Too many requests for bids coming in the door and not enough staff or time to take them all — it’s a nice problem to have, but what do you do?
Turning business away is not a good option, and hiring more full-time employees just means more overhead and no guarantee the workload will stay the same.
The answer is simple. Outsource additional estimating staff to help support your estimating manager. There are plenty of construction outsourcing firms and freelance estimators ready to assist with your bid projects.
Outsourced estimating staff will allow you to bid more in less time, maintain or reduce overhead costs and increase your bid-win ratio. The more bids you complete, the better your chances of winning more business.
So how do you get started? Here are four things you should do when hiring outsourced estimators to ensure the best results:
1. Prepare a Detailed Project Brief for Each Project
To get the most from your outsourced workers, it’s critical that they understand what is expected of them. Make your objectives clear and quantifiable. Prioritize tasks and discuss targeted due dates.
2. Interview Every Candidate as if You Were Going to Hire Them Full-time
Don’t be shy about asking for references and work history. Gather information about his or her professional background. Ask for samples of recent projects he or she has worked on. If you’re working with an outsourcing firm, this information should be readily available. If you’re talking to a freelance estimator, you’ll need to pay close attention to references and samples. Ask previous clients if the freelancer stayed on budget, met deadlines and delivered quality work.
3. Establish a Communication Channel
Decide how you will stay in touch with your outsourced staff. Choose a primary point of contact within your team — probably your estimating manager. Start the project with regularly scheduled calls and communicate frequently through email. It’s essential to stay in close contact with outsourced staff to ensure the job runs smoothly.
4. Think Twice Before Hiring the Cheapest Estimator
Your first venture into outsourcing might seem expensive, but remember this is a one-time cost … not recurring overhead. Investing in experienced help and quality work will lead to more successful bids and more revenue in your pocket. That’s not to say you can’t find quality for a reasonable fee, but be prepared to pay more for seasoned staff.
Outsourcing can quickly fill the voids that often come along unexpectedly in the construction business, and your estimating manager will be able to delegate tasks and complete more bids in less time — a win-win for your business.
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