Construction professionals have oftentimes approached project bidding by offering the lowest possible cost. But as the bidding process becomes increasingly complex, contractors are wondering how to win construction bid contracts in a competitive environment while also staying profitable.
These days, having the lowest bid doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bidding competitively, and simply increasing your bidding volume usually only leads to wasting precious time and money. Check out these six easy tips for winning more construction bids with fewer proposals:
Bid first, know your competition and don’t chase every job
An easy way to win more bids is stepping in before your competition does. Keep an eye on construction bidding marketplaces to create a profile and pre-emptively find jobs.
- BidClerk – This site provides commercial construction leads and project information.
- iSqFt – A networking tool, iSqFt is specially designed to help construction professionals connect and communicate.
- BidPlanroom – Commercial construction professionals use this site to join a bidder’s list, post projects and promote their company. (It’s free!)
Additionally, when preparing to bid on a project, know what criteria your competition will use so you can bring more to the table. This means making your offer about more than just price. Essentially, you need to sell the fact that your services are better.
Additionally, just because a construction job is available doesn’t mean you should go for it. It can be more effective to reduce the number of proposals you submit to improve the quality of your bids and select projects with a higher chance of success.
- Bid on jobs that best fit your niche. (Example: Residential versus industrial projects)
- Focus on projects that will result in repeat business.
- If a project requires specialties you don’t have, don’t bid.
Identify the decision-makers and build trust
Construction professionals often waste precious time by working with nondecision makers. It’s important to know who’s in charge of a project.
To make headway, try to get face-time with the right people. (These days, there is usually more than one decision-maker.) A good way to start this is by gaining an understanding of the prospect’s organizational structure.
It’s also important to note people want to do business with someone they trust. That’s why it’s important to build personal relationships with your prospects so they see you as a person and not just a contractor.
Highlight your qualifications and deliver value
Don’t be afraid to show off your qualifications! Be straightforward in explaining why your team is right for the job.
Showcasing your experience is a great way to set yourself apart from other companies. When your bid is close to someone else’s, sometimes reputation is all it takes to tilt the scale in your favor.
Additionally, rather than focusing so much on price, promote your value. It’s important for construction professionals to sell the fact they have a competitive advantage over other companies.
It’s all about differentiating your brand. Market your crew as responsive experts who offer customization, quality control and excellent customer service. Customers oftentimes value these attributes more than price.
Do your homework, break down your bid and explain ROI
When submitting a bid, it’s extremely important to know what project owners expect. This is especially true for design details.
A helpful tactic involves talking to others who have worked with the project owners to get a feel for their preferences.
Avoid merely showing a lump sum in your bid. Break down the cost to best highlight your thought process in areas like equipment allocation and material costs. It’s all about giving a potential client the right perspective.
Additionally, prospects need to see the return on investment (ROI) they’ll gain by working with you. Be prepared to back up your information with hard data. Breaking down the data through case studies is a helpful method.
Embrace technology, boost productivity
The right technology can help control construction costs and has the power to increase your team’s efficiency with common job site tasks such as:
- Trips to gather material
- Conference calls
- In-person meetings
- Phone calls
Mobile devices are being deployed on job sites every day. Technology can bring information right to a contractor’s fingertips. It can also improve communication between the field, office, operators, subcontractors and executive team.
Don’t forget that the younger workforce grew up with smartphones. They understand the latest technology that bolsters processes and efficiency. If it means saving time and money, as well as building bids more quickly and accurately, adopting new technology is crucial.
Here are some cool mobile apps you should know about:
- Fieldlens – This helps improve project communication between a general contractor, subcontractor, architect and owner. You can document job issues with photos and keep track of to-dos.
- PlanGrid – A tool that instantly updates an entire team when there are changes made to any documents.
- HeavyJob – Not only does this app provide time entry functions, but real-time data on production levels.
- Autodesk BIM 360 – This program is great for highlighting safety and quality issues as well as managing field data.
Contractors often assume they lost a bid to a competitor that came in below cost. However, that’s not always the case. Team productivity is often a major factor in the construction bid process. By boosting productivity, you’re likely to reduce costs so you can deliver more competitive bids.
There are many easy ways to boost construction productivity, such as the following:
- Adopting construction productivity software.
- Hiring a distributor partner for efficient material management services.
- Improving safety training.
Don’t give up: Approach objections as opportunities
It’s OK if your prospect has questions or concerns at some point in the bidding process. Try to understand the true root of any objections they raise so you can better connect with them.
Objections should be seen as an opportunity to get to know your potential client better. Additionally, if you approach it in the right way, persistence is good for the bidding process. Staying in touch with potential clients and being consistent could help increase your close rate.
Sometimes it’s even worth it to point out that a competitor did a good job with their presentation, highlighting aspects like cost and timing. But, showing consistent care and attention to detail for a project shows dedication, which project owners are looking for.
How to win construction bid contracts: Have confidence
Today’s construction bidding environment may be competitive and complex, but utilizing the tips above can help give you a leg up when it comes to winning projects. Have confidence in your people and services – and focus on building a foundation of improved speed and accuracy.