A reader writes: “I struggle with how to successfully bid a contract. Can you provide any guidance?

We all have been where you are and understand your situation. On one hand, you want to be successful at bidding an opportunity. On the other, if you get all your bids are you leaving money on the table? Is there a magic number ($/square foot rate) that you can use for all bids regardless of size or complexity or function? How do others know what to bid? Are there mentors that can provide guidance? And the questions go on and on.

First of all, there is no magic number that will fit all opportunities because there are too many variables. For instance, if $1 per square foot was the magic number, what is included and/or excluded from the tasks and frequencies? What about the difference between “basic” services and “executive” level service? What about the number of tenants in an account? What about traffic count? What about seasonal differences impacted by weather and other factors?

My recommendation to you is to attend some of the local or national association meetings that provide training on bidding, estimating, workloading and other key points that will help you to lay a foundation for developing your own bidding process over time. You might also consider some web-based bidding software that for a fee will take your data and produce a fairly nice presentation with numbers based on recognized time standards or their own data. The better ones have done their homework and may have a better feel for different markets. Finally, you might research and evaluate chemical/equipment vendors who provide workloading and estimating tools for their customers.

With time, you will get better at the process, which is part science and part art. Good luck and don’t give up. Learn from both your successes as well as your perceived failures. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.