A long-term business relationship between a general contractor and a subtrade can't be forged instantly. But finding each other can be done in a second, online. A look at various ways to get connected.
September 10, 2012 by Steve Payne
By Karen Hamilton
I guess it’s a lot like dating – two individuals hoping to find the perfect match. On the one hand, you’ve got general contractors looking for reputable subtrades they can rely on to get the job done with a minimum of fuss. On the other hand, you have qualified professionals, eager to find work. You’d think getting them together would be a no-brainer but, as most people in this business know, good help (and a good job) is hard to find.
If you’re desperately seeking Susan or Sam or anyone else for that matter who is able to repair a broken mortar joint, knows the right way to run wall sheathing or is up to date on the latest revisions to the Canadian electrical code, here are five ideas to help tech savvy construction professionals find “the one.”
Craigslist and Kijiji
These free and popular classified ad sites make it easy to post ‘Help Wanted’ ads or search for work. They’ve been around for a while and although some people in the industry complain about the calibre of job or individual they’ve found on these sites, just as many people sing these sites’ praises. Craigslist and Kijiji are a good starting point and at a cost of zero dollars, you can’t argue with the price.
Despite what you might think, Facebook is not simply the arena of college kids and middle-aged women cyber-stalking their high-school sweethearts. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) There are plenty of ways to find who and what you’re looking for. Need to find an electrician? Mention it on your Facebook newsfeed, do a Facebook search for electricians or drop by the Get Electrician Jobs Facebook page.
Of the half a billion Twitter users in the world right now, roughly 10,000,000 of them live in Canada. Surely there must be a finish carpenter in the lot. If you’re looking for a particular subtrade, you can search Twitter as soon as you sign up for a free account. To get the most bang for your buck, however, I recommend you devote a little time each day, or even just once a week, to building up a network of construction professionals who you can turn to anytime, anywhere, whenever you have a question or need some help.
LinkedIn is generally a great tool for making and maintaining business contacts. One of its most useful aspects is the Groups feature. A LinkedIn Group is a forum where people with similar interests come together and share ideas or ask questions. In March 2012, there were 1.2 million groups on LinkedIn including Plumbing Contractors, a group that boasts over 3,000 members. Get on LinkedIn, join the right group and look for jobs and subtrades. Enough said.
Construction-Specific Social Media Websites
Finally, tailor made for construction professionals, are websites like Homestars, HandyCanadian and Hammerati (currently in beta, Hammerati is like LinkedIn for the construction trades).
Karen Hamilton is part of the team at Hammerati. Hammerati is a professional network exclusively for the construction industry.