By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!







It’s officially midsummer, and if you’re panicking that you don’t have your pipeline filled with projects, then this episode is for you!

First, take a deep breath.

This is normal, and it ends.

It always ends. 

Second, this is an opportunity if you are slower to dig into your marketing. 

I believe there are at least 5 ways you can start marketing between now and the end of the summer that will fuel your pipeline of projects. 

The first may seem obvious, but you have current clients – talk to them. 

More often than not, they have additional scope that they want to take on. Maybe it’s as simple as you are working on a construction project in their bathroom,  and they need a new sectional sofa in the basement. It’s not a huge addition to your scope of work, but it’s something. There’s revenue involved, and it keeps you busy. 

Maybe they want to move into the next bathroom. Are your contractors available? Maybe they’re slow. Why don’t you offer to roll into that project right away and see where it goes? 

There are always opportunities once you open up yourself to looking for them. 

Second, you should be reaching out to past clients.

Especially ones that loved your work.

Don’t assume they have no projects. 

What if, during your work together, they mentioned future projects? Well, you should be following up on that! 

If they don’t have anything for you, ask about friends or colleagues you can proactively reach out to with their permission and referral. 

You can build a network without going beyond current and former clients, but don’t stop there. It is a tiny pool when you only stay with clients, so I always encourage you to develop relationships with industry partners. And the summer, believe it or not, is a good time to do it. 

If you are not already doing this, start with realtors.

I find them more receptive to that kind of outreach because they’re doing it themselves, trying to find their own clients. 

Start with realtors you’ve had a relationship with. And I don’t necessarily mean a working relationship. It could be a social relationship. Most of the time, when I reach out to realtors I know socially and explain my construction management services, they have no idea I offered that! You must proactively tell people what you do for a living because they will not assume an interior designer can handle construction management. 

In addition, realtors always have a list of trades they recommend – a local painter, local electrician, pest service, roofers, you name it. They also recommend architects, builders, and designers if they know that is a need a client is looking for. 

Remember, depending on your experience level, you need to be very specific as to who you want to be referred to. You do not want to leave that open-ended and have the realtor recommend you to someone who is simply looking for a paint consult when you only take half a million dollar projects on. 

However, if you are putting a price tag on your projects, such as 500k and above, you know you will not be getting as many referrals as if you were open-ended. And for designers who are looking for more experience….realtors are definitely the way to go to build that experience. 

The next industry partner, which is extremely beneficial, is contractors. 

Whether you’ve worked with big construction companies in new builds and large renovations, whether it’s the mid-level guys running a couple of teams or the small one-off guys, they are all looking to make their lives easier and the interaction with their clients less. 

Don’t stop with contractors that you know. Again, you always want to be broadening your base in a marketing sense so that you can be exposed to new and different projects, whether that’s different areas of your town, whether that’s out of town, whether it’s large renovations to new builds and beyond. 

The last group of industry partners I would reach out to are architects. 

I share about this group last intentionally because I have found over the years that architects are the least receptive to interior designers in the construction management capacity. Most often, it’s because they already have an interior designer on staff. 

In the past, I would let that be a barrier. However, I found out through an architect I really enjoyed working with that not all clients want everybody under one roof. They like having different perspectives from different businesses. That doesn’t always happen, but this architect was open to referring me if a client wanted to bid out that part of the project. 

But like a realtor and like a contractor you haven’t worked with before, you need to be very specific in the goals you have in construction management when you’re reaching out to them. They, too, will assume that you do not do anything but decorate. 

Mid-July is the perfect time to hone this marketing skill.

I actually think I have better luck getting a hold of people during the summer because their work is also slow. While it may not produce a project for you this very week, I promise you your outreach will be productive at some point, whether it’s a day, week, month, or six months from now. 

So I still want you to enjoy your summer. 

I know I will be slowly ramping up to August and giving myself grace after a two-week vacation. But I, too, will be marketing myself to the five different categories I discuss in today’s episode so that I, too, have the opportunity to make new connections, build new relationships, and be exposed to new projects.

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