Do any of you contractors ever get feedback on the bids you don't win? I am not sure if it is my bid, the economy, the number of guys doing side-work or what, but we are asked to submit bids and we are not getting any of them. We have a markup on material of 15% across the board, but no additional amount for overhead or profit and we still are not getting any jobs. I was wondering if it is normal for the contractor to go back to the person requesting the bid and ask who was awarded the bid and for what amount in order that I might determine if my pricing is that far off or what might be the problem. I have talked with another electrical contractor that I have known for many years and he says that my prices are reasonable and that the only work he is getting is from old established accounts. He said he isnt getting any "new work" either. Any way to find out what the winning bid was other than asking the customer? And if you go back and ask the customer, do you begin to sound needy to them? Confused in N. Texas.
How are you receiving the "invitation-to-bid" initially? Most contractors who invite bids will share information after awards are made. I find that it's easiest though to ask a GC who wasn't awarded the job about the electrical numbers they received. They are under no obligation to keep them secret. I have even asked to see copies just so I could study how they were formatted, in case I wasn't making things clear enough. Give it a try.
I've been submitting bids to a general contractor who primarily does prevailing wage jobs. I called to get some feedback on where I was at with the numbers on the first job. His response was "Oh, I think I threw all that stuff away. we didn't get it." The next job he didn't even bother to get back to me. I spent hours and hours on the bids and it sure feels like I'm throwing them in a black hole. Lately I've been "too busy" to bid his jobs. I like to work for team player contractors anyway so no loss!
At times, I get the impression that all we are doing is providing numbers for Architecture Firms & Would-Be Clients, to compile a Project Budget!!!
This seems very apparent with the "Need Your Numbers By Friday Morning" situations, which were called in & E-mailed at 2:30 PM on Wednesday!
After tons of , a few , and very little , submit a Proposal on Friday.
Follow-up after "enough" time passes ... only to get the same old Story! --- In lieu of the "Uhh, We Are Still Waiting For [insert appropriate lie here]" Stories, becoming semi-intimate with a Contact Person's Voicemail greeting is 10 times more annoying! (Read: since Proposal was submitted, contact person is never around their Office; left so many messages I can recite the Voicemail Greeting word for Word...)
I called to get some feedback on where I was at with the numbers on the first job. His response was "Oh, I think I threw all that stuff away. we didn't get it."
That is unbelievable! What a way to do business.
Good to hear that you are "Too Busy" for that GC's bids! I would have sent in a bid that was so outragously high, it would rival the complete Project's cost! Tack on an Insane list of Exclusions: - i.e.:
Supplying of and Installation of Lighting Fixtures Excluded,
All Conduits, Conductors, Outlet Boxes, Panelboards, Switchboards and Service Equipment to be Supplied and Installed by others,
General Contractor responsible for all Permit Fees, Plan Check Fees, Business Licenses, Inspection Requests, Work Comp, Bonds, Electrical Materials costs, etc...,
All Materials and Labor (including Non-Productive Labor Units) are Not Included within this Proposal, and shall be the sole responsibility of the General Contractor. These costs shall be paid, in full, prior to this Contractor taking possession of the Project. If Project's Scope of Work exceeds the allocated funds pre-paid, the GC shall pay 150% of the increased costs, within 72 hours of costs increase notifications, or all work shall cease until funds have been remitted.
Electrical Contractor is to communicate to General Contractor via Mental Telepathy; General Contractor is to understand all and interpret completely - with 100% accuracy, without the submission of RFIs.
All RFIs submitted to the GC by the EC, shall be replied to within 24 Hours - NO EXCLUSIONS!
And maybe, some wacky stuff...
OK, rant mode is over...
Scott " 35 " Thompson Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
It was bad enough when 'experts' decided that getting multiple bids for everything was a good idea. Now we see 'act two.'
Act two, as I call it, was when business schools began teaching a few new 'ideas.' We're now in the days where they eager students have risen to where they are able to practice these novel thoughts.
The foundation is laid on the principle that 'if I'm bigger than you, then you need me more than I need you.' Count on them to work this at every opportunity.
The next plank in this platform is "bureaucracy is good." The guy who develops a plan, and does all the legwork (like getting bids) has zero involvement after that point. Instead, executing the plan gets handed off to another division, even an outside contractor. Spending gets funnelled through a remote purchasing agency. It's almost as if the system is designed to assure that no one involved at the start has any actual involvement in the project.
Purchasing will then take the next step - by putting everything out to bid again. They'll pull every trick .... give the lights to the guy whose lighting part had the cheapest labor, while specifying the lower fixture pricing of the other guy who had higher labor.
The final ploy is payment .... preferably on the courthouse steps, and not a moment sooner - and without penalties.
I can't stress one point enough: this is NOT accidental. These folks were taught to do things this way.
Reno: You did a great service by summing up all the tricks & excuses. And Scott elaborated on great items in his 'rant'.
When I closed shop, I presented what I thought was a 'in the bag' job to the EC who bought my equipment, tools, etc. Job was budgeted around $380K with some 'wiggle' if required. Modifications & changes over about 6 months resulted in =$10 to 14K. They continued on with the 'preferred' EC for another 6 months with more changes, etc. End result was $385K number. All said & done, it went to someone else with a number that was $1500 LESS. Not even a phone call from the client saying...."the other guy is $XXX cheaper, can you do something"???? That was a 14 month ordeal with many hours by both of us with the client, POCO, etc.; so much for courtesy!!
It's the old old-boy network which is protecting the Prevailing Wage ranks.
There is not enough work to go around. Even the IBEW is crying in their beer.
Unlike FDR, Obama vectored stimulus funding towards women, minorities -- stuff like medicine, state pension plans, school budget shortfalls, etc.
Hence, the funds available to build infrastructure have NOT boomed.
Yet Fortune 500 projects are ( mostly ) not moving forward. A perfect example being the Boeing plant - blocked by the Administration.
This collapse in construction has caused PW bids to be hammered. Near me the bid for an overpass revamp was so LOW that an additional overpass and road expansion running for miles fit inside the original estimate!
The savings to the taxpayer came straight out of the construction industry.
The above referenced GC's are demoralized since they're only getting the same schtick from their prospects, too.
And in further good news, the global economy is still headed for another major downturn.
Japan is contracting severely -- due to the tsunami. Try 5.5% year over year in the worlds 3rd largest economy.
China is a bubble. Her vast assets are offset by totally blown investments.
The Euro is cracking up. A European contraction is bad news -- since they are great customers.
And back home, this Administration is shutting down the energy industry; of which we are a part.
Deliberately ramping up electric bills is poison to electricians. Our customers will start by turning off the lights. Ultimately, our product will be designed out of future construction. That's what going green must mean.
Slightly off topic:
I wish that what PV arrays that do get installed had the best engineering.
Putting them atop homes is impractical in many ways.
It'd be cheaper to just rack'em up in New Mexico, West Texas or Arizona.
If the Administration wants to stimulate green jobs -- such a scheme is where they should've started.
I;ve been everything from a Formen, Project Mamanger, Estimator, ect. The main problem with the bidding nowadays is Bid shopping from the General contractors when the Jobs not put out as a Prime. Other then that its either the bidder missed something, Bid it at cost to keep his guys working, or is plannning to make it up on extras.(bad prints). As far as Prevailing Wage . Its all the same for all contractors unless its a family business & theres several owners that well be working on the project. Lets keep politics out of this Forum & others here please!! This is not the place.
There are 3611 simple rules all estimators must remember, but only the first three matter: Rule #1. Architects, engineers and POCO rep's never make mistakes. Rule #2. When they make a mistake, see Rule #1. Rule #3. When applying Rule #1 it is best to remember that all mistakes are YOUR fault. The sooner you accept this the sooner you can proceed to lose real money.