Bidding Insights: Finding the Right Work

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Part I: Finding the Right Work Introduction

CDCNews (www.cdcnews.com) has teamed with Matt Stevens of the Stevens Construction Institute (www.stevensci.com) to bring CDCNews’ readers a series of executive briefs titled Bidding Insights.

These executive briefs are not meant to be a step-by-step guide to bidding; nor are they designed to be an instructional guide as to how to put together a bid. Our aim is to assist firms in winning more bids by provoking thought in the minds of our readers and initiating an ensuing discussion across our readers’ companies that will lead to the self-analysis and market analysis necessary to grow their businesses.

Winning more bids is not simply a function of bidding more. Companies that take the “throw enough on the wall until it sticks” approach rarely, if ever, succeed. Companies that know the area in which they operate best, the type of work they best perform, and the owner’s with whom they work the best will experience improved margins, a higher winning percentage, and larger growth rates. Winning more bids requires an investment in time and resources.

Before investing the time and resource; however, the company needs to evaluate their current bidding procedures and make an honest assessment of what they’re doing right and what needs to be changed in order to remain competitive. As the famed Chinese general and strategist Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

It is our hope that this series will provide the rationale for our subscribers to begin the process of understanding themselves and their competitors, unleash their inner Sun Tzu, and win 100 battles of their own.

Work Acquisition – Winning a Project

The process of construction contracting begins with work acquisition. In order to build a job, a contractor must first win the job. Winning more bids begins long before the ultimate submission of a bid or proposal. In order to win more bids, contractors must understand that construction contracting requires dedicated study, field experience, and business knowledge.

Unique to the construction industry, construction contractors must win three times in order to win a project:

1. Pass state licensing requirements and a surety examination.

2. Qualify with the client – that is, the owner or general contractor.

3. Offer the client specific value that matches the client’s specific needs. This may include price, service, and/or competitive price.

Winning on a consistent basis requires knowledge – knowledge of local legal prequalification processes; knowledge of the prospective client; and knowledge of the prospective client’s expectations.

CDCNews as a Resource

The knowledge required to win more work, either through bidding or negotiating, comes from many different sources. CDCNews is one such source.

Aside from providing project leads, CDCNews can assist its subscribers in acquiring the information they need to win more bids.

Subscribers to CDCNews’ publications have a valuable resource in the form of CDCNews’ network of regional editorial offices. Each region’s editorial staff is familiar with state-level certification requirements and can provide subscribers with the contacts at various state agencies who handle the certification process.

Similarly, in terms of commercial retail projects, if a subscriber is looking to “get their foot in the door” of a national chain retailer, CDCNews’ national reporting team either has the qualification process/requirements available for review, or they can provide the name and contact information for the person or department within the retailer that handles contractor qualifications.

Subscribers can also utilize the contact search function in Lead Manager (CDCNews’ online product) in order to view the projects currently posted for a particular owner, developer, architect, engineer, or GC. If a subscriber needs additional historical project information beyond what Lead Manager’s 90-day window provides, CDCNews’ new Commercial Construction Market Intelligence allow subscribers to search CDCNews’ bidding archives by companies or geographies all the way back to 2009.

CDCNews is certainly not the only source that a company should utilize for market research; however, it is a good start for subscribers. Our local editors are available to discuss additional ideas and resources.

Conclusion

As Sun Tzu observed centuries ago, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” This executive brief is the first in a 10- part series designed by CDCNews, in cooperation with the Stevens Construction Institute, to assist your firm in adopting a data driven approach to winning more bids.

Join us next week for Part II which will focus on Selecting the Right Work.

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