How to Bid on City Construction Contracts

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Government contracts can be a steady source of income for your construction business. However, cities must follow rules that ensure the best company gets the work without giving favoritism for political influence. It's important to research all the rules the city has and make sure to include all documentation requested. Forgetting one small piece of information could lead to the city dismissing your bid. Most cities are required to award the contract to the lowest bidder, so make sure your price is competitive.

Government contracts can be a steady source of income for your construction business. However, cities must follow rules that ensure the best company gets the work without giving favoritism for political influence. It's important to research all the rules the city has and make sure to include all documentation requested. Forgetting one small piece of information could lead to the city dismissing your bid. Most cities are required to award the contract to the lowest bidder, so make sure your price is competitive.

Check postings on the city's website, in its engineering office and in the local newspaper. Cities are required to post invitations to bid on construction projects, and this is how you will find out about a potential opportunity.

Research the project that is advertised. Prepare a budget that includes your overhead costs and your materials, payroll and other incidentals. Visit the site if possible to make sure you have not forgotten anything. Most cities hold prebid meetings with all potential contractors to answer questions shortly before bids are due. They will go over requirements and provide any needed documentation. Make sure to attend this meeting.

Secure insurance and a bond company if required by the city. Both these will help the city know that you are not going to hold the city liable for any construction site injuries and that you will complete the job.

Register your company and any subcontractors you plan to hire with the city. Not all cities require this, but it can make the difference between getting a job and not, so check to see if this is needed.

Prepare your bid packet. Depending on the city where you want to do work, there are various pieces of information that need to be included, such as company history, work references, proof of insurance and bonding company information. Label all required parts clearly and present the bid in a bound notebook or binder so that it's easy to read. Submit your bid.

Warnings

  • Some states have laws that prohibit communicating with any elected officials or city leaders during the bid selection process. Doing so could disqualify you.

References

About the Author

Lottie Goff became a fulltime professional journalist in 2005. She has written freelance content for "Space City Spors" in Houston, Texas and "Coast Magazine" in Galveston, Texas. She earned a journalism degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in 2005. She also worked for the student newspaper, "The Battalion," from 2003 to 2005.

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