David Carnes reports:
"Under a competitive bidding system, a property owner seeks the contractor who will provide the best work at the lowest price. Although the reputation of your business is important, the skill with which you present your bid is also critical. Some owners require the use of customized bid forms, some provide only general guidelines and others allow contractors to create their own bid formats. Your bid must be detailed, organized and realistic to prevail over other contractors. Open a Microsoft Word document and create a title page featuring the name of the project, the name of the owner, the name of your company and the bid submission deadline. Create a table of contents on the second page using the following section titles: Executive Summary, Professional Qualifications, Specifications, Pricing, Subcontractors and Payment. List all of your company's professional qualifications, such as licenses, in Section 2 (skip over Section 1 at this point). Briefly describe any performance guarantees that you offer. Include contact details for previous satisfied customers who are willing to be identified, particularly local customers who[m] the owner might be familiar with. This will establish your credibility from the beginning and ensure that your bid is taken seriously. Break down the project into discrete phases in Section 3, using subheadings. Under each subheading, describe exactly how you will complete each phase. Use tables and graphs with specifications and numerical detail, interspersed with prose descriptions to the extent appropriate. Include target completion dates for each phase. Set your price for each phase of the project in Section 4. Create tables that show exactly how you arrived at each price...Double[-]check to make sure your estimates for the cost of supplies and labor are realistic. Aim to offer the best value, not necessarily the lowest price. Give yourself some leeway to absorb cost overruns and unexpected delays, especially when dealing with subcontractors. Name the subcontractors you will use in Section 5. Create a separate subheading for each subcontractor stating the subcontractor's name and role in the project. Under each subheading, state in detail what the subcontractor will be responsible for. Choose local subcontractors with good reputations. Subcontractors who have worked with the owner before are particularly persuasive, provided that the owner is satisfied with their work. Describe the payment conditions and method of payment in Section 6, using subheadings for each phase of the project followed by a separate section detailing the method of payment. For large projects, owners typically prefer progress payments as each phase of the project is completed. Describe the payment conditions in as much detail as possible...If you are requesting payment by bank transfer[,] list the name of the bank, the account name and the account number. Draft an executive summary of the entire project and insert it into Section 1. The executive summary should be about one page long, should not include technical details and should not be broken down into subheadings. Summarize the project as accurately and succinctly as possible, and include the total price for the project. If the executive summary is poorly written, the owner might not bother to read the rest of the bid. Insert page numbers into the table of contents on the second page of the bid...Don't underbid to win the project, because cost overruns will come out of your profit."
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