Monthly Archives: November 2011

If You Could Start Over, What Would You Do Different?

Think of all the decisions you made over the last five to ten years that affected your future and where you are today. Now think of all those decisions you didn’t make you wish you had. Remember when you were busy signing new contracts, getting plenty of business, trying to juggle all your commitments, scheduling crews, putting out fires, and doing everything you could to keep everyone happy? During this time it was hard to do everything you wanted to do. Continue reading

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What Is Your Bidding Strategy?

After you have established reasons why customers should hire your company, now it’s time to find jobs to bid where you can be successful. Your overall estimating and bidding strategy is to get enough signed contracts at your price to cover your job costs, overhead, and then make a profit. This requires several winning plans. The first strategy is to have a strategy! Many contractors bid any job they are offered to bid. They don’t have a strategy that helps them decide which jobs to bid and when to say no. What’s your estimating and bidding strategy?

Before agreeing to bid a project, create a list of questions to determine if you will have an excellent chance to win the contract.

 1. Do you want to negotiate the project?
– How will you convince the customer to negotiate with you?

2. Do you want to be the select or only bidder?
– How will you implement this strategy?

3. Do you want to get the last look?
– How will you make this happen?

4. Do you know your bid-success ratio against your competitors?
– How do you keep track of your success versus competitors?

5. Do you have competitors you don’t want to compete against?
– How will you discover this information?

6. Do you have some competitors you will bid against?
– How will insure the bid list gives you a chance to be awarded a contract?

7. Do you have an ideal number of bidders you’ll bid against?
– How will you insure this happens?

8. Do you have a maximum number of bidders you’ll bid against?
 – How will you decide when not to bid a job? Continue reading

Can customers really tell the difference between your company’s bid proposal and your competitors?

If all else is equal, the only differentiating factor between your company and your competitors is the lowest price. What do you do to stand out from the crowd? To set yourself apart and charge a higher price, you must be different than your competitor. Differentiation can include doing more than your competitor for the same price, being the expert or specialist in a particular type of work or project, adding more value than required, or having a deep loyal trusted customer relationship.

Give customers a reason to hire you!
The best way to win a contract is to have a relationship with your customer that goes beyond doing past projects for them. It is based on trust and friendship developed over time. It is built by spending lots of time together having fun fishing, golfing, or doing other activities together not related to work.

If you don’t have this kind of loyal customer relationship, you have no other choice but to differentiate your company from competitors. Low price is one way and creating and offering real differences is another. Before you bid the next project, ask yourself why the customer should hire your company for this project. Are you better or faster? Do you have more qualified trained people who know how to perform this type of work? Can you help your customer make more money?

As you create a list of reasons the customer should hire your company for the project, think about what you offer that no other competitor offers. Think about what else you can do for the customer that is not required by the scope of work. Think about how you can help your customer meet their goals, make more money, increase sales, grow their business, build a better project, reduce risk, or have more fun while working with your company. I know what you are thinking: ‘We don’t get paid for all those extra things!’ If you want to win jobs today, you must do more than the minimum.

After you create a list of three to five reasons why you are the best choice for your customer to award this contract, what will you do to prove your company is the best choice? In your proposal you can include a list of past projects where you beat the schedule and delivered results that made the customer excited about your company (this is more than the standard reference list). Include pictures of completed projects similar to the one you are bidding on. Include a draft schedule showing how you can help your customer complete the project ten to twenty percent faster than a normal contractor can. Schedule a field trip with your potential customer to other jobsites where you can show them how you solved difficult problems. Give them a list of added services your company will provide if awarded the job. Offer a guarantee such as completion date, punch-list completion, quality, or added warranty they will not get with another competitor.