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How to Avoid Commercial Construction Bid Sheet Errors

Your construction business is unique, but the bid sheet mistakes you could make have a few things in common with errors people make in many different industries. Most potential mistakes in the bidding process and filling out bid sheets fall into three categories: 1) judgment and experience 2) timing and 3) planning, preparation, and execution. ProEst's capabilities can help in all of these categories.

Bidding on a project that's not right for your company

When a bid opportunity comes up, it's hard not to jump right on it. Before you do, it’s worth taking the time to ask yourself if the job is truly right for you and your company. You could invest a lot of time and effort into getting a job that isn’t the best fit for your size, capabilities, or in your area of expertise. It might not even be a type of work you’re interested in doing more of in the future. When you bid on projects that aren’t a good fit for your company, you run some serious risks, including underbidding in several different categories, from labor to materials and equipment.

Incomplete forms and documents

Even if you double and triple check, you might miss a page or a required attachment. The best way to avoid incomplete bid sheets is to get a separate set of eyes on them before you submit them. This advice is good for both paper submissions and electronic bid submissions. While many organizations, especially government agencies, are asking for e-bid submissions, some still request paper bid sheet documents. Either way, there's no room for error. If you didn't complete a form or failed to fill out a required form, you will lose the bid. You’ll also lose all the time you spent filling out the bid sheets that you did complete.

Inaccurate takeoffs

Doing manual takeoffs not only offers more of a chance for math errors on your bid sheet, a mistake can really add up when it's carried over throughout your bid. You run an even greater risk of errors if you're working with a type of job that's new to your company.

Eliminating inaccurate takeoffs is one of the biggest benefits of cloud-based construction estimating software. Digital takeoffs save time and are much more accurate than any pencil and paper method or Excel spreadsheets. Combined with instant access to the RSMeans database, you can have much more confidence with takeoff accuracy as part of the bidding process. ProEst will help you to avoid math errors and bid accurately and within an expected range for the type of project you're bidding on.

Unrealistic or inaccurate labor estimates

Unrealistic labor estimates, by which we mean either far too low or far too high, are a major reason for bids being turned down. Losing a bid isn't good, but it might be even worse if you underbid on labor costs and get the job. No one wants to work a job where they're barely breaking even or running the risk of losing money after everyone is paid. Construction Business Owner Magazine recommends that you look at similar projects you've completed and compare labor cost per square foot using key figures.

If you're relying on paper systems, it can take hours to locate similar jobs. This is where ProEst's cloud data storage and reporting capability comes in. ProEst's reporting capabilities allow you to compare different jobs over time. Its reports can show you the difference between a job where your labor estimates were accurate vs. one that was less accurate. You can use reports from ProEst to increase your accuracy and confidence when estimating labor costs.

Underestimating your margin and profitability

How many times have you heard about someone's dream job turning into a nightmare? The nightmare usually results from underestimating, which directly impacts profits. If you've cut the margin too close, you'll not only be losing money on the job, you'll be completely stressed out trying to finish and move on as fast as possible.

People who've been in the construction industry for decades have learned a lot of this advice the hard way. They may have had to work jobs where they were losing money because they made a costly error on their bid sheets. ProEst lets you get the kind of visibility you need from your prior jobs and uses the RSMeans database for benchmarking. You can shorten your learning curve using ProEst's reports, which give you clear and actionable information.

Using ProEst to automate your bidding process will save you time and will help you to eliminate some of the costliest bid sheet errors. You can invest your time in other things that software can’t do, like networking with your customers and improving your relationships with people who can help you get the contracts you want.

Using ProEst, you’ll also have a better idea of which contracts are a good fit for your construction business. There’s no substitute for carefully filling out bid sheets, but ProEst will allow you to invest your time where it’s needed, not on mistake-prone pencil and paper methods or spreadsheets that simply present endless streams of numbers without relating the information in a way that makes sense.

ProEst is a cloud-based pre-construction estimating platform that helps you create accurate estimates and digital takeoffs directly from blueprints quickly, allowing you to determine the most favorable rates for your company within the estimation process. There’s no guesswork involved. ProEst makes quality assurance in commercial construction projects estimation effortless. You won’t have to engage your entire team to be sure your numbers are accurate.

If you would like to learn more about how your commercial construction company can increase its profits and reduce miscalculations during the estimation process, reach out today and schedule a 1-on-1 walkthrough with one of our specialists.

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