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  • Writer's pictureTristan Wilson

Some practical construction bidding advice

1. Bidding is not estimating. First, get the cost right (estimating). Then, work on the pricing (bidding).

2. You are what you do. Actions, not what you say, define who you are. If you say we bid true cost and add 5% more cost than what’s needed in every item, people believe the latter.

3. Every reasonable bid is an opportunity to send a message to your team, your company, your competitors, your owners, and your market. The inverse applies: A no-bid on a job that should have been bid is a missed opportunity.

4. Most contractors fail to dissect the competition’s perspective. Don’t be like most.

5. Contractors who win every competitively bid job will go broke. Contractors who lose every job never get started. Sometimes but not every time, a contractor needs the job. Everyone must eat.

6. Cut through the noise and understand the job risk as quickly as possible.

7. In the long run, maturity is more important than accuracy. “Emotional bids” or EB’s provide short term relief and long term pain.

8. If you are reading this, you likely underestimate your ability to move the market - up or down.

9. Picking margin is hard. A sense of wonder and appetite to understand all the available information at your disposal makes it easier.

10. People, aided by technology, drive the work of estimating, not machines.

11. A level head is your best asset.

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