Job Bidding Strategies

Dress for Success: 10 Tips on How to Bid a Job & Win

Posted by Stacey Papp

Bidding a job can be a tough, stressful process, but you can help ensure your business gets the work you want by following these 10 tips on how to bid a job and win.

1. Assume nothing. Go over any plans and specs with a fine-tooth comb. You’ll get an overall picture of the project itself and can check for any discrepancies between the plans and scope of work. If you need to clarify anything, don’t hazard a guess. Ask! The more you know about a project, the more accurate your quote will be, and you might “score points” if you ask about something your customer hadn’t thought of.

2. Account for everything. Don’t just state how long the job will take and ballpark a cost. Include an overview of all parts of the job, expected hours it will take to complete each portion (including any cleanup and management time), all materials needed (including small supplies like nails or screws) and anything you will need to purchase or rent (permit, port-a-potties, etc.). Don’t forget about admin and insurance costs. This kind of granularity will show you think both big and small.

3. Divide and organize. Break each project down into smaller sections to make it easier to read. You can organize the job into portions and then indicate labor, materials, equipment, etc., under each section.

4. Keep it simple, always. Avoid long sentences and confusing language and get right to the point – and just the facts, please. 

5. Expect the unexpected. The bidding process sometimes can be a long one, and prices can fluctuate based on demand. You can help avert any surprises by noting that prices are subject to change because of availability of material. Also, things happen. Make a note if you think there may be circumstances (weather or otherwise) that could push back the completion date – but make sure they are good reasons.

6. Give yourself some wiggle room. While you shouldn’t go overboard, giving yourself a bit of a cushion when it comes to estimating time and materials can keep you from going over budget later.

7. Make your money. After you have added up all of the estimates from each division, you need to figure in your profit. Add a percentage to the total to account for overhead and your profit. Depending on the size of the project and the competition, the percentage may vary. 

8. Keep it clean. If your bid includes multiple typos and messy formatting and makes it hard for your customer to find the information they need, they may expect the same from your job! Make sure everything is neatly typed and formatted to be easy to read. A table of contents and page numbers help ensure your customer can easily find specific information. 

9. Show, don’t tell. State specifically why your business is the right business for the job. Detail precisely what benefits the customer receives from you how you’ll do things better than the competition. 

10. Don’t be late. It seems obvious, but the bid is due when it’s due, and you can’t say that the dog ate your proposal if you’re running behind. Allow plenty of time to complete and mail or email your proposal, with time allotted to follow up and make sure it was received before the deadline. 

Bidding an upcoming job? Check out our other blogs on how to price that job and win!

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Bidding an upcoming job? Check out our other blogs on how to price that job just right!