What Owners Really Want

If you’re in the market for a long-term relationship, the first thing you need to do is make sure you are attracting the right owners. If an owner has approached you and asked you to bid, you’ve already got something that drew them in. Now you’ve got to work on keeping them.  

Do you look good on paper, too? 

We aren’t just talking about offering up a low-price estimate which may look good on the outside. Cost might bring in an owner looking for a good time, but it’s not going to be an owner looking for a long-time. It’s what’s on the inside that counts and once you show an owner what makes you different than all the others, you’ll catch that owner hook, line, and sinker.  

What do owners really want in a general contractor? Ultimately, owners want better projects delivered quickly. But how can you make sure they choose you? Building Design & Construction (BD&C) conducted a survey in 2021 of over 150 owners to find out what really makes them tick and what you can do to make sure you secure a good one.  

Above all, owners really want innovation and trust in their partners. 

man looking at other woman memeKeep it Spicy 

Owners are looking for general contractors who are on the forefront of the latest technology. Be it drones, Artificial Intelligence, software, or alternative building materials, challenge owners to let you prove you aren’t like other general contractors. 

For example, with Beck Technology’s estimating software DESTINI Estimator, you can shake things up in the boardroom when you present your deliverables to owners and hand over more than an Excel spreadsheet. Owners will swoon when your precon team presents estimates in an easy-to-understand way that better shows proof of where the numbers come from. You can’t do that with the same old vanilla estimate every other general contractor does. 

Building Design & Construction writes, “…owners actively seek out new ideas, and lean toward AEC firms that lead them to cutting-edge products, innovations and delivery methods, especially those whose return on investment is evident and measurable. Solutions with cost control baked into them are more likely to attract owners’ attention.” 

When you surprise owners by revealing new ways of building buildings while also saving money, you'll keep them coming back for more. 

If They Aren’t Ready to Commit 

The owner wants the cake and to eat it, too. But as the old saying goes, you don’t want to give up the milk for free. BD&C found that 87.7 percent of owners’ top turn-on is a general contractor with the “…ability to complete projects on time, on budget.” Whatever you can do to make sure their project is completed in time will help you get repeat business. 

GCs like Balfour Beatty, Sundt Construction, The Beck Group, and PARIC are successful at wooing owners because they embrace ways their precon team can add more value to owners. They incorporate technologies and methods that allow their estimators to collaborate better within different departments, have time to value engineer projects, and benchmark estimates to show owners their past successful performance. When you bring more to the table, the more likely your owners will stop pursuing others.  

Size Doesn’t Matter 

BD&C writes, “Owners and developers want to know one thing from AEC firms: Can you do the job, on time, on budget? Based on their responses, owners aren’t selecting building teams based on a firm’s size, its past awards, or references.” So, is it the motion of the ocean? Let’s settle the debate right here.  

Any good relationship begins with trust, and trust is one of the top characteristics owners are looking for in a partner. You can’t establish a good relationship track record by just boasting about your firm’s size. You have to back up what you say with your actions. So, how can you do that?  

By constantly communicating with your internal teams and with your owners throughout the life of a project, you'll show your willingness to please the owner and ensure that their vision and the build are aligned. 

BD&C’s “…report found more owners pushing their partners for better construction management that moves projects across the finish line quicker” and your size isn’t what is going to get them there.  

Our technology helps establish trust, mitigate risk, increase collaboration, and most importantly, produces accurate estimates in record time.

If you need a wingman to help navigate the precon scene, reach out to us to find out how our estimating and bid-leveling software is helping some of the ENR Top 400 general contractors attract and keep the hottest owners. Click the button below to request a demo.



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