calling and emailing construction cleanup leads – first steps

Reaching out to construction cleanup leads – first steps


[Note: This is post #3 of a 6 part series on how to find construction
cleanup leads – to read the whole series click here]

Welcome back,

In the last post I showed you some of the easiest and most effective ways to locate potential construction clean jobs in your area.

In case you missed it, there is some great info there so I highly recommend you check it out.

Alright, let’s get into it.

At this point you may be thinking, “OK… so I’ve found some new construction projects nearby… what do I do now?”

As you go through the steps outlined in the last post, here’s what you’re likely to encounter:

Scenario 1:

You find a local construction company that you think may be a good source of future work, but they don’t have any active projects to bid on (at least none that you can see on their website, or social media channels).

In this case, it’s a good idea to send them an email request to add you to their ITB list, and follow up with them regularly, so you stay on their radar.

“What the hell is an ITB list?”

Good question. Most construction companies have an ITB list, which stands for “invitation to bid”. Basically this is a list of subcontractors (plumbers, cleaning companies, painters etc.) that they have pre-qualified to work with them.

This is sometimes called a “qualified vendors list”, but let’s stick to one acronym here shall we? The main idea is, when a construction company needs work done, the businesses on this list are who they’ll contact.

Often, these guys won’t even consider working with you unless you get on their list, so you want to be on there.

Getting on the list can be as simple as sending an email like this, “Hi, I run a construction cleanup business in [city]. How do I get on your invitation to bid list?”

You’ll probably want to ask them if they’ve got any upcoming projects that will need a cleanup as well.

Attach your company information to this email to look more professional. Specifically, your W9, a copy of your workers comp insurance, and any references you’ve got (not required, but it always helps).

Scenario 2:

You find a local construction company with one or more projects that are already underway.

This is a pretty promising lead.

In this case, you’ll want to get on their ITB list, as always, but even more important than that, you want to schedule a site visit to get the bidding process moving.

We’ll go over site visits in more detail later. For now, all you need to know is that you want to schedule a time to walk the construction site WITH the SITE SUPERINTENDENT, as close to the project finish date as possible.

Here’s an email I’d write in a situation like this:


I’d like to submit a bid for cleanup of [project x]. Can you put me in touch with the site superintendent so I can arrange a site visit?

Also, can I get on your invitation to bid list? My company info is attached.



Construction Clean Partners


Once you’ve got the site super’s email (or if you have it already):

Hi John,

I’d like to make a bid for cleanup of [project x]. When’s a good time for me to stop by the job site?

I’d prefer if we could walk the site together, as close to project completion as possible.



Construction Clean Partners


Scenario 3:

Local construction company reaches out to YOU with a bid invitation

If you’ve joined some of the free directories I shared in the last email, and/or if you’ve got a halfway decent LinkedIn profile for your construction cleanup business, and/or if you’ve reached out to a bunch of local construction companies & gotten yourself on their ITB list — you’ll probably start getting some bid invitations.

Now this sounds great doesn’t it? The construction companies are reaching out to YOU asking for cleanup bids! What could go wrong?

Here’s what.

85% of these invitations will be from contractors who haven’t been awarded the contract yet (they’re looking for prices from subcontractors so THEY can make an accurate bid).

I don’t recommend submitting bids in this phase, because without making a site visit you’re taking on a lot more risk.

Also, most of these bids you submit will never even have a chance, because the construction company themselves won’t be awarded the project.

See how these can be a big waste of time?

If you receive bid invitations, a good practice is to just directly ask the contractor “Have you been awarded the project?”

If the answer is no, I wouldn’t bother with it. But, if you insist on submitting bids for these “opportunities” … at least read my next email for some advice on how to protect yourself!

If you receive bid invitations from construction companies for projects that they’ve been awarded, THEN, do your happy dance.

This is a high quality lead.

In this situation, you should treat it just the same as scenario 2 — that is, you want to arrange a site visit with the site superintendent, as close to project completion as possible.

Recap of the process up to this point:

1) You’ve created a list of construction companies in your area which you’re stalking regularly on social media and on their websites. Also, you’ve signed up for free accounts on the popular construction industry directories, and checked out Biz Journals for building permit applications in your area.

2) You’ve emailed the local construction companies to get on their ITB list and to ask for any upcoming opportunities to clean, or make site visits.

3) If you’ve found local construction companies with active projects, you’ve emailed them asking to arrange a site visit.

4) If you’ve received invitations to bid, you want to make sure the project has been awarded to the contractor. If so, arrange your site visit! If not, I recommend politely passing on these opportunities.

If you’ve done all this with some consistency, it will soon be time to make some site visits and submit some bids.. Congrats!

In the next post in the series, I’ll show you exactly how to do this.