Construction bids vary from contractor to contractor and when your next big project is ready to send to bid, you will certainly get plenty of bids that will be all over the place. Getting the best bids doesn’t always mean the lowest bids. The bid process is more than just the bottom-line dollar amount for the job. You need to look at the bids closely, from finding missing information to possibly reworking line items for easier leveling to untangling miscommunications that are going to pop up. The goal is to manage and get the best construction bids each and every time, and oftentimes that starts and stops with you.
How to Manage and Secure the Best Construction Bids for Your Next Project
All of you who are reading this already know that construction bids are more than just a single cost, and that those costs, both the dollars and cents as well as scope and deadlines, need to be managed. The best way to do that is to be proactive in eliminating confusion, misunderstanding, and inconsistency from the get-go.
- The RFP (Request for Proposal) needs to be clearly outlined with exactly what you need priced for the job, how and when you need it delivered by, how you want the bids formatted and submitted, and when the construction bids are due.
- Include a list of names, email addresses, and phone numbers of every person who is currently working on the project. This includes architects, engineers, project managers, and the core team. This is your ‘helpdesk’ or ‘chatbot’ that can answer any and all questions those that are bidding may have. Giving them access to the key players will eliminate confusion and missing items from the bids.
- We all know that construction projects are a current work in progress with document changes all the time. Make sure your construction bids are coming from the most recent RFP. If your company is working with construction management software, it will be easy to access the most recent RFP because it will be stored in a construction cloud solution. Be sure the most recent RFP is named, time stamped, dated, and has a version number so everyone can easily follow along and find the most current document. It might even be wise to assign a project manager who is responsible for sending out the most RFP’s to the bidders, so they are always up to date on what information they are pricing out.
- Creating a bid form requires a delicate balance. You don’t want to give the subs too much information, which leads to confusion, or too little information, which leads to bids that won’t qualify. Create separate RFP’s for each project in bite sized pieces.
- Minutia is the name of the game when it comes to construction bids. Be sure to you CSI codes, which will help you get more consistent bids on each line item from each vendor.
- Communication is key in the bidding process. It would be great if the bids came in and you could just choose but look for those subs that ask thoughtful questions because they are more likely to submit more accurate bids.
- We talked about having your RFP’s in one place and organized. Similar to that, have a centralized communication center. Because you might have an employee leave, get sick, or any other mishaps, it’s far better to to have the project communications in one central location so you don’t run the risk of data loss, and everyone is always on the same page.
- Software matters, and it’s important that you are using software that is made for the construction industry. For instance, our software offers a bidding process, as well as a project management tool. Put these two together and you have a powerhouse solution that will avoid costly mistakes by awarding the jobs to the wrong contractors.
- Before you make a decision, be sure to have all your supporting information. This can include background checks, prequalification forms, license details and work histories, and be sure that your vendors that are bidding are eligible to work with you on your project, and that they meet all the rules and regulations of your government and state.
- History matters when it comes to construction bids. Looking at references from past jobs they have worked on to looking back over past bids from each vendor will give you a history that will tell you if this will be a successful vendor for your project.
The bottom line is that the construction bids are important to the success of your project. Bids that aren’t complete or detailed can lead to longer build time and costly mistakes.