Commercial bidding is a complex process that requires in-depth planning. You need to thoroughly understand the project requirements, know who you are competing against and give an accurate price estimate. On top of that, it is important to have a proposal strategy in place. What matters most is to highlight what makes you different and come up with a competitive offer.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Do not bid on every project you come across. Look for opportunities that match your skills and expertise. Attend pre-bid meetings, seek clarification and identify potential risks before submitting your bid.
Find Quality Leads
The bidding process depends largely on your industry and the types of projects you are interested in. Construction bidding, for example, requires a different approach than bidding on IT projects. You may need to visit the construction site to see where it is located and estimate additional costs on transportation, materials, labor and so on.
Regardless of your industry, it is crucial to take the time to find quality leads. This will ensure effective communication and improve profitability. First of all, do not bid on every project that comes your way. Research the market, connect with potential clients and join local contractors associations to expand your network.
Sign up on bidding websites like Building Radar, BidClerk, BidJobber and ConstructionWire. These online platforms connect businesses, government agencies and residential clients to contractors in various niches. Building Radar, for example, features millions of construction projects worldwide. Members can set instant notifications, compare projects in real-time and analyze their competitors.
If you are a small company or trying to build up your portfolio, consider using subcontractor bidding sites — just be aware that the rates are typically lower for subcontractors.
Choose the Right Projects
Make sure you have the skills and equipment required for the job. Winning projects that your company can not handle may hurt your reputation and revenue.
If you lack the experience, tools and resources to fulfill contractual obligations, you might end up giving up the projects or missing deadlines. This can result in penalties and additional expenses, hurting your company's bottom line. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to lawsuits and bankruptcy.
Look for jobs that fit your skill level and long-term goals. Ideally, focus on those that will result in repeat business. A successfully executed contract with a real-estate developer, for instance, may lead to ongoing work for the right person.
Draft a Winning Proposal
When writing a proposal for the job you want to bid on, make sure it reflects the customer's preferences. Read the job description and build your proposal around it. Try to determine the answers to relevant questions:
- How are the proposals scored?
- Does your value proposition align with the customer's needs and requirements?
- Is the deadline realistic?
- Does the customer care more about quality or price?
- Are there any challenges that may arise?
If the customer has provided a response template, fill each section carefully. Think of it as a shorter version of your proposal. Some companies looking for contractors host networking sessions and pre-bid meetings — and it is in your best interest to attend. This will not only make it easier to write a proposal but also allow you to meet the decision-makers and build rapport.
Ultimately, it is crucial to break down the cost and come up with hard facts so that the customer can see the return on investment. Consider how many employees you will need for the job and whether or not it is necessary to hire specific experts or subcontractors. Determine the risks and challenges involved in the project and factor in their costs. If you are not sure what to charge for your services, consider using construction bid estimation software or other similar programs, depending on your niche.
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