So, it’s a new year and you have several projects you need to get bids on. That means lots of site visits, scope revisions, and tracking down contractors. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, however, here are some hacks that can help:
*Have a clear and concise scope of work for each job. It won’t be perfect or exact to the final product, but let’s get each project started on solid footing. A little upfront thought, analysis, and project detailing will go a long way to a successful bid.
*Invite twice as many contractors to bid as you need. If you require the standard 3 bids, I suggest getting 5-6 contractors. Invariably, some of the vendors will back out midstream, or simply stop communicating because they got too busy. You don’t want to be running around last-minute trying to get bids.
* Lastly, keep on top of your bidding program. Maintain regular contact with your bidders. They more than likely have several projects they are pricing out and yours may not be top of mind for them. Refresh their memory of the due today and project requirements.
There you have it. Three simple ideas to keep your bidding projects more successful.
Today, it seems like everywhere you turn, there’s a new latest and greatest service that connects homeowners with contractors. Their usefulness is up for debate. Regardless, what I don’t find is a straightforward bidding solution to find commercial grade contractors. Connex Property can fill that void, however, to avoid shamelessly plugging our service, I thought I’d offer up another go-to option.
I find trade organization websites to be the best. They will often have an on-line directory of contractors who support their organization, as well as provide helpful information about their industry. For example, if you’re looking for a commercial painter to bid in the Baltimore region, simply google ‘Maryland Painting Association”. Chances are you’ll find a group that supports this trade and maintains a highly professional membership. Below are just are a few organizations I use when searching out high quality contractors. Hope this helps!
One issue that arises from time to time when bidding out projects, is the delay in securing the actual bids themselves. The multi-faceted components of the bid process can be quite lengthy to begin with from; Developing a scope of work for underlying property issue, Inviting contractors to bid/scheduling site visits, Retrieving proposals. And within any of these functions,’ delays will more than likely happen.
One recommendation we suggest is to invite two more contractors than you need bids for. Let’s face it good vendors can be busy and not always the best at time management. We typically find that 1-2 contractors will back out of the bidding process for one reason or another. So, if you need to get the standard 3 bids for your fiduciary responsibilities, you’re left having to invite more vendors mid-stream. The consequences here is that you now must get the new bidders up to speed and they have less time to furnish a comprehensive bid. However, if you already have five bidders involved, and one or two drop out, you’re still on target to meet your deadline.
Unplanned building repair projects can be tricky, especially if it’s sizable enough where a competitive bid is required. An important aspect of this type of job is getting a high-quality scope. However, not everyone has the technical knowledge or resources to develop one, so you’re often left with substantial differences in contractor pricing & project understanding. Below is a method I use when I’m not versed in a particular project or trade.
Spend your own time developing a practical scope and put it to paper. This can serve as your “Master Scope” where all your research & ideas about how to best complete the job will go.
Invite your bidding contractors to a site visit to help develop the project’s requirements. Typically contractors don’t mind being apart of the design process, truth be told, they like to asset their expertise.
Following the site visit(s), refine you “Master Scope.” Create a concise bidding document that includes the your input as well as the contractor’s recommendations. Use only the ideas that make the most sense from a project completion and financial perspective.
Lastly, send out the “Master Scope” for final review to the vendors who had assisted in its’ design. At this phase, you just want ensure everything is covered and no details are missing.
You can now send your finished scope out to bid to your other contractors
Here at Connex Property we run competitive bids programs for Commercial Owners and Property Managers. We often hear from contractors who simply don’t like to bid on work, saying they never win as only the lowest bid wins. After running hundreds of bids, myself, here are a few findings that I would like to share.
The lowest does win sometimes, but not all the time. Most reputable ownership companies are not interested in how low will you go. They want to see a comprehensive proposal with details of the work being performed
Owners like to know that the contractors are interested and engaged in the project. It never hurts to call the project owner from time to time to start developing a relationship.
Trust your gut. There are a lot of great bidding opportunities out there, but as a contractor, you need to be able to weed out those that are not a good match. Answer yourself these questions; Have you performed this work before and can you be competitively priced? Do you know how many bidders there are? Do they have a budget and a project start date? If you can answer these questions, you will know whether or not its a good opportunity.
A COUPLE of years ago, a child waded from the baby to the adult pool in a condominium.
In another high-rise development, the lift doors shut separating mother and child. Both looked for each other on the different floors frantically.
As more people, whether by choice or otherwise, end up living in a strata development, of which most are multi-storey, how life goes on in such developments can be improved by good maintenance, design and a bit of thought on the part of the managers. Read More
PAWTUCKET, R.I., May 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Nexus Property Management, a professional property management company, has formally launched franchising opportunities for locations across the United States. Even within a few weeks of launching, new locations were already underway, with many territories still available. The company provides property management for all types of property, from single-family homes to large apartment buildings and communities. Nexus Property Management also advises and represents investors looking to purchase real estate. Read More
After facilitating dozens of competitive bids last year, I thought I’d unpack a few lessons I learned and share with you. Whether you are responsible for large scale renovations or small property repairs, you’ll probably need to acquire a few quotes from your cadre of contractors. If you’d like that process to continue to run smoothly, here are a few things to consider.
Try to Be A little More Specific
We realize that not every project will have engineered drawings and high level details, particularly smaller valued jobs. However, I’d suggest to put together a working scope in writing that you can share with the bidders. You may have noticed how wildly different some bids can be, particularly with pricing. Often, the disparity is due to a project interpretation issue among contractors, usually related to undefined project requirements. A nicely, thought-out scope will solve this.
Keeping Pricing Confidential
Though this is not a typical practice, we have seen this happen from time to time. One may be only looking for the contractors to sharpen their pencils, or to validate their current preferred contractor’s pricing. However, from a bidders’ perspective, it could be construed as an attempt to whittle down what they believe is already a fair price. This may lead the contractor to consider this method a time-consuming hassle and may shy away from any future bidding.
Review Bids With Contractors
A final suggestion we have is to allow the contractors to review their bids with you. It does not take much time and can benefit both parties. A quick story, we were working on a large dry-wall bid for an apartment complex, where one of our contractor’s price was 25% higher than the other proposals. After reviewing the bid with the stakeholders, it was discovered there was a mistake within the scope. My contractor was right in this case. Disaster avoided!
Suggestions to Win More Commercial Work in 2017
Here at Connex Property we are always looking for new commercial projects to invite contractors on which to bid. Over the years we have utilized many strategies to engage building owners and property managers from email campaigns, cold calling, and social media. Understanding that a contractor’s time is limited and resources scarce, I thought I’d share some relatively simple suggestions to find more work. This is not rocket science but a sales refresher never hurts.
Make 10 cold calls per week to brand new prospects
One strategy that I have always favored is to step outside your comfort zone and cold call (phone) brand new ownership and management firms every week. My suggestion is to research at least 10 new contacts and pepper those leads into your weekly sales strategy. Sure, it’s easy to call your current customer base, but making inroads with new organizations will unlock an enormous amount of potential. To find these new prospects’s contact information quicker, consider purchasing a list from companies such as InfoUSA or data.com. They’re relatively cheap and the information is of good quality.
These first prospecting calls are not sales calls-
When calling these brand new owners or property managers, my main objective is to keep the conversation brief and to only see if there’s any potential interest. If you have uncovered a good prospect, make the suggestion to schedule a follow up call where you can discuss in more depth your service offerings. After this initial call, send the contact a calendar invite of your meeting time, as well as any marketing collateral. Again, keep these introductory calls rather quick and make the building representative feel as comfortable as possible.
This Sustained Sales Activity Will Lead to More Opportunities
After maintaining a program of contacting 10 brand new leads weekly, you will start developing new relationships with more potential buyers and fill your pipeline. Of course, maintaining contact with your current customers is very important as well. Just be sure to set a goal of calling new prospects every week as you want to cast as wide of a net as possible. Think of it this way; say you call 10 brand new people per week, that’s 520 contacts in one year. And let’s take this a step further and assume you uncover opportunities from only 10% of these calls? Well that’s 50 potential jobs- one per week! Add in your current client work throughout the year, and you see where I’m going with this…
Good Luck in 2017!
One of Baltimore’s most iconic retail and office properties is once again for sale. General Growth Properties has listed The Gallery shopping mall and 30-story office tower with Cushman & Wakefield, the Baltimore Business Journal reports. A General Growth spokesman told the BBJ that it won’t have any comment on the listing until August. Please see link for more information.