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Blue Book - Does it work?9/27
There are some good free bidding services, most local builders exchanges now have online access. Our builders exchange is about $500 a year and gets me the whole state of CA. We rarely use it but here are lots of local leads in my mail box.
I just looked and from one by invite site we had 195 different project invites in September. Probably 130 jobs we have no interest in.
From all sites we probably bid less than 10% of invites. You will need to quickly learn what type of projects aren't worth your time or don't fit in the bid schedule or you couldn't do the job if you won it.
The leads could overwhelm you if you don't have a system for deciding what to bid.
There are basically two types of online sites, sites that gather plans and notify members (paid) of opportunities.
Most of the sites that gather leads are for the most part gathering public jobs that are required to publish notice of bids and commercial projects that want to follow the public model.
Public jobs are the jobs available to everyone. Most public jobs require bonding.
Then there are sites that GC's join and publish invites to subs they want to do business with. These are usually free with paid upgrades.
So to start with I would suggest a local builders exchange and see what projects you can find there.
Also introduce yourself to some GC's and ask how they invite to bid.
Do a letter of introduction describing your experience and capabilities.
We used to advertise in blue book when it was a physical book. Most of the contacts we got were from out of the area contractors looking for local subs. That was 10-15 years ago.
As busy as the economy is you need to decide how you will deal with leads and bids and what to bid. Some bid invites have thousand of pages of documents and plans that are all part of the bid, you need to be able to scan documents and sections for thing that involve your scope
You need a good PDF annotator.