Let’s face it, when it comes to bidding, there is nothing more important than obtaining accurate project estimating numbers. Right? OK, forget for a minute the square foot price of drywall ceiling. What you should be concentrating on is how all construction costs—from direct and indirect costs to labor rates and overhead and profit—are calculated. If your estimators, accounting department, project managers and office staff are still ball-parking numbers, they should take a step back and examine how they arrived at these figures. Continue »
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“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” ~ Vince Lombardi
The tough-minded approach of what it takes to be successful as quoted by Coach Lombardi easily translates to building a winning bid. Getting the estimate right isn’t something you should do once in a while. It is something you should do all the time. The results of this type of focused effort and consistency should pay off on bid day. Unfortunately, for many companies, winning on bid day is a sometime thing.
When it comes to bid day, here are some tips to improve your chances of winning. Following these simple guidelines will result in a stronger relationship between you and your client (general contractor, construction manager, owner, or trade contractor).
- Be intentional with your documentation. Make your attachments clear and relatable, meaning add a snippet of a drawing to show specific things you have covered in your bid, specifically those hidden items others might have missed.
- Show your real scope. Don’t hold back. This is the time to make sure you are telling the client about how your work will be complete against what they asked for.
- Disclaim with care. Don’t emphasize the “Disclaimers” or “Not Included;” sure they need to be there, but the point is to sell your strengths and specialties first and disclaim after establishing value.
- Remember your mistakes. What did this client berate you on last time? Did they complain that you didn’t include cleanup, layout or some other unique item this client needs? If you can’t think of any mistakes made, you’re probably not getting the critical feedback that you need.
- Show your real details. Yes, show your quantities! Do you really think that you are the only one who knows how to take off concrete curbs, door frames, volume of rebar or whatever your scope is? How many times does your client call you back to ask, “Hey, did you include XYZ?” Pro tip: When you over communicate to your client as to what you include, it will overshadow your exclusions.
- Show the project schedule. Submitting number of days to complete isn’t the end. They want to know what to expect by seeing an itemized project schedule and check scope for efficiency. Such level of detail is not easy to produce, but that’s how you win. Imagine giving your client not only the number of person hours but also the sequencing of when you expect them to be ready for your crews.
- Show that you read the specs. Demonstrate your respect and knowledge of the project’s goals by referencing the specs as part of your decision-making process. Of course, this means that you actually have to read the specs.
- Don’t just go through the motions. Respond promptly to the RFI, RFQ or ITB request by fully completing the form. You should have already asked them prior to bid day why they need the information they’ve requested. That way, if there’s any issue with the information they ask for, you can respond with a note reminding the client how you already resolved this issue.
- Check in on bid day. Call them earlier in the day, advise them you are completing your bid and you will have it to them by a certain time. Ask once again if other things have changed with the bid, due date, time of bid, duration of the project or other questions that show them you are not only interested in but also knowledgeable of the project.
- Anticipate the other trades needs. If you really want to get out there, think how your trade/scope of work interrelates with another contractor’s trade/scope of work and show the client some specifics of how you will accommodate their interactions with your work. For example, you could say, “We have included a plan for the electrician to deal with their significant main conduits in the hallway and we will frame and rock the hallway side immediately so they can have access.” Though it may seem premature for the project, it makes you look like a better fit. Not only are you concerned with completing your work on time, you’re a team player interested in seeing the work of others succeed.
Now that you’re prepared to win a spot on the team, learn how to improve your game.
It’s ironic to think how a clunky desktop computer running Lotus 1-2-3 was once considered a revolutionary leap forward for the construction industry. Then came Microsoft Excel and the real game-changer, the internet. We’re again at the brink of another major milestone: the continued integration of takeoff functionality in BIM systems. Continue »
It may be hard to believe, but Apple’s iPhone was launched ten years ago, in 2007. Rarely has one product generated so much innovation in mini-computers, texting, social media, cell phone technology, cameras, weather forecasts, storm tracking, and the ability to hail an Uber driver. The iPhone gave rise to thousands of apps, competitors and entirely new industries. Continue »
Computer business software has enhanced accounting, tax preparation, purchasing, delivery, marketing communications, and customer service. Everyone knows that.
But did you know that construction estimating and management software linked to laptops, tablets, and smartphones, has revolutionized the business of building contractors? Continue »
In recent years, the construction industry has been bombarded with new software solutions that advertise they are the fastest, greatest, cheapest, most mobile and user-friendly products.
What makes software companies different? Take a look at the company’s history. Construction software should focus on a contractor’s specific business needs, not the current “app buzz of the month.”
The gyms are back to normal, with many slacking off their New Year’s resolutions for more exercise, but there is still plenty of time to help you manage your construction business. Read over these tips to get your business pumped up for 2017. Continue »
Every new year brings resolutions, predictions, and anticipation of what lies ahead. Last year was a strong year for construction. The industry saw the largest increase in construction starts since the economic downturn. Companies began exploring how to grow with an unbalanced project opportunity and labor load. More work means more profit in 2017, right? Continue »
Centered On Solutions: Get the Latest Construction Trends and More With These 3 eBooks From On Center Software
Tackle the labor shortage and compete on an increasingly high stakes playing field, discover 5 trends every construction executive needs to know and unravel myths and mistakes made during the bidding process with the latest free eBooks from On Center Software.
The intersection of an aging workforce and market demands for new technology solutions necessitates the development of a new breed of construction executive. Learn the skill set necessary to become a construction executive who can manage multiple assets, increase efficiency and minimize errors. Continue »
The highlights of Norb Slowikowski’s profitability directives comprise Part I & II of this four-part series. The second half of this series features information from Cecilia Padilla on how technology supports the path to organization and accelerates reaching the goal of maximizing profitability. The second half will focus on: Continue »