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Estimation for Electricians Part 4: Prepare and Submit Your Bid

This is the fourth installment of Estimation for Electricians. What are best practices to help you prepare and submit your bid?

This series is dedicated to helping you understand how to make profitable decisions for your electrical contracting business.

Preparing and submitting your bid should be the last element in your estimation process. First, you need to make sure the project will be profitable enough to take action.

Your proposal document becomes your first legal correspondence that includes the price you’re offering as well as the supplies, tasks and labor included in that price.

In your proposal, include the drawings and specifications you’ve based your estimates on and the date you received them.

Create a list of every item in your proposal. You don’t have to include everything, but never leave off big ticket items.

Also don’t forget special or unique items. If your job has fees, permit costs, sales tax or other charges, state this in the proposal.

Lay out the items not included in your proposal and whether certain tasks will be performed by other contractors.

At the end of your proposal, add any terms and conditions that apply, such as the length of time your proposal is good for.

Once your proposal is finished, you’re ready to submit your bid.

Open and Private Bids

The process can be either an open or private bid. For either type, you may be bidding as a prime (for the entire electrical package) or as a sub (to a general contractor). You won’t get a second chance to bid.

In general, the lowest bidder wins in open bids.

For private bids, you’ll use the same type of proposal as a public bid, but the bid chosen for the job won’t always be the cheapest. The entity can choose a winner based on any criteria.

Scope Reviews

The entity will usually conduct scope reviews with the three top bidders before it chooses a winner. If you’re part of a scope review, you’ll be asked whether your proposal covers certain items.

During this time, you can clarify your proposal and why it does or doesn’t contain certain items. Be aware you may be asked to add something to your bid during this review.

Your Estimate in Review

Now that you understand some of the basics to think about when you estimate on projects, you’ll be better prepared for the bidding process in the future.

Always remember one key rule for bidding: Never propose a job below costs (consider product, labor and other overhead costs). You will not make up the difference and will lose money on that project.

This is the fourth and final installment of Estimation for Electricians. If you found this article interesting, check out the others to review the process in detail.