A reader writes: “I just won a bid that is a lot more expensive to service that was relayed to me by the customer. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more often than it should. In reviewing the bid process, your customer refused to provide blueprints with accurate square footages. They also claimed that during the bid walk, you and other bidders were not allowed into some key areas due to “security and privacy concerns.” They also did not answer some key questions as to their expectations rather referring you to a very ambiguous specifications sheet that clearly had zero defects from day one.

My question to you is, why did you pursue this opportunity once you realized that you would not have accurate information and cooperation from the prospective customer? Although I do not question their honesty, I am concerned that they do not really understand competitive bidding and meeting expectations.

For example, in the fine print half way through the specs, it noted that vacuum cleaners with beater bars were mandatory which means that your pricing in back packs was a very poor decision. Their reasoning was that they wanted a “herring bone” pattern in the carpet to document that it had actually be vacuumed. The reality is that only two offices have plush pile carpet that the upright can raise the nap. The rest of the carpet is tight, glue down with low surface. You simply cannot get a herring bone pattern from that type carpet.

Once we ran the numbers, you are at least 50 to 65 percent low on this contract and I do not see how you can meet the standards unless you can get the customer to budge on expectations, type of equipment used and other unacceptable requirements. I recommend you document your concerns and adjust the price accordingly with a 30 to 60 day notice. If they won’t budge, it may be time to move on to other opportunities.

Who knows? They may come back to you in the future and be more reasonable.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.