The heart of day to day bidding is materials pricing.
EPIC is a pricing service that is pretty popular. Strictly speaking, it's not a bid creating machine, it's a well maintained database.
The BIGGEST element in a correct bid is your labor. This turns on how slick you are in saving time, and your rate of compensation.
Generally speaking, ECs underprice their bids. Then they're out of business -- to be replaced by fresh victims -- who repeat the cycle.
At this time, it's a pretty good bet that ECs are under bidding, under charging for PV arrays. Many of the expenses are going to pop-up in the out months, the out years. The EC will still be on the hook -- liabilities wise -- while the revenue from new work will have collapsed.
This is what's happended in Spain, Germany,... and Europe.
The players scaled up in a segment that was so uneconomic that it destroyed the national budget.
Would you believe that Spain was accepting solar juice at $ 0.58 per kW-Hr? And in scale? Wholesale?
Once these rates were passed on through to the rate payers, the economy folded up. While the big firms could, and did, get special exemptions; all of the small firms had to pay full boat. Their power bills destroyed their businesses.
Naturally enough, all of the Spanish ECs that had been installing these arrays saw their action evaporate -- overnight, too.
Which is another way of saying, stay within a niche that is not utterly dependent on politics or this or that tax break. You usually end up having the rug pulled out from underneath you. Changes, contractions, are impossible to plan for. Typically your entire equity is at risk -- when your last batch of clients can't pay their tabs.
So, you should put some sugar in your bids for errors, uncollectables, price shifts, etc. You can't bid truly tightly and survive.
A LOT of the cheesy work that we see posted here at ECN was the direct result of a low bid. This drives small businessmen/ tradesmen to cut corners -- even stupidly -- because the pressure is on.
Almost never totted up: the time required to mobilize and de-mobilize at a job. It's the kind of labor consumption that fades in the memory.
Towards correcting that, buy a cheap stop watch or two. Then punch them active when you begin -- and clock them when you're done. The figures will be eye-opening.
Sorry, no bidding program can spit such figures out.