How To Build a Contractor Portfolio

How To Build a Contractor Portfolio

Your portfolio is the starting point for finding new clients. It sums up who you are, what you’ve worked on so far, and how you stand out from the competition. Therefore, the quality of your portfolio can make a huge difference regarding whether you end up getting the job or not.

Whether you want to improve your existing portfolio or you’re about to create your first portfolio ever, we’ll help you figure out the best way to show off your abilities and make prospective clients come to you. We’ll share the most important tips for creating a compelling portfolio that will help you land your next contract, but first, let’s cover some basics.

What Is a Contractor Portfolio

A contractor portfolio is a marketing tool that showcases the different projects you’ve worked on throughout the years and what you’ve learned from each project along the way. This extremely important tool aims to show prospective clients your best work and give them reasons for hiring you.

Portfolios not only show the different projects you’ve worked on in the past, but also give information about how you’ve dealt with construction challenges, which innovative methods you’ve used, and how you’ve improved throughout the years. Summing up all your previous work may seem a simple task at first, however, the best portfolios take a bit of time and effort, which is why they stand out from all the rest out there. Let’s start discussing how you can create your own.

Before You Get Started

We know that you’re probably very eager to start working on your portfolio, but before you do, there are some things you’ll need to do first:

  • Have an updated resume ready. You’ll probably need to pull up some information from your resume to include in the portfolio, so it’s good to have it on hand. Moreover, if you’re creating an online portfolio, include your resume on the site.
  • Assemble the photo and video documentation from the projects you’d like to include in your portfolio in one place. Even if you don’t end up including all your previous projects, it’s a good idea to have all of your documentation ready, so it’s easier to decide which ones represent you best.
  • Research portfolios online. Although each portfolio is unique, look at different portfolios to get some inspiration when creating your own.

Creating Your Portfolio

After you’ve gathered all the information and done your research, you can finally get started with your portfolio. Choose a cohesive template for a paper portfolio or an online platform where you’ll post your online portfolio.

Visual Identity

The design of your portfolio says a lot about you and your work, and it’s just as important as the information you’ll present in it.

Choose a simple and minimal design layout so it doesn’t distract from the information you’ll present. Color and illustration tend to grab the attention of whoever’s looking at your portfolio, but don’t overdo it so that the information you provide in the portfolio is not overcrowded by the intensity of the colors and the design. Go with more neutral colors and if you want to have an accent color, use it in moderation.

Present the information in a clear way, use infographics to present data, add bullet points to make the portfolio more reader-friendly, and focus on your key features and how much you’ve learned while working on each project.

Your Professional Background

The first thing that potential clients look for in a portfolio is how qualified you are for the job. Therefore, they’ll look into your education, licenses, and work experience. If you’ve worked for a company, include their information so they can vouch for the work you’ve done until now.

It’s extremely important that you’re honest about your qualifications and experience, because false information puts you at risk of losing a potential client once they find out the truth. Last but not least, include your contact information so your potential client knows where they can reach you.

Organize the Portfolio

You’ve probably done a lot of different projects throughout the years, so it’s a good idea to group all of them together. For example, if you’ve worked on a few kitchens, create a kitchen group. Start with your most recent project in each group and add a before and after photo for each project. If you have a lot of projects, choose only your best work because customers may not want to look at your entire portfolio.

How to Present Each Project

You should also include basic information for each project, such as the area of intervention, a description of the work you’ve done and your objectives, information about the budget and whether you met or exceeded it, or came in under budget, the schedule for the project, and what challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them. Be very precise in terms of what work you’ve done on each project because this will probably be the deciding factor when customers look at the projects and your previous experience, and assess your expertise.

When presenting a project, especially one that consists of a few stages, present the stages according to the order of how the construction went to ensure the client understands how the whole process went. Be clear and direct, and don’t use overly-complicated language.

The Importance of Good Photos

Not only is it important to explain all your projects and their unique features, but it’s also important to include high-quality photos that show the best of each project. This should be one of the main focuses in your portfolio, as a picture is worth a thousand words.

Keep in mind that blurry pictures will not convey the right message to your potential clients, so invest your time into taking quality before and after photos that are focused right. If you aren’t confident in your photography skills, hire a professional photographer.

Make sure to also include magazine or newspaper pages where your work has been published. This is not only beneficial for showing the amazing work you’ve done, but community recognition can do wonders for getting you new clients.

Client Testimonials

The best way to get new clients is to have your work and previous clients speak for you. Clients trust recommendations from satisfied clients and word-of-mouth recommendations from people they trust over all other forms of advertising.

Include your top reviews in your contractor portfolio and mention that you can provide further references upon request. And if some of your previous clients want to give a verbal recommendation, inform your prospective client of that option as well. These reviews will probably be the best guarantee of the quality of your services.


If you’ve been working in construction for a while and you’ve done a good job, chances are that you may have some recognition for your work or maybe even received an award. It’s especially beneficial to include this information as community acknowledgment can say a lot about the quality of your work and make others see why you’re the best person for the job.

For contractors who don’t have any awards yet, we would advise you to enter a few local competitions to increase your public image and get the public acquainted with your work.

Have a Hard Copy Portfolio as Well

If you’re planning to have an in-person meeting with your prospective client, it would be better to have a hard copy portfolio in addition to the online version. Print a copy of your resume as well as a copy of your portfolio and organize it similarly to how you would organize the digital portfolio with headings for sections such as kitchen, office, living room, groups, and recommendations from previous clients. Print the photographs for each project in high resolution so the client can properly see your work.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to make a name for yourself in the construction industry is to build a good portfolio that shows prospective clients what you bring to the table if they choose to work with you. We trust that after reading our article, you now have a general idea about how to get started. In conclusion, we have a few more tips for you so you can get more clients and get people talking about your work:

  • Always start with your most recent projects.
  • Don’t include every project you’ve ever done, but rather filter through and only show your best work.
  • Update your portfolio as you improve in your work.
  • Never stop learning and deepening your knowledge so your clients only get the best when working with you.