How to use the Shovels AI GPT

Wed 24 April 2024

Harnessing the Power of Shovels AI Custom GPT for Efficient Permit and Contractor Searches

Introduction to Shovels AI Custom GPT

In the construction and renovation industry, finding accurate and timely information on building permits and contractors is essential. The Shovels custom GPT is a sophisticated tool designed to streamline this process. It interacts with the Shovels API, providing users with easy access to detailed data on over 113 million building permits and 3 million contractors across 48 states in the United States.

This blog post will guide you on how to effectively use this tool, with some cool examples.

Key Features of Shovels AI Custom GPT

  • Data Coverage: Access data related to building permits and contractors in nearly every U.S. state.
  • Tag-based Searches: Perform searches based on specific types of work such as roofing, windows, pools, or EV chargers.
  • State and Zip Code Filters: Limit your search to specific states or zip codes to find localized information.
  • Date Filters: Search permits based on the start and end dates of permit filings.

Getting Started with Your Query

To get the most out of Shovels AI, start by determining the type of information you need. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Choose Your Query Type: Decide whether you need information on building permits or contractors.
  2. Specify Location: You can filter your search by state or zip code. For example, if you're interested in construction activities in Texas, mention it in your prompt.
  3. Select a Tag (if applicable): If you're looking for specific types of permits, like those for electrical work, you will need to tell the GPT what you want.

Example Queries

Query 1: Searching for Roofing Permits in a Zip Code

Suppose you want to find all recent roofing permits in the 90210 zip code. Here’s how you can use the tool:

Show me all of the roofing permits in zip 90210

The GPT will then provide a list of roofing permits in this area, detailing the permits’ descriptions, filing dates, and associated contractors if available. Sometimes it won't give the contractors, though. If that happens, ask for them.

List the contractors too

Query 2: Finding Contractors Specialized in Pool Installations

If you need a contractor for a new pool installation in Orlando, Florida, you need to look up some ZIP codes in Orlando. As of this writing, Shovels does not currently support city-based searches. Once you have the zip code, you can proceed!

Show me the contractors who did pool permits this year in 32805

This will result in a list of contractors who have recently installed pools in 32805.

Tips for Effective Searches

  • Ensure Complete Addresses: When searching by address, make sure to provide the full address including street number, name, and zip code.
  • Use Tags: Be specific about what types of permits you want. The GPT does a pretty good job of choosing the right Shovels permit tag.
  • Use Dates: Remember to include a date range if you want one.


The Shovels custom GPT is an easy way for anyone looking to access detailed, localized information on permits and contractors quickly. By following the steps outlined in this blog, you can quickly get the data you want.