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BETTER BIDS IN 5 STEPS

Love it or hate it, responding to RFPs and bidding on jobs is a given for most construction companies and contractors. Whether you’re putting together your first bid or your 500th, there are a few simple strategies you can follow that will make the process faster, simpler and possibly even more enjoyable — and they should help you win more work, too. Start with these five tips.

1. Play to your strengths

Bidding on every job that comes along isn’t the answer; bidding on the RIGHT jobs is. That means knowing your niche. What work do you excel at? Which projects make you the most money? What types of jobs do you and your team most enjoy doing? Where do you have a skill set or advantage your competition does not? Understand your strengths — not just of your team, but of your equipment as well — and then seek out projects that are a good match.

2. Get online

Repeat business and word of mouth are excellent ways to find projects. But if you’re looking to expand your work beyond your current circle of clients and contacts — or you’re ready to branch out into a different type of project or broader geographic area — it pays to take advantage of the many online bidding tools available. You’ll find both free and paid subscription websites targeting commercial projects and governmental work.

3. Do your homework

When you find a job you want to bid on, make information gathering a priority. Go through the RFP carefully and create a list of questions and pinpoint any areas where you need clarification or additional detail. If pre-bid meetings or site visits are scheduled, have someone from your team attend to gather more specifics about the project. If they’re not, call your contact and ask for the information you need. And always look for insights into the customer’s priorities — is it cost? schedule? safety? That way, you can emphasize what’s important to them in your response.

4. Don’t reinvent the wheel

You certainly want to tailor your response to every RFP. But that doesn’t mean creating every bid from scratch, which is a huge waste of time and money. Take a look at the construction bidding software available to help streamline the process. And create a library of resources you can pull from whenever a bidding opportunity arises. Having bios of team members, descriptions of your services, lists of clients and project case studies on hand can help you put together a thorough, professional bid quickly.

5. Cross your Ts and dot your Is

Responding quickly is good. Throwing together a last-minute bid is not. Be sure to give yourself enough time to check and then double-check your response. Confirm that you’ve completed all necessary documentation and provided any required pre-qualifications. Review your math to make sure you haven’t left out any important costs that could end up biting you later. Even small things like proper spelling and grammar can make a difference — because you never know who might end up reviewing your bid and what they deem important.

With these five tips as a starting point, you’re ready to respond to your next RFP. Use this checklist of bidding reminders for even more suggestions on how you can create competitive, profitable and winning bids.