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Subcontractor Superstars: Creating Bids That Stand Out

a guide to standing out among the crowd

We know how much time and effort you put into preparing a bid submission. If that time and effort are rewarded with a win, it’s easy to feel that those resources were well spent. If not, it can be disheartening and even feel wasteful. So how do you increase your success rate and stand out among your competitors?

Whether you’re looking to increase the volume of your business, improve your bid-hit ratio, or break into a new market or location, there are a few things you should do when it comes to submitting bids for a construction project. In this blog, we’ll share some tips and suggestions that will help you hone your skills and polish your submissions so you can emerge victorious more often.

Network & Build Relationships

One of the best ways to increase the likelihood you’ll win a bid is to create meaningful relationships with general contractors, construction managers, and design-builders.

Nothing builds a relationship like working together on a project. You’ll be able to prove your craftsmanship and managerial expertise by completing your contract – and doing it well. Perform nicely on one project, and the construction team will look forward to working with you again. They’ll see your business as one they can trust to get the job done, and that goes a long way.

However, we know getting your foot in the door to prove your company can be a challenge in the first place.

One way to build up a relationship with new companies is to introduce your business and get on the right bidding list. Research companies in your area that work on projects that require your services. Find out what the process is to get bid invitations. Some companies have a prequalification process that evaluates your company before you’ll be invited to submit a bid.

You can also use some good old-fashioned networking skills to build a more personal relationship with new companies. Introduce yourself and your company to a few employees from a company you’d like to partner with over lunch. Attend networking events hosted by industry associations to make new contacts and introduce your company. Use any opportunity you can to meet and mingle with the people you’d like to do business with!

By creating these relationships, construction companies will see your bid as more than just a number. It may take time and effort, but in getting to know the people you are hoping to partner with, they’ll begin to feel more comfortable with you as well.

Bid Selectively & Bid First

If you’re looking to grow your business, it can seem like submitting more bids will increase your chances of landing more work. However, doing this can actually work against those goals.

It takes time and resources to prepare a bid, and in a business those things are limited. If you increase your bid volume, you’ll also need to increase the resources it takes to complete each bid. However, some contractors can be tempted to take on too much, and the quality of the bids suffer.

You may be better off focusing on a few select opportunities that you know are in your area of expertise and that you stand a good chance of winning. That way, you’ll have the bandwidth to pursue additional opportunities as they arise, and you can be confident that they’re jobs your team can knock out of the park.

And being selective with your bids makes getting a bid in early easier. By being one of the first contractors to submit a bid, you’re increasing the likelihood your bid will win, as there will be less competition when you submit. It’s easier to ignore the 30th bid than it is the 2nd.

Follow Up

After you’ve submitted a bid, it’s great to get in the habit of following up. Not only does it make it easier for construction companies to provide meaningful feedback or request revisions, but it gives them an idea of what it’s like to work with you.

Taking the time to follow up on your bids shows that your company values communication. It also suggests it’s common practice for your company to stay on top of your projects. These qualities go a long way on a busy construction site where sometimes dozens of different contractors are working together. It also provides a natural and easy opportunity to establish a friendly rapport with the employees, helping to build that relationship that’s so important.

Additionally, it shows that you care about the project and are genuinely interested in being awarded this work. It may sound silly, but that small gesture of extra effort goes a long way in showing that you weren’t just checking another bid off your busy to-do list.

Picking up the phone to check in and see if any additional information is needed demonstrates your interest in the project – not to mention your respect to the contractor in ensuring they have all the information they need from you.

Stay on Top of Tech

Keeping on top of the latest technology can take time and money. But it’s an investment that can pay off.

Investing some time and money up front in the right technology can end up saving your business more of both down the road. It can also improve the quality of your work or make it easier for the other companies on the construction team to work with you, as well as with the owner.

If you discover your competition is consistently bidding lower than you, technology could be a way for you to make your business more productive, allowing you to lower your costs.

Additionally, these technological solutions have become the new normal. Owners have become accustomed to tech-savvy solutions and have come to expect them from their construction team. It helps them stay connected to the project in real-time. An absence of these solutions may make your company look unsophisticated compared to your competition.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while technology can be a great way to take your services to the next level, technology for its own sake won’t be helpful to your company or your partners. Take time to research and implement only the software, apps, and systems that will truly enhance the way you do business and that you and your team will continue to use.

Let Your Work Speak for Itself

General contractors, construction managers, and design-builders love to work with subcontractors they’ve had good experiences with in the past.

Put just as much effort into your current projects as acquiring new ones. Focus on maintaining communication and quality of work. Ensure your crew works diligently and safely, complying with any job-specific rules.

Construction companies will remember a successful partnership, and they’ll be more likely to extend future opportunities to you.