“It's impossible to compete in this tight construction market.”
“There is too much competition.”
“I can't find any profitable jobs to bid.”
“The only way I get jobs is when I leave too much money on the table.”
“I get tired of cutting the bid to beat the competition.”
“How can the company ever make enough money to survive?”
Do any of these statements sound familiar?
I have been hearing the same complaints about the construction industry since 1977 when I started my general contracting company. It seems as if nothing changes as contractors continue doing business the same way year after year. But a select few successful contractors and subcontractors seem to get more than their fair share of the profitable projects.
Bid like you fish
You need a license before fishing. The bid is like a license to go fishing, and is an opportunity to negotiate and land a great contract. When fishing, the goal is to catch the big one. When looking for upcoming projects to bid, seek opportunities that provide the best chance to make the most money. When finally catching a fish, you reel it in, weigh it, and decide if you want to keep it. After submitting a bid and getting the call to cut your figure or match a better price to get the job, it is your choice to accept or reject that offer.
What do you do when fishing and they aren't biting? Try different techniques, change the bait, or move to another fishing hole are the options.
This approach is not what contractors typically do when they don't land enough contracts. Most contractors just keep bidding to the same customers while using the same bait and proposal strategies as in the past.
Contractors often think that bidding enough jobs to the same companies or entities, the same way, eventually works. However, this effort won't get the positive results desired. You must change the estimating and bidding strategies to get the big ones to bite more often. Use the right tackle, different techniques, and tastier bait to get the fish to think your offer is better than the competition, or look for better fishing holes.