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Engineer and businessman handshake at construction site

8 Tips for Subcontractors to Win More Bids this 2020


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Subcontractors are assets to general contractors. More than helping the construction team finish the job faster, subcontractors provide their expertise to achieve a higher quality project result. So the role that they do in construction can’t be underestimated and their services are crucial in the success of the general contractor. 

That said, more and more trades experts are looking into launching their own subcontracting company. The competition is tight and if one doesn’t find an edge over the others, then it will be difficult for the subcontracting firm to win a bid. And so today, we’re here to give a couple of practical tips every subcontractor should know to win more projects. 

The Importance of Winning Bids

Most construction project owners are still using the bidding method to find the perfect partner in putting a project to life. This is most especially true for first-time real estate investors. But even clients who already have a preferred general contractor can switch to another team. That said, contractors should continuously find ways to improve their bidding strategies. 

The same goes for general contractors. With so many subcontractors out there yearning to grow their companies, they can take any step just to win a project. Offering the lowest estimate, for instance. But you can win a project in a much better way than compromising quality just to give the cheapest price. Today, improving one’s bidding process is the surefire way to win a project. 

Be more strategic in your bidding process. Always think of ways on how you can outsmart other subcontractors. And when you perfect your new and improved bidding strategies, you can stop spending hours writing proposals whenever opportunities come your way. Furthermore, you can spend more time refocusing your efforts from bids to jobs. 

But, how does a better bidding process look like? Well, an improved bidding process should:

  • Help a subcontractor identify projects that they’re most likely to win. 
  • Help a subcontractor reduce time in writing proposals. 
  • Help a subcontractor establish good communication with a client/general contractor early-on in a project. 
  • Help subcontractor build long-term relationships with clients/general contractors. 

But how exactly can you improve your bidding process? Let’s find out below. 

8 Tips for Subcontractors for Winning More Bids

We’ve outlined 8 foolproof strategies that can help you fine-tune your bidding process. Coming from another subcontractor who’s been working in the construction industry for years now, each tip is sure to help you win more bids that are right for your expertise. 

  1. Organize Bids in One Place

Losing important information of a bid can be extremely costly. When you are trying to win a project, be sure to track all data in just one place. Ditch printed documentation because it will be more difficult to browse through a stack of papers. It will only confuse you and cost you so much time going back and forth from one paper to another. Furthermore, they can be destroyed or misplaced. 

To write the perfect bid, you need to include the complete details of your proposal. And for you to not miss a single detail, you need to be very organized with your documents. You can use digital solutions for this.

In choosing a digital tool to help you organize bidding details, though, you need to consider which will work for you and the general contractor. This way, you can easily exchange information that can help you craft the perfect proposal. 

This is why emails and spreadsheets won’t work. It’s easy for you and the general contractor to miss important messages because of spam emails, while inconsistent data and double entry from using spreadsheets can cause errors in estimates. Sure, there are now web-based spreadsheets that update on both ends whenever changes are done, but communicating and exchanging other file formats aren’t possible. 

So, the best digital solution you can use is a construction project management software like Pro Crew Schedule

This cutting-edge construction technology makes tracking bids easier. You can schedule your activities relevant to writing bids and add special notes to remind you of the data you need in that certain activity. For instance, it’s your schedule to write the quotation. You can place under the notes the suppliers you need to contact, the bulk of materials you need, and the allotted budget of the general contractor, so you can find the best options to propose. 

Overall, with this cloud-based construction solution, you will no longer have to worry about missing information and unorganized bidding details.  

  1. Follow Up on Your Bids

Remember that when going on a bid, you will be competing against several other subcontractors. That means that the general contractor can get swamped with submissions. If you have just one important information that’s missing, your proposal will be placed to the side. 

To make up for this kind of mistake, you should follow up on your bid. Tell the subcontractor that you have a minor revision that you need to do that will improve the proposal. This is why it’s more convenient to have a cloud-based software for your exchange of files compared to sending printouts. 

But don’t get used to submitting without reviewing your proposal. It’s still best that you submit an error-free document and the best version of your proposal. 

Furthermore, making follow-ups can save you time from waiting for unresponsive general contractors. If after several calls, they still won’t respond, then it’s time to look for other opportunities. 

  1. Only Join Bids That You Can Do 

We know that you want to speed up the expansion of your business and that’s the reason why you submit proposals to all opportunities you find. But that’s wrong. 

You should only get a job that you know you can do. This is why a lot of subcontractors write low-quality bids because they don’t really know the requirements of the job. But it’s easy to write a bid and win a project when you know the job very well. 

  1. Build Your Network

Apart from subcontractor job sites, the best place to hear about opportunities is from contracting and subcontracting organizations. Sl grow your r network and join relevant organizations and communities where your name can be spread. Try to join the top orgs in the industry including ASA, MCAA, AGC, NECA, and CFMA

  1. Invest in Technology

It may be costly to try the latest technology in your field, but general contractors are attracted to subcontractors who put an effort to level up their services with technology. Besides, technology can ensure that you do a better job at a faster rate. This will let the general contractor save money from paying more working days. 

So search for the latest technology trend in your trade and find the best ones to invest in. Most trades, though, need to invest in a project management software that will streamline collaboration, stabilize communication, and make reporting accurate. This will give the general contractor the impression that he won’t have a hard time working with you. 

  1. Payment Terms

A lot of general contractors aren’t paid correctly because of the debts of the project owner to the general contractor. So offer a flexible payment term that won’t pressure the general contractor but put in on the agreement that you should be paid in full so that your rights are also protected.

  1. Clear Communication, Quality, and Productivity

There’s actually a shortcut to win projects without going into a bidding. That is by ensuring clear communication with your general contractor, checking on your crew member’s productivity, and seeing to it that you build quality project results. In short, deliver a successful project. This yields a good margin for repeat partnership with the general contractor on his next project. 

  1. Market Research and Improved Marketing

Help contractors know that your business exists by making a strong online presence. Create a professional website, list down your services, and don’t forget to ask for the testimonials of your previous clients. Most importantly, post your contact details so general contractors will know how to reach you when they have jobs available.

Apart from making an online presence, you should also make your own market research. Find out what kind of jobs in your trade are in demand. From there, you can develop the right expertise to offer. Also find out which general contractors are always looking for subcontracting services. Then build a connection with them. You can do so by asking from your organization or from subcontractor job boards. This will also save you from working with the wrong general contractor who only prioritizes to have the work done but not paying you for your services. 

Final Words

Making a name in the saturated world of construction can be difficult. With thousands of competitors here in the U.S. alone, it may be difficult to stand out in your first try. But don’t be discouraged and keep trying to win bids until you’re given the right opportunity to display your skills. One opportunity is enough to gain a lot of future projects so make the first one count. 

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