drywall bidding

How to Bid Commercial Drywall Jobs

As a commercial drywall contractor, a steady stream of jobs is key for keeping your business afloat. Compared to some other trades, preventative maintenance like drywall patching may not be needed often enough to keep the doors open, which means you are likely going to be looking at a lot of different bids. However, if you want to raise the chances of your bid getting accepted, you need to look beyond simply estimating a number and sending it to a potential client. Keep reading to learn how to bid commercial drywall jobs. 

A bid is a reflection of your business expertise and capabilities. It’s one thing to get passed over, but something else to win a bid on a job you can’t handle. So, from calculating your commercial drywall installation costs to organizing your bid proposal, here’s some key insight on how to bid on drywall jobs effectively.

How to Bid Commercial Drywall Jobs
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What You Need To Know About How To Bid Commercial Drywall Jobs

When you bid for a job to install commercial drywall, it’s important to note that there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of how the client can go about the process. Make sure that you pay close attention to the instructions they give in their bid invitations, or you could be passed over for a job you’re perfectly capable of doing. 

Generally, the bid process formally begins when the client sends out a request for proposals. For commercial jobs, the client may decide not to do a public request, and instead, just send things out quietly to a small group of contractors. Networking with possible commercial clients, even if they aren’t working with you at the moment, is key so when they do send out RFPs, you will be on their shortlist. RFPs will generally contain key information like the specifications of the job, any additional requirements, and what the structure of the final contract will be.

What happens when a commercial drywall job interests you?

When you see a commercial drywall job that spikes curiosity and you want to bid on it, you then prepare your submission. Along with your estimate, you must include any relevant information that shows that you are the best fit for this job. This can include your past projects that are similar to this one, evidence showing that you always stick to your schedules and budget, and potentially reference. A bid submission is part estimate, part resume. 

After this, the client makes their selection. Because commercial drywall installation is a private job rather than a public job, the decision is ultimately at the client’s discretion. For example, you may have the lowest bid, but the client may go with someone that’s more expensive because they trust their reputation or simply felt they would be the best fit.

empty wall
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How Can You Put Together Better Bids?

The process of bidding is a relatively simple 3-phase one. However, what are some of the practical aspects that will increase the chance of your bid being chosen?


While this may not be the first thing that comes to mind in the trade world, the presentation does matter with your actual bid proposal. For example, it’s extremely important that the design of the bid sheet is clear so that a client can instantly read it, find your estimate, and the cost breakdown that leads up to it. If you’re struggling to put together a neat format, there are lots of templates online you can use. Just make sure the template complies with any requirements of the initial RFP.

Reputation building

Having a strong reputation in your local area is going to be key for winning drywall jobs, especially commercial ones. Giving the lowest price is great, but many savvy building managers are looking for the best work, not just the cheapest option. As a result, well before you start bidding, you want to make sure that you are working on getting your name out there. This means introducing your company to everyone you can on other jobs, while also working on building a digital presence for yourself through a website and social media. 

When you complete jobs, make sure to ask for a review or testimonial as well. Along with reading your proposal, your potential clients will do a due diligence check into your business as well. Make sure you are working to put your best foot forward. 

drywall contractor
Photo by welcomia

Accurate calculation

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you want to do all your due diligence to make sure that your estimate is as accurate as possible. This includes not just obvious costs like labor and materials, but also subcontractor fees, demolition, and specialized equipment if needed. This not only gives you client confidence but avoids you taking a job that won’t be profitable for you. 

This is especially important because the commercial drywall cost per square foot can vary based on where the job is and what types of material that you use. Most contractors base their estimate on how many sheets of drywall they will need to complete the entire project. This is generally the safe way to go, just make sure you account for windows and door openings.

Final Thoughts

As a final note, technology is an invaluable resource for putting together bids for commercial drywall jobs. This is because the most successful and accurate bids are based on a deep understanding of the commercial drywall scope of work. This only comes when you fully comprehend the nature of the job you’re working on, how it will impact your company resources and the fastest amount of time you can complete it without compromising on quality. 

This means that every commercial drywall subcontractor should be looking into some sort of project management software, like eSUB. By having an easy reference for your bid history and the actual costs, you can make sure all your bids stay both competitive and accurate. This is key for ensuring that you are making a decent profit on every job. 

How eSUB Can Help

eSUB is a cloud-based project management platform built especially for subcontractors. It seamlessly integrates with leading construction software systems so you can easily switch from your current document process to a cloud-based system to upgrade your construction project management process.

eSUB organizes all of your project information in one place, allows for smooth collaboration, and streamlines communication through its intuitive interface. It also works on your mobile, so you can track projects on the go—no matter where or when—and stay up-to-date.