Bids are important indicators of your profitability as a contractor or subcontractor. Without a winning proposal in the first place, there won’t be any project to make money with.
But writing bids can be long and tedious. It takes more than just penning your ideas on a good structure to build to win a project. More than that, you will need to look into a lot of considerations relevant to the success of the project if the owner chooses to award it to you. You need to declare your workable budget, deadline projection, design, productivity rate, technology, and everything involved in your operation.
Wise estimators will refer to past projects to come up with a good estimate for the new project they are trying to win. But if you didn’t use a construction project management software in your previous job, you’ll find it greatly challenging to go over a pile of documents just to find files related to this new project.
There’s so much more you can do to make writing bids more efficient. While each bid is unique, there are pointers you need to learn – most especially when it’s your first time to join project bidding – to help you succeed at winning the project. Writing a great bid always increases your chance of getting the job. So to help you with this tricky task, we’re sharing with you some steps we observe when we write our construction bids.
1.Be Clear With Your Project OverviewThe first of any bid is the project overview. Clients will define what they want from their contractors but it is the role of the contractor to define how that project can be achieved. Come up with a brief description that will explain what you want to happen and how you will address the key pain points. This is your chance to make a good impression because remember, the first impression lasts. The overview alone should convince the owner that the project is a good fit for you to work on. So be crystal clear with the overview so that the owner would want to read the rest of the proposal you submitted.
2.Research About the LocationAs we mentioned, the project bid will have to include your estimated budget. To do that, you will need to research the location of the project so you can find suppliers from the area. Knowing the location will also help you predict the working conditions. Will it be rainy in this city or will it be humid most of the year? Is this town being hit by tornadoes often or does it have good weather? Will it snow or will it rain during the construction? Are the crew members going to have a nice resting place in this new project location? Most successful contractors go the extra mile to survey the location. They inspect the spot on their own so they can write real reports they can include in the proposal. Site visits unearth excellent details to address in your bid.
3.Accuracy MattersKeep in mind that when a bid is already approved, you can no longer make big changes in your plans. Otherwise, the owner will find you unreliable and might lose the project even before you start. So when you write your proposal, be sure to commence thorough research and inspection and prepare real quotations from your selected suppliers. Inaccurate bids will surely lead to delays and cost overrun. And when that happens, you may ruin your reputation and lose the chance to win another bid. The worst that could happen is getting into a lawsuit. So it’s extremely important to carefully and realistically create bids for construction projects. Even if you’ve done a similar project before, you need to conduct fresh quotations as material and labor costs change every year or if not, every other year. Don’t aim to give the owner the lowest cost. Give them the best results out of your proposed budget. Then that’s how you can impress them. If they were the ones to give the budget, then only prepare what can be done within that budget. Never overpromise.
4.Consult Past ProjectsThis might go in contrast with the earlier point, but the key takeaway here is to use your previous projects as a basis in writing a new project. Look into the factors that made your past project a success and include them in your next operation. On the other hand, identify the mistakes you might have done before and plan on how you can avoid them in the next. If the new one is almost similar to a previous job, then it should be easier for you to update prices and a few more elements unique to the new project. This should be easy if you have a construction project management software like Pro Crew Schedule where complete details of your previous job are recorded. In this documentation, you will see all the plans, budgeting, reports, communication, and schedules you followed, which you can reference for the new one. If it’s still a pen and paper that you used previously, then this task can be very confusing.
5.Detailed Project DescriptionA project overview should be backed up with a detailed plan. While the overview is made to impress the client and excite him to want to read more, the detailed project description now gives him a look at how the whole project will be done – from start to finish. Your project description should detail the size, purpose, features, costs, and timelines in doing the project. This part is also where the drawings and images should be included. Drawings are an important part of the plan. This is where specs and dimensions are defined. Also, it is always more effective to give crew members an idea of what your team is working on through visual aids. This goes the same with the project owner. And without images and drawings, it will be difficult for you to create an accurate bid.
6.Try to be as Accurate as Possible in PricingFor project owners, pricing is one of the important elements that should be discussed in the proposal. Costs in a project are determined by labor, supplies, equipment rentals, overhead, and other factors. It is important to list all specific items or requests needed in the operation so that the owner will have a good idea of how much funds he needs to release. If you make a mistake in your estimate, most especially when you gave a very low quotation in the bid but the actual is twice your estimate, then you will end up in big trouble. Finally, giving better estimates helps reduce change orders. It is more convenient for both the owner and the contractor to work out on any specifics at the beginning so even if you are just joining a bid, work on the budgeting like it is already your actual profit that you are computing.
7.Comply with the RequirementsEven the proposal you submit during the bidding should comply with the requirements set by the owner. If he requires a specific supplier or reference on a chosen past project, then you should comply. It is like taking an exam where if you don’t follow instructions, then you will fail. Owners, most especially those who have already been in the industry for decades, know what they want. Surely, you can air out your suggestions, but it is still up to the owner whether he will stick with his choice or try your recommendations. Read the entire request for proposal before preparing a bid. This can easily highlight your company and set you ahead of others.
8.Involving Technology in Your Bids
Technology has greatly revolutionized the construction industry. From a pure manual work, we now enjoy automation at the site, which comes in different forms. Most construction sites now use tools for administrative tasks like employing a construction project management software like Pro Crew Schedule. This makes it easier for construction leaders like you to monitor everything that’s happening at the site and comparing them with the plan. All these records can even be used, as we mentioned already earlier, as a reference for writing your new project proposal.
Another technology that impacted productivity at the site is the use of robots to help people work on heavy tasks a lot faster. 3D printing is a sample where it can already construct partitions on its own. Another example is the use of AR and VR to minimize risk factors when inspecting errors or other problems at the site.
So, apart from using a construction software in coming up with a good proposal, define in your bid the special tech tools that you plan to use in your operation. Let the owners know how using these techs can be beneficial for them too. Will it improve the quality of the project? Will it speed up the process? With it attract more customers for them?
Who knows, the new tech that you propose to use will be your winning factor against your competitors.
The construction industry is constantly evolving and this means every project may be more unique than the ones you’ve already done before. The key takeaway points here are to come strong in your project overview. Whatever it is that you think is the best asset of your proposal should be placed in your overview. Then be very detailed in your main proposal. Include every little detail involved in your operation and be very accurate in defining the budget. Finally, impress the client further with the technology you’ll employ in the project.