wish to explore an enhanced web presence through the new tools like twitter, online networking, blogging and the like. This stuff can be time consuming and results are often mixed but your market area may be a leading force in the area.
  5. Affinity arrangements can be powerful. I noticed you did work for the Sierra Club. Can you connect with relevant community associations, clubs, and associations -- the ones which your current clients are most connected with?
Thank you very much Mark. This is extremely helpful in addressing my blank spots. Let me know if I can be of any help to you in the future. Best - Dave

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