It takes a focused effort to turn your construction bidding into a steady stream of construction work. As you fine-tune your focus, you might consider working with bidding websites. This way you’ll be able to carefully select bids you want to dedicate your time and resources to because, let’s face it, the bidding process takes a lot of time.
It’s not likely you’ll win everything you bid on, but using a laser-like focus means you’ll bid on more work you are likely to win. Here’s what’s behind construction bidding and how bidding websites can help you win more bids.
Construction Bidding Process
In its simplest form, construction bidding is the process of announcing how much you’ll charge to do a project. However, there’s much more to it than just the numbers and the costs. Potential clients also want the details about ‘how’ you will build something, ‘who’ you are, and ‘what’ makes your offer better than everyone else’s.
They want to know your past projects, what you are currently working on, the effectiveness of your safety program, and whether you can insure and bond your work. They’ll also want information regarding who you will hire to work with you on the project. And, of course, they definitely want to know your cost estimates are realistic.
Sure, they’ll compare your bid to the others. But if you have underestimated by a lot, it can hurt your chances for future business from that owner. Bids that are too low raise red flags about a contractor’s processes and intentions. Is their estimating up to par? Or are they planning to make up the difference by using change orders? In commercial, corporate, government, industrial and infrastructure work, your future hinges on good impressions, even when it comes to bids you don’t win.
So, you’ve got a lot of boxes to check in presenting your bid. Similarly, you should also have your own boxes to check, and that’s where construction bidding websites come in. To start, review your business plan.
Your Business Plan Informs How You Bid On Construction Projects
If you have written your plan with an eye to the future, you specified what type of work you will pursue. That should include the industry category, construction types, geographic areas, project sizes, project specialties and growth plan for at least five years. The growth plan is often overlooked; if you’ve ignored it till now, you might want to reconsider.
When you use your business plan and growth plan as you consider what projects to bid on, you’ll almost instinctively avoid those that will dead end you or lock you into just one type of construction.
The growth plan should be less about dollars and more about project progression. If you are building a long-term business, you want to build in resilience. There’s no better way to do it than to grow the types of construction projects you’re qualified to do.
For instance, you might start by doing retail build-outs with a plan to also be into office and warehouse in five to seven years. Or, you might get started in single-family residential and plan to have multifamily projects on the boards by your third year.
This plan is crucial. It focuses your efforts and guides you to the projects that make the most sense for your goals.
When you use your business plan and growth plan as you consider what projects to bid on, you’ll almost instinctively avoid those that will dead end you or lock you into just one type of construction. You will also stay focused on the projects more likely to pave the way for resilience and long-term growth.
Whether you’re a GC or a subcontractor, there’s a good chance you’ll find something among these construction bidding websites that will help you focus on the best projects for you to bid on.
10 Best Construction Bidding Websites for 2020
ConstructConnect’s Construction Market Data
CMD (formerly Reed Construction Data) is a long-established bidding website that combines market insights with a listing of over 800,000 active construction projects, allowing you to target your efforts to projects fitting your business goals.
Download plans and specifications to get a micro view of each project. Find out ahead of time whether your company is even a good fit for a project. The website allows you to set up searches that match your needs in project types, geographies, size and more. Import project data to your customer relationship management tool.
The company’s Insight Platform lets you view the most relevant projects to pursue while offering you access to specifications, key players and contact information. Not ready to act on a project by a particular owner? You can save your search and follow their projects over time to get a deeper understanding of their partner preferences and project outcomes. Use the updates and notifications tools to stay informed on bid dates.
ConstructionWire maintains an online database of “mostly private commercial” projects in the planning, bidding and pre-construction phases. The company offers three products to help you find your ideal projects from the over 420,000 listed in its database, each with a value of at least $500,000.
As with most good bidding software for construction, Project Reports gives you leads on projects by supplying the contacts, location, and value. Company Reports provides offices and key contacts, lists of companies with whom the company has previously worked and lists of projects completed or in the works. The People Reports gives you detailed profiles of key decision makers.
ConstructionWire claims to verify all projects by telephone and adds its database includes projects that are often not picked up by other bidding websites. You can also get a weekly email list of projects fitting your requirements.
This bidding website offers a range of tools for estimating and bidding offered to members of any of the 12 Construction Associations in Ontario, Canada. You can see all project documents, plans, specifications, and addenda as well as tender authorities, confirmed contractors, contract conditions, closing details, and project document sources. You get access through your Ontario construction association.
Serving British Columbia, Canada, this bidding software for construction features thousands of public and private projects. By using the search tools, you can have opportunities matched to you and get notified of new matching listings automatically. The plan rooms have full project plans, bidding schedules, contractor directories, and updated project notifications. You can set up your own bidding schedules or create private plan rooms where your favored subs can signal their intentions on bidding. At bid time, subs can submit bids online using secure forms to speed up GC submissions to owners.
This is Dodge Data & Analytics’ answer to construction bidding software where you can research, find and bid on the best projects for your company. The company claims to deliver “more early-stage projects than any other source.” The coverage of leads is national, but you can drill down to your local level. Scope out the expected labor costs on projects as you are deciding to bid. Find out who else might bid and how serious they are based on plan downloads. Get advanced notices on public construction projects and have access to deep analytics and market intelligence.
The company claims it’s been “doing this since 1992.” It offers a simple program where a paid membership lands ‘projects out to bid’ in your email box every day. You can choose the state and counties you are interested in and view the bid documents. The states offered are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
This bidding website is the place where contracting officers post bid opportunities with values of more than $25,000. You can use the site to not only find new opportunities but also potential upcoming projects by scanning for pre solicitations. You can track changes to solicitations and research past contracts to get an idea of what particular agencies look for in bidders. In four steps, you create your account and are ready to start searching. The website is owned by US Federal Contractor Registration, not connected with the government.
Beta.SAM.gov is the modern amalgamation of several U.S. services, including FBO, SAM, and FAPIIS. Through this one website, you can now engage in numerous federal bidding processes. If you’ve previously used those sites, your prior transaction data will have migrated as well. While there are definitely other resources for finding government contract opportunities, it’s well worth supplementing that with information directly from the authorities themselves. In addition to learning about contract opportunities, you can conduct market analysis through Beta.SAM.gov.
iSqFt is a commercial bidding website and part of the ConstructionConnect platform. As part of this merger, users now have access to an immense amount of data and contract opportunities. iSqFt promises to help you at every step of the construction bidding process, from discovery to management.
The company was founded in 1993 as Construction Software Technologies before shifting gears and becoming the online-focused iSqFt in the early 2000s.
Since 1998, this bidding website has been pointing contractors to the wealth of projects offered by the government. Just in construction alone, the site published 176,500 bid opportunities for everything from renovations to new construction. You can get daily bid notifications related to your interests. Through the parent company, Government Contracts USA, you can access services on contracts, RFPs, bids, and procurement systems. Search by category or region, or set up an advanced search using keywords, geographies, categories and publication dates.
However, keep in mind no bidding website will make up for bad marketing and sales tactics. And, they certainly won’t help if you can’t perform. So, focus on the work, build a solid business foundation, and resort to construction bidding software when you are clear about what you want to get from them.