Subcontractor List: Drywall, Concrete, Business Development…

It is no secret that a commercial general contractor does not handle all the sub-trades with their own W-2 employees. It is also not a secret that architects often hire consulting engineering firms as well. The A/E/C marketplace lives and breathes subcontracting.

With that stated, this post is not about getting pricing for steel, electrical, HVAC, etc., or even proposals for MEP, Structural or Civil Design. I am here to shed some light on the ever-growing subcontractor population of the Sales, Marketing and Business Development consultants.

When I started Construction Market Consultants back in 2001, I began by offering part-time, business development on a retainer basis to several non-competing firms. Each client was fully aware of the other companies I was representing. It was a win for me as I had immediate revenue, and it was a win for my clients as they had someone handing out their business cards at industry and networking events, beating the bushes, and developing a database of targeted, qualified prospects at a fraction of the cost and overhead of a full-time employee.

Part of what I did in my early days ran the gamut from developing collateral materials, logo design, website development, guest blogging, CRM implementation, lead generation, business plans, marketing plans and more. Along the way I developed a network of industry professionals enjoying real, symbiotic relationships.

Allow me a quick pause to share a bit about the name Construction Market Consultants, Inc.

The first part of my career I worked for a company called Construction Market Data, Inc., or as it was known in the A/E/C world, CMD. CMD tracked commercial construction projects from concept through the design, bidding, or contract negotiation, and on through the post-bid and awarding of subcontracts. We took that data, sliced and diced it into a number of products and sold it to just about anyone that had anything to do with a commercial building. Basically, our data served as project leads for our customers.

In 2001, when CMD was sold to Reed Elsevier, I knew the name Construction Market Data was going by the wayside. When I learned I was going by the wayside as well and I decided to hang out my shingle, I wanted to leverage anything I could from the “Construction Market” portion of CMD.

Plus, I was an optimist. I envisioned one day having a huge network of consultants in the construction industry that would be available to help with projects too large, complex and/or time sensitive for just little old me.

When I write about CRM or Business Development, it is not just some guy fondly recalling his salad days, but I write from a player/coach perspective. I continue to do business development daily and I love it. My tenure at CMD afforded me access to the marketing and business development techniques of the largest players in design, construction and manufacturing.

Working with these companies, helping them leverage their data allowed me to develop an appreciation and, dare I say, expertise in CRM unique to the A/E/C industry. Even back in my CMD days, I was a business development consultant but didn’t know it at the time.

I am happy to report that I do have a small circle of consultants I call on for support and assistance. I am also happy to report I am not alone when it comes to offering business development on a contract basis. Contract Business Development is alive and well and has proven to work for Fortune 500 Building Product Manufacturers, National Commercial General Contractors, Architectural Firms, Subcontractors, Technology Companies, and more.

Could it make sense for your company to find a place somewhere in the middle between limited business development and a full-time, six-figure employee? Please note: I am not knocking six-figure Business Development employees – I believe every company should have at least one! But, in the meantime, just know there are options.

If you want to know more, reach out to me. In that small circle I mentioned, I know several people who may be able to help you build new business without breaking the bank.


Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, CRM, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com


About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in CRM, Business Development, Sales, Marketing as well as Executive Placement and Recruiting for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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