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  • Est. 1984
  • DUNS # 195168737

Bidding a Residential Project: The Key Steps

By: Contractors State License Schools
December 2017

When it comes to landing residential projects, the magic always resides in the bid itself.  Despite modern homeowners becoming more selective when it comes to construction, you can source good work if you know how to properly calculate your time, materials/labor costs, and subcontractors if needed.  If you’re able to interact with people, listen to their concerns, and propose solutions that will make their lives easier, you have a leg up on your competition.  Follow along with us today as we detail some tips and practices that will make your residential projects smooth and profitable.


It’s All in the Details

It is absolutely imperative that you perform a walk-through on the house long before you start anything else in the bid process.  You have to get familiar with the ins and outs of the existing construction; take note of things like build materials and methods, layouts, designs, problems, previous repairs etc.  This stage of the process often feels like a job interview.  The homeowner will have some questions to size you up, but you should also come with key questions prepared – it will make you look engaged and competent.

Unfortunately, a lot of construction professionals will treat one-off residential projects like small jobs.  They’ll use the same lazy approach time and time again, not paying attention to the specific needs and problems on behalf of the homeowner.  Turn the tables and realize the homeowner will have to live with their decision on a daily basis.  If you take the time to understand their pain points, speak to their desires, and deliver a bid that unites these aims with your professional expertise, you’ll be better off at the end of the day (even if you don’t win the bid).  A personalized, thorough job assessment will separate you from the rest of the field, putting you ahead of the curve when it comes to handling any unforeseen problems if your bid is selected.  Without the true nitty gritty details, chances are your assessment will miss the mark in terms of price and scope.


The Elephant in the Room

Cost will always be the linchpin of any residential project.  Homeowners have the ability to use online calculators to estimate what their project will cost, but the truth is construction jobs end up being more complex than originally planned.  It’s great to have a potential customer that’s mired in the budgeting process, but you have to use your professionalism and experience to remind them that construction is a pay now or pay later industry.  There will always be a cheaper bid, but homeowners pay more in the long run to account for the corners that were previously cut to keep the costs down.

If you accurately budget for labor, materials, and time costs, you can properly bid a project in way that keeps your business profitable and meets customer needs.  A low bid might raise some eyebrows on behalf of your clients, but it begins to eat into your profits if you have to involve new personnel or equipment on the job.  Have an unforeseen problem or mistake blow up on the job?  Chances are it will eat into your margin – consider this when bidding a project with a slim margin.


Face to Face

When it comes to submitting your bid – do it in person!  Take the time to sit down with the homeowner, explaining the whys and hows of your bid.  This gives you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, answer questions about costs, and share any details or angles the homeowner might have overlooked previously.  If you calmly and carefully explain why your bid is higher, an informed client will see the value in both your work and your attention to detail as a professional.

Do not mail or email your bid over to the client.  If the client has the ability to read through your bid without your input, chances are certain key details will fall by the wayside.  It will be too easy to judge and ranks bids by cost and the more time your client has to think you bid is expensive, your chances of being rejected increase.

Armed with the above information, you should have no problem putting together detailed bids that will win projects for you.  Details, details, details…remember that no two residential projects will ever be the same!  Learn more about the challenges and angles behind the bidding process today with CBC.

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