Constuction Bid Check List

Constuction Bid Check List

As you may know, in my primary business, we bid on a lot of large projects to supply the kitchen cabinets for apartment remodels, new construction, etc… we also work with a lot of contractors, and I constantly hear them talking about big installation projects that they bid on but lost. What I always tell our sales people is that you win bids with research, not with price. So to help everyone out, I thought I would share with everyone our checklist for bidding on projects (modified for a contractors point of view). Some of it may be common sense, but by following this simple checklist every time you are bidding on a job, it will help increase your chances of securing new business.

First let me say, that not all new business is good business. In some cases we will actually pass up oppportunities if we can’t say with a definitive ‘Yes’ that both of these statements are true:
– We are qualified to bid on the project and can supply what is being asked of us
– The project is a wise investment for our company for long term growth

If both of those statements are true, then we begin our research:

RESEARCH
You have to know all the details of the project before you can fully understand how to price it.
– Learn what you don’t know about the project (the drawing and specs usually don’t tell the full story)
– Research similar recent projects
– Research the architect and other professionals managing the job (knowing how the architect and other managers operate could help forecast any issues you may face down the road)
– Research the owner/decision-maker, if possible. The more people you know, the more comfortable they will be with your bid

Keep up to date on basic construction material costs and equipment prices, especially where volume purchasing could impact the cost. If you go off of old material costs, you could be setting yourself up for under estimating the cost of your materials.
– Subscribe to newsletters for the materials industry
– Maintain strong relationships with dependable suppliers and resources. The last thing you want to do is bid on a project and find out you can’t get the materials you need.
– Research subcontractors and free-lance construction crews (if you plan on going that route). The earlier you start that process, the better off you will be.
– Research tools and equipment as well. Who has the largest inventory and who is the most reliable

QUESTIONS FOR THE DESIGNER/ARCHITECT
– After analyzing the bid specs and drawings, you should have a solid list of questions to ask the designer or architect. It is best to consolidate your questions, and present them all at once rather than over a series of phone calls or emails.
– Review your own questions and have someone else take a look at them as well. If you can avoid asking unnecessary questions, it is worth your time and the architects.
– Use email to document your questions and to create a paper trail. The last thing you want to have happen is a mis-communication that could cost money

QUANTITY CONTROL/QUANTITY TAKE OFF
– Make arrangements with another contractor/supplier that won’t bid/quote the same jobs
– Backstop each other on quantity take-offs- you will definitely save money
– Give plan sets to more than one supplier and request quantity take-off in their pricing
– Develop basic building dimensions for exterior quantity take-off or hire someone to do it on a one-time basis to keep on hand
– Use CAD drawings for quantity take offs, using simple shapes to identify areas: keep this record to use over and over again on this project
– Use software for pricing, it’s well worth the cost. The only mistakes it will make will be due to human error

WEAKNESSES
– Every company has strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to hide them. It is better to address them in the beginning and show how you will overcome them.
– Whatever area you are weak in, hire a pro, someone you know you can depend on.

PROFIT and OVERHEAD
– Going into any project, if you don’t know what your overhead and fixed costs are, you are going to fail. Keep accurate records of your monthly costs, and divide that up across the number of jobs your have averaged every month for a year. Do not rely on 1-2 months worth of history to calculate your overhead!
– Profit is always going to be based on a wide range of factors- competition, your position in the market place, your track record, etc. This one is completely up to you

VALUE ADDED BIDDING
– This is where you should promote your strengths
– What makes your stand out versus everyone else bidding? What can you deliver that no one else can?
– What is your value-added response to project constraints or special conditions?

If you can follow this check list each and every time, you will not only be better prepared, but you will also be more accurate on your bids.

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