Contractors and subcontractors win projects through bids and bid proposals. Preparing bid proposals can be a daunting task, especially for a hard bid project. While these are most common in commercial construction, they can be harder on the estimating team. Here are 5 tips for winning a hard bid contract for your construction company.
Construction Project Bid Types
Commercial construction uses several project procurement types. The general structure has someone, whether it’s the architect, owner, general contractor, or construction manager creating work and then subcontractors, general contractors, or other construction professionals bidding for the work. What differs is the direct method used to solicit bids, whether it’s digital, negotiated, or traditional.
What is a Hard Bid
One of the most common bid types is called traditional procurement, or a hard bid. A hard bid traditionally sees an owner hiring an architect. The architect prepares construction documents and publicly solicits bids for the work. Usually, general contractors bid on the project, their bid represents the total that they believe it will cost in order to complete the project. This includes what they believe it will cost subcontractors.
Break Down the Bid
Many bids show lump sums or a lump sum. While this is convenient, for those reading the bid it can be confusing. Seeing exactly how a subcontractor or contractor breaks up their project finances can tell the person viewing a lot. The break up on a hard bid also shows your thought process for the project. For example, one subcontractor might have more money put aside towards equipment than another. Or one contractor might have less set aside for material costs. Both of these could explain why a bid is higher or lower, which gives the bid recipient a better picture of the contractor or subcontractor.
Accurate Math and Takeoffs
While it might seem like an obvious tip accurate math and takeoffs are incredibly important in any bidding project. Any bid must be accurate, with accurate takeoffs and math. Without it, the whole bid will be thrown out. In hard bid proposals especially, the person accepting the bids will look for whether the measurements are accurate. If the math and takeoffs are very different from other bids, your bid won’t be accepted. Using accurate measures, checking the math, and inputting the correct takeoffs is an easy way to win the next hard bid contract.
Many hard bid contracts have specific formatting that they prefer for their contractors and subcontractors to use. However, going into the project that might not be clear. Between specific formatting and unclear designs or drawings, it’s important to know what the architect, owner or general contractor is looking for in the proposal. Sometimes talking to others who have worked with the architect, owner or general contractor before can also be a big help. They might be able to alert you to potential preferences of theirs so that you can win the hard bid.
Showcasing Your Qualifications
Another tip for winning a hard bid contract for your construction company is showing off your qualifications. The architect or general contractor lays out the work that needs to be done, and you know that your team is perfect for the job. However, they don’t necessarily know that. By showcasing your team’s qualifications and experience, you help set yourself apart from other companies. The qualifications of your team and your company are as important as the price of labor, materials, and time. With a hard bid, many of the bids will be just slightly lower or higher. That’s why your qualifications and the construction company’s reputation can help you win a hard bid.
Ensuring Project Fit
With bidding it can be tempting to bid on everything that might fit. However, that isn’t a winning strategy for most construction companies. It’s always important to know whether or not the potential project will work for your company. While most projects choose the lowest bidder, your company also has to be able to make a profit. Bidding on the right project for your construction company can be seen in a hard bid proposal.