Joe Mingioni, president of Mingioni Construction, in Edgemont, Pa., joined the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Philadelphia chapter as an affiliate member. To keep his company top-of-mind with local architects, Mingioni participates in institute meetings. “I know a good many of the architects [in the institute] and they know me,” Mingioni says. “I already do business with some of them, but I want to cement myself as the premier guy to go to if you need bids for your clients.”

To keep projects coming in, Mingioni also periodically calls partner architects to check in or to set up a golf game. “Sometimes they don’t think about you or they assume you’re busy,” he says, noting that when architects ask if Mingioni is seeking work, he always says yes. “Often they will say, ‘I have a project in that area,’ but if I had not called, would they still have given it to me?”

Range of Work

Mingioni has considered having in-house design at his company, but finally decided against it due to its potential conflict with his work with architects. Architects bring him a broad range of interesting projects, and many local towns also require an architect or engineer’s seal on building plans.

However, Mingioni likes it when clients come to him to get a ballpark estimate before beginning work with an architect because the remodeler can provide a budget for a conceptual bid. “They send that information to the architect and he comes in knowing what I proposed to meet the [client’s] budget,” Mingioni says. This guides the architect in the pricing and scope of a project and reduces homeowner sticker shock.

The AIA is the newest of Mingioni’s association memberships, which include the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “I’m a big believer in associations,” he says. “During down times, you have to network more than ever. Some people say they don’t have money for dues, but it’s an investment.”

--Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.