One of the core benefits of BuildBook is that it’s useful during every phase of a construction project, including before you even sign the contract. BuildBook can help you get in front of the prospective client early in their decision-making process and close the deal by showing off your work.

In this post, we’ll cover how to:

  1. create a portfolio
  2. upload photos and documents
  3. show off your portfolio
  4. close the deal

It's worth noting that many builders still use paper for this process -- or, at best, email. Using BuildBook gives you a competitive advantage: it demonstrates that you are communicative, proactive, and modern. This alone will go a long way in locking down the sale.

Step 1: Create a Portfolio Project

First, we’ll create a new Project that you’ll use as your portfolio when pitching a fresh lead. This will be helpful in those initial conversations, before you know much about the homeowner or the job. 

Log into the app and tap on the big orange plus in the Projects home screen. Then complete the following steps: 

  1. Project Type: select “Other Renovation”
  2. Project Location: use your company’s address
  3. Project Name: type “[Your Company Name] Portfolio”
  4. Invite Clients: skip this; you’ll do it later when the project is ready
  5. Invite Collaborators: skip this, too

Remember that your Pro Team members (if you invited any yet) will also have access to all of your company's Projects by default.

Step 2: Strut Your Stuff

After you successfully create the Project, you’ll land in the Project Inbox. This is where the magic happens: all of your posts, documents, and tasks -- as well as all comments and project activity -- will appear here. 

We all know how much clients love photos, so we'll start there: tap on the orange button at the bottom of the screen and choose “Post.” 

You can choose to create a Post for each project -- e.g., to show a few different rooms of the same house -- or to create a post for each type of project -- e.g., to show a few different cabinet types. Whatever you think best shows off your work.

There are three steps to making a great Post:

  1. Describe the photos. Include materials, location, ballpark costs, aesthetic, job type -- whatever will catch your client’s attention. For example: “We designed and installed these custom kitchen cabinets last spring. That’s a natural finish on walnut, with birch ply drawers and shelves. Our client wanted a modern design, so we used the brass hardware throughout.” 
  2. Add up to five photos that show off your work. Be sure to allow access to your camera and photos if your device asks for it. And remember that the homeowner will be looking at these on their phone, so make sure they're high resolution, are cropped appropriate, and look great on small screens. (Hint: square or portrait photos look the best.) 
  3. Add tags. This organizes the project and helps the homeowner identify what your post is about. Category Tags are selections (floors, cabinets, appliances, windows), and Location Tags are rooms and areas (kitchen, bathroom, deck, driveway).

Repeat this step until you feel you’ve got a full portfolio worth showing off. (We think around 10 posts is a great start.)

Step 3: Attach Docs

If you’ve got any standard documents -- such as company overview, lookbooks, spec sheets, or sample house plans -- add them to your Portfolio to share with the new clients. Here’s how:

  1. Email your files to [email protected] (note: be sure to send them from the email address associated with your BuildBook account)
  2. Open the App and go to your Account Settings (tap on your avatar on the top left of the My Projects list)
  3. Tap on Pending Documents -- here you should see all the docs you emailed to us
  4. Tap on your document of choice and follow the prompts

Repeat this step for each document.

Step 4: A Warm Welcome

Ok, now that you’ve got photos and documents in there, it’s time to write a “welcome” message. Remember that the most recent post will float to the top, which is why we saved this for last. So before you share the Project, create a post that introduces your business, your team, what you do, and why you’re unique. Here’s some copy:

Thanks for taking a look at our Portfolio. Here you’ll find some photos of our previous work and our [describe the documents you uploaded]. You can comment on any of the existing content, or create a new post if you want to ask questions (it’s easier and more organized than text and email).

As we go through this initial process, I can share designs, plans, quotes, and eventually the contract -- so we can move seamlessly into your project. From there, we’ll use BuildBook to share photos from site, update you on progress toward milestones, send invoices, ask questions, make selections, and generally keep each other accountable.

Please don’t hesitate to comment or post if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas.

Step 5: Show it Off

Your Portfolio Project is now ready to share with prospective clients. You could just show it to them in person, but the best way is to invite them directly via email (remember: it’s free for them, forever). When you share your portfolio via BuildBook, leads will see how organized and modern your are. This ensures that you’ll stand out among the paper contracts and messy emails they’ve received from other builders.

Go to Portfolio project and tap on the three dots on the upper-right to view your Project Settings. Then follow these steps:

  1. Tap Members + Invites
  2. Tap the big orange plus button
  3. Select “Clients” 
  4. Enter the email addresses of your new potential clients
  5. When done, tap “Send Invites”

You’ll also want to send them an email to let them know that invitations from BuildBook are coming. Remind them that it’s free to sign up, and when they do they’ll have access to your Portfolio.

Step 6: Close the Deal

Once you’ve got homeowners chatting with you in the app, it’s easier to keep their attention by posting new information. Some great ways to do this:

  • Share photo inspiration that’s relevant to their job
  • Ask them open-ended questions in a post and invite them to comment
  • Upload quotes, specs, and other documents that help them make their decision
  • Upload a signed version of the contract for them to review, discuss with you right in the app, and then download so they can countersign it.
  • Use the app to track payment milestones (see our "How to" on that subject here).

Remember that the client is likely sourcing multiple bids -- and there is a lot else in their life competing for their time and money. So it's important to use BuildBook both in getting in front of them early, and in keeping in touch while they're making their decision.

Conclusion (and Bonus Tips)

Hopefully this process has helped you land a new client. In that case, we recommend that you keep the conversation going in BuildBook. Head to Project Settings and change the name, address, and project type to match the new job. That way you don’t have to ask your clients to do anything new -- when they open the app again, they’ll be all up to speed, and all you past conversations will be available.

As the project evolves, you’ll want to invite new people -- like subcontractors, architects, and designers. But remember that the contract, budget, and invoices you uploaded to this project will be visible to anyone else you invite. So we suggest creating a separate project for those folks to help partition your information and conversations. 

And next time you’ve got a new prospect, repeat this process to keep turning your leads into clients. Good luck!

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