I Sent a Bid to the General Contractor, Now Where Is My Contract?

I Sent a Bid to the General Contractor, Now Where Is My Contract?

I Sent a Bid to the General Contractor, Now Where Is My Contract?

By Ed Krum

So your company has submitted a bid to the general contractor; now what?  Well if you followed the suggestions from the last post:

1. Let the general contractor’s estimator know in advance that your company intends to submit a bid, especially if you haven’t worked with them before.  A phone call is best.

2. Communicate with the general contractor’s estimator prior to bidding.  Here are few good things to communicate:

a. Estimator, did you notice “so and so” about the project?

b. Estimator, the architect is doing it this way and we can save money by doing it this way and we will get the same result.

c. Estimator, here is a list of similar projects that our company has completed.

3. Send in your bid with enough time for the estimator to call you with any questions he/she might have.

4. Call the estimator to check if he/she received your bid and answer any questions.

5. Wish them luck.

This will give you something to refer back to as past communication.  In all likelihood, you sent your bid to all the general contractors that submitted proposals for the project, and this communication will increase your chance of getting the project.

At this point, there are a couple pieces of information that you need: first, the general contractors with the three lowest bids, and second, how your firm’s bid compares to the others.

Once a project bids, it can be some time before a notification goes out stating to whom the owner intends to award the project.  Since most projects go through some type of evaluation process, allow anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the process to play out.

The other factor in how your firm’s bid compares to others is a tricky question of what is ethical and what is not.  Trying to get a tabulated bid tab showing the dollar amount of each of your competitions’ bids before the project has been awarded to a subcontractor could be seen by some as unethical, as it gives the firm an unfair advantage to negotiate with the awarded general contractor.

The best approach is to develop a relationship with the general contractor so that your firm can get a seat at the negotiation table regardless of what your bid was.  Spend time reviewing your firm’s bid now that the project has bid; go back and see if there are ways to cut costs, also known as sharpening your pencil.

Few negotiations end up with both parties getting everything they are asking for, so be prepared to give up something and know what you are willing to give up before you sit down.  Most importantly, you want to convince the general contractor that your firm is easy and a joy to work with.

Ed Krum, Senior Estimator for Triune, is a highly accomplished, multi-talented project  manager, with over 25 years of commercial construction experience.  He is a skillful and highly regarded in value engineered, conceptual, competitive, negotiated and  design/build estimates.

The Punch List is Triune’s proprietary blog for discussing issues and providing insights specific to the commercial construction industry. Copyright 2014 TMV, LLC (Triune).  Any and all rights reserved.

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