Today’s subcontractors must find every opportunity to maximize their finite time and resources. One of the best ways to do this? Develop a better bidding process.
With a more strategic process, subcontractors can stop spending hours bidding on every job that comes their way. Instead, they can work more efficiently, refocusing their time and efforts to bid on the right jobs—or, the jobs they’re more likely to win and that will prove most profitable.
A better bidding process helps subcontractors in other crucial ways, too. It helps them:
- Identify and bid on jobs they’re most likely to win
- Reduce time spent putting together proposals
- Facilitate better communication early-on in a project
- Foster long-term relationships with general contractors
Ready to improve your bidding process? We’ve outlined three of the top tips from our new guide, “10 Tips to Win More Bids.” Each tip will help subcontractors fine-tune their bidding process and win more of the right bids.
Tip #1: Track Bidding Information in One Place
Anyone who has attempted to sift through a stack of papers on a desk in search of one account number or one line item understands just how much time can be lost by misplacing information. For a subcontractor or bid estimator, missing information and disconnected data can be extremely costly.
Bidding information is often stored in far too many locations. Important numbers, due dates, and communications between team members wind up scattered across email, fax, Post-it notes, white boards, and file cabinets. The consequence? When deadlines are approaching for a construction bid, critical information is nearly impossible to find.
Ninety-nine percent of subcontractors who track bids in email or Excel miss multiple bid invites a year. That’s why tracking bidding information in one centralized location is an absolute must. The good news is that cutting-edge technology makes it easier than ever before to store bidding information in one spot. Not only that, but thanks to the rise of cloud-based solutions, it’s also possible to access all that information from anywhere.
Cloud-based bidding solutions make it easy to store everything from deadlines to important communications in one place. By providing quick and easy access to everyone involved in the bidding process, your team can avoid the mishap of misplaced information.
Tip #2: Follow Up on Your Bids
Let’s say you slip up and forget to include something in your bid. General contractors receiving bid submissions are often swamped and bombarded with information from hundreds or even thousands of subcontractors. Something small, such as a minor omission of information, can cause them to place a bid to the side.
By being proactive and following up on bids submitted, a subcontractor can often earn the chance to remedy any missing information. Not only that, but this proactive measure can help raise the bid to top of mind for the decision-maker.
Additionally, following up can help save subcontractors from the headache of continually wasting time submitting bids to a general contractor who is unresponsive. If you consistently receive no response from a general contractor, it likely indicates that there is no point in submitting bids to them in the future.
A quick follow up should be succinct, timely and open-ended. A simple question like “Did you receive our bid?” can be all it takes to close the communication loop.
Tip #3: Track Your Bid Data and Identify Patterns
Data is key to understanding where to best focus a team’s time and energy. The goal is not simply to win more bids, but rather to win the right bids in the most efficient manner possible. Tracking bid data is a critical component of improving the process.
Gathering and looking for trends in your data allows subcontractors to identify clear patterns. The following are two key areas for subcontractors to focus on data tracking:
- Hit rate: This data point allows a subcontractor to identify general contractors worth their time.
- Key team players’ performance: Tracking the performance of estimators and other key players can help determine if there are any weaknesses in the existing bidding process.
Sixty-five percent of subcontractors don’t track their win rate, so by taking this crucial step, you’re already propelling your company’s bidding strategy ahead of the competition. Today, data is the backbone of an efficient and effective construction bid process.
7 More Ways to Win More Bids
Today, it is essential for subcontractors, estimators, and team members to learn not only how to submit better bids, but also how to win the right bids. Focusing energy on profitable bids and utilizing the right technology are keys to success and business growth in today’s high-stakes industry. To learn more tips and tricks to improve your bidding process, download “10 Tips to Win More Bids.”
Dustin DeVan is construction industry strategist and evangelist at Autodesk Construction Solutions and co-founder of BuildingConnected.
Founded in 2012, BuildingConnected has built a network of more than 900,000 construction professionals, helping real estate owners and general contractors find and hire qualified contractors for their projects. BuildingConnected joined Autodesk in 2018, adding bid management, risk analysis and other preconstruction solutions to Autodesk’s construction portfolio.
Prior to founding BuildingConnected, DeVan worked as an engineer, scheduler, estimator, and project manager for six years in commercial construction. He has held roles at some of the largest construction companies in the country.
DeVan's construction experience includes large-scale, complex projects such as the $80 million medical office building for Kaiser Permanente, the $6 billion Las Vegas City Center, HP's headquarters in Palo Alto, Western Digital’s Class 10 clean room expansion, and a $700 million coal-fired power plant in Texas.
DeVan holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of California, Davis, in Mechanical Engineering, and Aeronautical Science and Engineering.