July 25, 2012 – In the economic downturn that has affected the United States for the past five years, most industries have seen dramatic increases in unemployment, decreased economic profitability, and increased material prices, and the construction industry has arguably been the hardest hit. From homebuilders to those who build high-rises, these tough economic times have halted our industryâ€™s growth.
While some believe weâ€™re beginning to see signs of recovery, itâ€™s still imperative that general contractors and subcontractors put forth their best efforts with every bid they make. We donâ€™t have to tell you that fewer projects means stiffer competition.
But how can GCs and subcontractors best position each bid to win against the stiff competition?
With less capital and fewer projects available, many general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and manufacturers are taking advantage of online construction project bidding services to find not only a high volume of bids, but quality projects as well. Most bidding software will give you access to each projectâ€™s specifications, plans, schedules, locations, and more, helping you determine if each project fits your capabilities. Having all this information at your fingertips means youâ€™ll spend less time trying to find projects, and more time bidding on them.
But once youâ€™ve found a steady supply of projects, what steps can you take to ensure that youâ€™re putting your best bid forward? Our first piece of advice is to build your reputation. And, yes, make sure itâ€™s a good one.
One way to build your reputation is to bid on a lot of jobs â€¦ and bid well. To some extent, this is a numbers game and the more and better you bid, the more jobs youâ€™re likely to win.
Next, really (and we mean really) understand the bidding process. For most subcontractors and general contractors, it takes a little while to get comfortable with the process. At first, you may be afraid of having a sky-high price and losing, or low-balling your own work for the sake of a win. Find where your bidding comfort zone is. There is a sweet spot that will allow you to bid, win, and do work that you can feel good about.
Finally, learn how to negotiate. Even if you do use online bidding software, youâ€™ll oftentimes have to deal directly with contractors and developers in order to win the job. Should you ever be in a bidding war, it will be your task to explain to the client why you are the best for the job, or even work out a pricing deal. The more negotiating you do, the better off youâ€™ll be when negotiation time comes.
Once youâ€™ve got the job, your reputation is in your hands. Striving to complete each job according to the developersâ€™ project specs on time and on budget will earn you reputation points, increasing the number bid invitations and awards.
See, itâ€™s all part of a cycle. Having ready access to a reliable source of projects lets you bid more, which helps you win more, which gives you more opportunities to prove yourself, which helps get you more bidding opportunities.
Luckily, the construction industry seems to be improving over time. Yes, the marketplace is highly competitive now, but it will always be competitive. By embracing and understanding the importance of your reputation, and how to establish a good one, youâ€™ll be well equipped to bid and win projects no matter the economy, industry, or project.