Resolve to Strengthen Your Bidding Process in 2024

Resolve to Strengthen Your Bidding Process in 2024

Last updated on February 20th, 2024

Creating winning project bids is a science onto itself. Do it right and you open up opportunities to maintain or enhance your business’ profitability (pending actual performance on-the-job). The secret is to not forget to invest the time and attention to show the buyer why your business is the best for the job. In truth, that’s easier said than done, but there are ways to promote your chance at success.

Before anything else, consider whether a project is worth bidding on. If a job is simply a stretch, don’t do it. If there’s slim to no chance of winning, take a pass. Invest in bidding on projects that match your capabilities and business goals.

Make sure you completely understand the project scope. Become familiar with all project documents, plans and specifications, including bonding requirements, inspections, and security clearance. Review the request in detail, noting important points like whether you have to be prequalified to bid, the submission deadline, mandatory meetings, and any specific materials required. If you need clarification, ask! Not including all information requested can be an automatic reason for denial.

Research the company requesting the bid and any team members (i.e., architects) to gain insights into their values and priorities, client base, past projects, and more.

Assess risks and define how you plan on mitigating them. Are there any red flags that can cause problems like unknown site conditions, safety concerns, accelerated timelines, or inaccurate bidding documents?

Attend pre-bid meetings and conduct site visits to clarify project requirements and obtain answers to any questions. Are any bonds required? Does the client have participation goals for minority businesses or ESG? Can you substitute materials? Your goal should be to clarify expectations and identify any potential issues (like a work site not being easily accessible).

Define costs, accountabilities (who is responsible for what), and a project timeline. Estimates should encompass labor, mobilization, equipment (including fuel and transportation to/from a work site), and materials. If a job requires subcontractor work, get bids from at least three subcontractors and review closely for competitiveness, completeness, and accuracy. When it comes to accurate takeoffs and measurements, the importance cannot be overstated. Once you have a final bid, consider whether it will prove beneficial for your business. Sometimes not making a bid is the best decision you can make.

If you decide to move ahead with submitting the bid, have someone else proofread it and double-check all of the math. Confirm that all requested paperwork is included.

After submitting your bid, maintain communication with the potential client, subcontractors, and suppliers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the potential client for periodic updates, especially if the project can impact other bids and work.

Finally, periodically review your bid process. How many projects have you won or lost? For losses, consider reaching out to the client or project manager for feedback. Learn whether there are adjustments you can make – without compromising profitability – to improve your hit rate going forward.