Carpet contractors wanting big jobs generally have to bid for the work. Businesses use the bidding process to spur competition, and get the best product for a low price. Knowledgeable contractors have a leg up on the competition when it comes to bidding for a job, because they know the company they are bidding on, what is expected in the bid and how to gain an advantage over competing bidders.
Research the company for which you are bidding. Find out the names of the people who are in charge of the bidding process, their jobs titles, and what business they are involved in. While this has little to do with the specifications of the job, it allows you establish a friendly and knowledgeable rapport with your potential clients. It also helps you explain intangibles that other carpet installers may neglect. For example, if the company develops propriety products you can stress the fact that your staff is trusted.
Meet with your potential client to gather all the necessary information to produce a bid. A first meeting allows you to see the job site, understand what is expected of the job, install date and acquire the specifications -- square footage, carpet type, etc. -- of the job. When visiting the job site, pay attention to which, if any, carpet was previously installed.
Estimate the cost for materials and labor. If the client wants a specific type of carpet installed, you may have a narrow material set to work with, but if the client was vague about the carpet type you can put together multiple cost estimates using different grades of carpeting. Now, determine what your materials markup will be, and how much labor will cost. Then, factor in your profit margin, and you will have the total cost of the bid.
Develop a time frame for the job. This requirement may be already determined by the client who wants the carpet installed on a certain date to minimize work disruption. If the client has not specified a date or time line you should create one that does little to disrupt your client's work. If the business operates from Monday to Friday, have the installation scheduled for the weekend. This shows the client that you are considering its needs.
Predict what other companies will bid for the same project. Prediction is not an exact science as you have no way to know exactly what another contractor's material markup or labor cost will be. But give it your best estimate. Most winning bids come down to price so having the lowest bid goes a long way towards winning the contract.
Draw up your bid. A bid should have all the information the client requested. You should break down all costs, give a time frame, explain the materials that will used, explain any disruptions that will be caused by the installation, and provide a list of credentials and references. This is also the time to separate yourself from competing bidders. Determine if you can offer better quality or lower cost; if yo; u provide an alternative carpet that meets the customer's needs, but is less expensive; if you can guarantee your work a certain number of years and whether or not you provide follow up service. The bid should be written on a word processor program like Microsoft Word, and the figures tabled in a spreadsheet program like Excel. It should be neat, organized and functional. Ensure to include the contact information for all managers.
Present the bid to the client. Ask when you might expect to follow up concerning the bid.
If you did not receive the bid it does not hurt to place a friendly call to the client, and ask why you did not win the bid. This will help you with future bids.
- carpet roller image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com