| 7 min read ·

A Complete Guide to the Building Services Bidding Process

Author: Route Nation

In this guide, learn all about the building services bidding process including when to bid on larger, longer-term projects.

While some building services companies find work through referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, others go through a bidding process to secure short-term and long-term projects.

Both detailed and methodical, building services bidding is an ever-changing realm made smarter and more efficient by recent technological innovations in planning, scheduling and proposal generation.

Today, we're taking a look at how this process works, and how forward-thinking leaders in this space can leverage these trends and technologies to get ahead.

Ready to learn more? Let's dive in.

What Is The Building Services Bidding Process?

In short, a building services bid is a proposal that a contractor submits to a prospective customer. Within the proposal, they detail how their company can help support the build or management of a specified structure. From floor services and landscaping to drywall installation and plumbing, there are myriad services that buyers require in both renovation and new construction.

Before managers can create an accurate and competitive bid, they have to first examine the construction plans or blueprints. If the structure is already erected, they may also perform a site walkthrough to understand the layout and take important dimensions.

From there, they can create a List of Materials (LOM) that contains the types of materials and quantities they'll need to complete the project. By adding in those costs plus the estimated labor required, building services managers create their bid.

Especially within the building services industry, bottom-line price is often a top consideration. In many cases, especially government bids, the owners must select the bidder with the lowest price. With other jobs, they may weigh past performance, labor skills, and experience on an equal measure.

The basic format of a building services bid is as follows:

Bid Solicitation

The owner will submit an official Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quote (RFQ) or Request to Tender (RTT). Within this documentation, bidders will find a detailed Scope of Work (SOW), detailing the work required.

Subcontracting

In some cases, a general contractor will require building services as a component of a larger, more comprehensive construction project. If this is the case, they'll request bids from subcontractors capable of performing the work. This often occurs after they win the bid and official solicitation process closes.

Proposal Submission

Using your knowledge of the project, you'll use a proposal generator to create a detailed bid explaining how you'll tackle the work and what resources you'll employ to do so.

Bid Selection

The owner will review all the submitted bids and make a final decision.

Contract Development

Next, a contracts manager will help finalize the project terms and lay the project's legal foundation.

Delivery Phase

The building services team works together to deliver the project services promised in the bid, following the designated terms. If either party needs to make a change at any point, the owner can issue an amendment to the SOW, which the services team can respond to with an updated proposal.

The amended proposal will pass through the required review, acceptance and delivery phases.

Bids Versus Estimates

When submitting a quote, it's important to understand if the buyer is looking for a concrete bid or a rough estimate.

While a bid is a firm offer to the customer, an estimate is more elastic and calculates internal costs. After looking at the specifications for a project and determining labor requirements, a building services manager may reach out to suppliers to get quotes for the necessary raw materials.

A bid includes those raw material and labor costs, as well as taxes, equipment, overhead costs, and a profit markup.

Even with an estimate, it's important to bid the correct amount. This is especially the case when bidding on smaller-scale projects, as these buyers are usually ready to move forward and may treat your estimate as an official bid representing the deal.

Delivering A Winning Bid

How can you help improve the odds that the proposal from your building services team stands out among the competition?

The answer lies in using the technology available at your fingertips whenever possible. Let's review the five stages you'll work through during this process.

Research And Planning

First, your team will make sure that it's up to the task required. Do you have the resources, experience, connections, and manpower necessary to deliver a top-notch solution?

Analyze your team management portal to get a high-level overview of your workforce, including the number of qualified technicians you have available, broken into service categories.

If you deem it appropriate to move forward, it's important to perform as much research as possible about the buyer, understanding its mission and overall vision. Read the SOW with caution and make sure your request responds to every specific need.

Understanding The Scope

In an effort to best the competition, you may submit a proposal that's leaps and bounds lower than the rest. The only problem?

If you can secure the labor and materials at that price point and still turn a profit, that's one thing. But, if the quote is inaccurate, you could lose money, damage a client relationship and render your company ineligible for future work. That's why it's important to understand the requirements before talking numbers.

If you're given a site visit beforehand, use a walkthrough builder to make the process as seamless as possible. From within the portal, you can create new clients, schedule the visit, assign attending technicians, take notes and organize findings for the team to access. Some of the details you can capture with this software include:

  • Room Dimensions
  • Floor Types
  • Hot Points
  • Room Photographs

This software also comes in handy down the road, when you win the bid, allowing technicians to save important building details and capture real-time updates. When you complete the walkthrough, you can even convert all the notes and images to a PDF format for simple sharing.

Preparing Your Bid

Once you have a clear understanding of what's expected and you know how to price the bid, you're ready to create your proposal.

Leverage your proposal generator software to create clean, concise bids that speak to your expertise. Along with your price quote and a detailed explanation of how you'll perform the work, also include any special notes or distinguishing characteristics that set your company apart. For instance, be sure to explain where you've given any discounts or proposed premium services, and what these lines mean.

Want to make a great first impression? Within your proposal, add the PDF of the data and images captured during your walkthrough. This reveals to the client that you understand the project and can support it.

As you complete the rest, use the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) markdown fields to see every change and addition as you make it, so there's no second-guessing what you're sending to the client. To make the process as failproof as possible, our software includes a pre-templated list of tasks you can include and adjust as necessary, generated based on the room types designated in your walkthrough.

Before you submit it, you can also enhance your final document by customizing it to the buyer, adding such elements as:

  • Company Logos
  • Client Logos
  • Custom Field for Service Charges
  • SOW Templates
  • One-Click Legal Verbiage

Save and share your proposal among your team members on the Route web app. This allows authorized users to pick up and add information where someone else left off.

Submitting Your Bid

Pay close attention to how the buyer expects you to submit your bid. If you're submitting it to a government client, there will often be a specific online portal where you'll go to upload your final PDF. Familiarize yourself with this portal before the due date so you understand how it works and can avoid last-minute snafus or technical difficulties.

If it's a private client, you may need to send it electronically or print it and mail it in, depending on their preference. Today, most prefer digital formats, as they're easier to share with key project stakeholders. Keep in mind that even if you're asked to submit an electronic version of your proposal via either a government portal or private email, you may also need to mail a hard copy in, as well.

Presenting On A Platform

Once you've submitted the bid package, you may have the opportunity to meet with the buying team to discuss your proposal in greater detail. In most cases, these presentations will be either online or in-person.

Be prepared to provide additional details regarding your proposed timeline, list of materials, work schedule or other aspects. Access your walkthrough builder portal as required for supporting technical details.

The buyer may also ask you to submit your Best and Final Offer (BAFO), so decide within your team if there is any room for adjustment, informing the buyer that you can submit a revised proposal if necessary.

Ace The Bid With Building Services Software

In today's ultra-competitive building services market, there is no room for unreliable, inadequate or dull proposals. It's imperative that you display your company in the best light possible, submitting sleek bids that are as accurate as they are attractive.

This is where Route comes in.

We built our software platform with this industry in mind. From our team management portal to our walkthrough builder and proposal generator, we make every step of the bidding process a breeze.

Start a free trial today to see for yourself the difference it makes. Let's win that next project together!

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