First impressions are everything. Clients often come to conclusions based on the quirkiest clues. Was the estimator’s vehicle clean? Was his or her attire appropriate — i.e., not torn jeans, but also not a suit and tie, which is suggestive of a distanced relationship between paperwork and construction site. We strongly suggest the same is true of bid sheets.
Many of us start in this business mimicking a style familiar to our grandfathers or their predecessors. Show up with a tape measure, carpenter’s pencil and random sheets of graph paper or old legal pads. Once finished with the estimate, results were scribbled in a rough column, a total placed on the bottom and your name and telephone number hastily written across the top. It was an honest way to begin any business prior to the widespread use of smartphones, Internet access and printers that spit out finished products worthy of a professional publisher.
Sometimes all this technology seems to dictate everything is in color and there is a graphic artist standing by for touchup work. What we at Estimator Locator are recommending is nothing that complicated. Instead, we like to note new software is changing the way an estimator and bidder does business. Instead of seat-of-the-pants, figure-it-out for yourself work, there are software applications that assist in calculating material costs, labor pricing and even hours required for work requiring skilled trade people.
The result is a bid proposal that emphasizes your professional approach to meeting client requirements. This all starts with the bid template. Page one should be all the appropriate contact data for both client and contractor. Make sure there are email addresses and cell phone numbers — simple enough to forget, but critical for ensuring a prompt response from either side of a potential deal.
Immediately following contact data should be scope of work. A bidding spreadsheet will only be as good as the descriptor in the scope-of-work section. We suggest as much specificity as possible. An organized estimator should be able to take that scope of work and place each category on a bidding spreadsheet used to generate a bid proposal.
Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. Depending on one’s client, they may or may not want to see bidding spreadsheets. All that detail can be overwhelming, but we recommend keeping a copy on-hand — a requirement the estimator should understand up front. Last-minute requests for the spreadsheet can be fraught with disaster.
Include in this tricky section a statement of “work not included.” This prevents the client from adding to a job and thereby cutting into profits.
Time for the closing section of every bid form, a statement of when the work will be accomplished and at what cost. We call this the company proposal line. This is immediately followed by a place where the client signs and dates above a restatement of the company proposal. Want to learn more? Subscribe to our email newsletter!