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5 Tips for Business Leaders When Requesting Construction Bids

5 Tips for Business Leaders When Requesting Construction Bids Commercial Construction Blogs

For many businesses, working with general contractors is a daily part of their routine. However, if you are new to requesting bids from general contractors, then this blog post will help you learn what do when requesting bids from contractors. Requesting construction bids is an avoidable process. Construction, after all is a necessity to every business to maintain your property, make simple repairs, or make big changes such a remodeling.

Many business leaders often struggle with the challenges of how to get an accurate, fair, and competitive bid from contractors. With so many factors to consider it can be quiet overwhelming to new and unexperienced leaders in requesting bids. They could potentially cost their business money or even lose their job in the process if they make the poor decision. However, by not overthinking it and applying yourself, you can handle the construction bidding process.

The bidding process will become more easier, faster, and simpler to you, with experience. However, by following our useful tips in requesting construction bids from contractors, you can get a fair, accurate, and competitive bid for your project. Below is a list of tips we recommend you take when requesting bids from contractors:

  1. Be specific with the contractors
  2. Weed out contractors
  3. Get multiple bids and compare
  4. Beware the lowest bid
  5. Weigh your options

Be Specific with the Contractors

One of the biggest mistakes business leaders make when requesting bids is that they are not specific with what they want. However, this is a key factor in getting an accurate and fair bid. Before meeting with the contractors, sit down with your team and work out the details of the project, and make sure you are all the same page. You should consider the type of material that should be used during the project such as the quality and price. In addition, you should identify how you would like your project to be handled by contractor.

When you meet with contractors walk them through the project and design (if applicable). Tell them want you envision for the project as well as your expectations. The broader and vaguer you are with your project details; the more things are open for interpretation. Just like if you were to ask someone a broad question, you will most likely get a broad answer. Versus, asking a specific question, you would most likely get a specific answer. When your less detailed in your bid documents or job walks, all parties involved with more than likely have a different interpretation of the project specifications. As a result, you will get bids that do not represent your intended expectations.

When you are evaluating bids, do not be caught up on just the best price or the construction company’s experience. It is important to account for their interpretations of the project. To get a competitive bid that you can compare against other contractors, you must make sure everyone is on the same page. If not, you will be getting multiple bids for different projects. This can affect the price, materials used, scope of work, timeline, etc.

Misinterpretation can make the construction process difficult and challenging for all parties. Many business leaders will see that construction project is progressing differently than they imagined. You will either must accept this new result or submit change orders that will be more costly and time consuming. If there is misinterpretation on a contractor’s estimate, reach out to clear the confusion. By clearing up misinterpretation on contractor estimates, you can avoid a headache later down the road and ensure a successful project.

It is important to collaborate with your team on the details of the construction project. Everyone should be on the same page to effectively communicate these specifications and expectations of the project to prospected contractors. As a result, you will limit the odds of misinterpretation. Carefully evaluate and review bids with your team to see if it matches your expectations so you can avoid delays, money, headaches and more.

Weed out Contractors

Throughout the estimating process, contractors will give red flags on whether they are interested and engaged on your project or not. It is important for you to recognize these red flags, to prevent flakey contractor.

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Engaged and interested contractors seek clarification and more information from about your project. They are not afraid of asking questions, they may even provide additional insights to your project to make things easier, safer, or simpler. They look to have a better understanding of the scope of work and your expectations on the project. In addition, they are working to put together a reliable proposal that will cover all over your construction project needs. These contractors are offering a positive construction experience for their clients. They are more reliable and accurate with their bids. It will also foreshadow your experience with them during the construction process.

If you are not confident in a contractor then let them go, do not collect a bid from them. These contractors are not engaged or interested in your project. They are not asking any questions about your project nor are they providing insights or useful information for your project. There proposals are simply vague and undetailed. To them you are just another customer and do not have their entire focus. Another red flag is that their proposal does not match your expectations. For instance, they may implement cheaper building materials into the project.

Ultimately, you would like to use your best judgement in weeding out contractors. Recognize the good contractors from the bad ones. See who is willing to work with you and see who is simply trying to get a job with minimal effort.

Evaluate Multiple Bids and Compare

Review and compare the bids of at least three contractors. Make sure read all submitted bids and that they are meeting your specifications. Just because you told contractors the specifications and how you want a project done, does not always mean they will listen. For instance, they may not include certain specifications of the project. Another reason to review the specifications is for additional misinterpretations on the project. You should ask the contractor to resubmit the bid with the changes. However, if misinterpretation or requested changes are not met on the bid, then its time to drop the contractor.

Once everything is clear and you have the prospected contractors bids you want submitted. Look over the bids and find out which bids work best for you. Things you should consider are the contractor, relevant experience, key qualities characteristics, timeline of the project, etc.

Ultimately, by the end of this process you will have selected a reliable contractor that you are confident with and you know you got an accurate, fair, and competitive bid.

Beware of the Lowest Bid Contractor

You should always be skeptical of bids, especially the lowest bidding contractors. Often, the lowest bidding contractor can be a red flag to the bidding process, or an actual genuine priced fair bid. Especially if there is a huge variance among bid prices. Nevertheless, you should investigate this matter.

The lowest bidding contractor can typically be a red flag. Their bid usually mentions lower quality building materials and equipment being used. Another possibility is that they used low skilled labor to perform the jobs. To resolve this issue, look up their company’s reviews on review sites. See what other customers say about this contractor, to see if he is genuinely a reliable and quality contractor for a low price. Unfortunately, lowest bidders are often slow to complete a project or more inclined to have delays in their project. However, lowest bidders are not always a bad thing.

The lowest bidder could be the only general contractor providing you with a genuine fair price. Other contractors could just be marking their profits up to high. This is especially relevant in smaller projects. Contractors are more likely to markup smaller projects, so it can be worth their effort and time. In addition, they believe that you are not looking or considering additional contractors for the prospected job. It is important to compare the lowest bidder to the other contractor bids and see why they differ. You could also contact the lowest bidding contractor and ask why their price is so low. They should share the details with you in detail if they are genuine.

Ultimately, you want to be skeptical for all bidders, especially the lowest bidder. Lowest bidders could either be unreliable and cheap. The alternative is that they are the only contractor offering you a genuine and fair bid. It is important to investigate this situation and use your best judgement on selecting a contractor.

Weigh Your Options

So, you have bids, and you are not happy with the amount the project is going to cost. This is usually known as a price shock that many new customers experience in the construction industry. However, it is always important to weigh your options to make your construction project more affordable and more likely to happen. Often, many business leaders seek the benefit of phased construction or design build project delivery.

Convenient construction contractors often offer clients solution to make projects more affordable with phased construction. Phased construction eliminates the risk of large investments and separates the construction project into multiple stages. These stages can be a work category, section, or partially completed. Nevertheless, it eliminates or minimize hiccups in the construction process by its flexibility. Flexibility with phased construction helps minimize errors of interpretation and the number of change orders. Many business leaders value the flexibility and affordability of phased construction.

Design build contractors offer a smoother and simplified construction process for business leaders. In this approach contractors or construction company acts as the sole entity of responsibility for the construction project. In addition, you would only have one contract. The contractor as the designer and the builder. With this uniformity the construction company can have more clear and efficient communication on the project specifications. In addition, it can limit the number of misinterpretations on the project.

Ultimately, if you hesitate on going forward with the construction bids you have received due to the high price, it is important to weigh your options. Many businesses see the merit of doing construction in phases which will lower the burden of cashflow and stress of the construction project. The popular alternative approach is design build where the contractor is designs and builds the project under one contractor, offering customers a faster and cheaper project.

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Ultimately, if you hesitate on going forward with the construction bids you have received due to the high price, it is important to weigh your options. Many businesses see the merit of doing construction in phases which will lower the burden of cashflow and stress of the construction project. The popular alternative approach is design build where the contractor is designs and builds the project under one contractor, offering customers a faster and cheaper project.

Summary of Tips For the Bidding Process

Do not be one of the business leaders that make the mistake of hiring a contractor to do a different project. Be sure to be specific with contractors on the details and expectations of the project. Weed out any construction contractors not engaged or up to your standards. In addition, you would want to seek out multiple bids from contractors and compare those bids. However, you must beware of the lowest bidder. Lowest bidders can often be costly then the more expensive contractors or they could be genuinely giving you a fair and competitive price. It is important to be skeptical and investigate all bidders and to weigh your options once bids are submitted. Many businesses seek the convenience and benefits of phased construction and design build. Weigh your options and find out what works best for you and your construction needs.

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JMF Commercial Construction is an experienced licensed contractor serving commercial and light industrial businesses, and HOA Property Management. We provide convenient and quality services to the Los Angeles & Orange County businesses.

To start your next commercial construction project today! Contact JMF Commercial Construction for an Estimate.

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