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5 COMMON BIDDING MISTAKES — AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

What’s the key to putting together a winning bid proposal? Avoiding mistakes. Make a small one and your bid could be rejected; make a big one and your bottom line could be affected. Here are five common errors construction firms make during the bidding process — and some advice on how you can avoid falling victim to them.

1. Bidding on every job that comes along
If you subscribe to the Wayne Gretzky method of bidding (“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”), it might be time to rethink your strategy. Your operation isn’t a fit for every project, which makes a scattershot approach a waste of time and effort. You also risk winning jobs you don’t have the resources to tackle or you can’t complete profitably. Rather than responding to every RFP, focus your energy on preparing accurate, thorough, winning quotes for projects that are a good match for your business.

2. Overlooking the fine print
The devil, as they say, is in the details — and nowhere is that more true than in the bidding process. Always verify that you’ve submitted all the required documents, attended any mandatory pre-bid meetings or completed any necessary pre-qualifications. Have someone double-check your math (and your spelling). Even something simple like forgetting to sign your bid can lead to it being rejected. And most importantly, check the bid deadline (date and time) and make sure yours is delivered on schedule.

3. Overestimating your equipment capabilities
Win the work, then worry about how to get it done, right? That can be dangerous — especially if you have to buy or rent equipment to complete the job. Did you factor those costs into your bid? What about the costs to make sure your machines are in good working order? It’s always a good idea to conduct an honest evaluation of your equipment needs during the bidding process. That way you’ll know if you need to extend capital for additional assets and can work with your equipment dealer to schedule delivery in advance of the project start date. You can also plan maintenance ahead of time to avoid delays or lost time on the job.

4. Not asking enough questions
Are you clear on everything that’s required for the job? Do you have all the information you need to prepare an accurate bid? Don’t submit your proposal until you’ve asked the necessary questions. Never assume that you know the answers or that you can get them after you’ve won the work. Take advantage of pre-bid meetings or site visits to gather more details about a project’s specifics. If they’re not offered, reach out to your contact directly to ask for any clarifications you need.

5. Throwing together a last-minute bid
Rushing a bid is never a good idea — it’s too easy to make mistakes. If you’re not careful, you may end up missing certain requirements and setting your price too low. Or you might overlook risks you’d rather not take on. At the very least, you’re likely to make errors that may cause your bid to be rejected outright. Always take the time to prepare a bid you feel confident in — if you don’t have that time, it may be better to pass on this opportunity and start preparing for the next one.

When it comes to construction bids, you can’t win ’em all — but avoid these five mistakes and you’ll put yourself in the best position to win every time.