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How to Bid on a Commercial Electrical Job?

Want to win the bid for a commercial electric job? Offering a low price is not the right formula to win a bid. The ones evaluating the bidders are not looking to save their money only. They also want quality, or so to say, value for money. Thus, your estimations for commercial electric jobs must be highly meticulous. They must be closest to the accurate calculations. Give this blog a quick read for a step-by-step comprehensive guide for winning your commercial electric jobs bids.

It includes:
· Understanding the Project Scope and Requirements
· Preparing Bids
· Developing Project Schedules
· Assessing Risks and Challenges
· Find Subcontractors
· Crafting the Bid Proposal
· Submission and Reviews


1. Understanding the Project Scope and Requirements

Reviewing Project Documents

The first and foremost step to winning profitable bids is reviewing project documents. The clients provide the documents, including blueprints, architectural designs, construction plans, electrical drawings, 3D Maps, or anything else. It depends on whatever the customer has at their disposal at the very moment. Astute evaluation of the documents determines the accuracy of the estimates in the later stages. You must carefully understand the technical requirements and design provisions during this phase. This is because any problem at this stage may lead to inaccuracies in the final commercial electrical estimations.

Identifying Project Objectives and Client Expectations

After evaluating the documents, you need to know the client’s expectations and the objectives they want to achieve. When you know your exact goal, it is easier to meet it. Therefore, effective communicating with the client and understanding these aspects will add value to your success rate.

Determining Project Size and Complexity

Now comes the time to determine the project’s size and the level of intricacy. Imagine you have a large project. The size of the facility and its need for electrical systems are to be assessed. Indeed, challenges and unique aspects for consideration vary depending on the size of the building or the amount of electricity required to fulfill the power needs. The more precise you are in your head about the project size and complexity, the better calculations you are going to have. Resultantly, you will win the bids you are aiming for.

Determining Project Size and Complexity

2. Preparing the Bid

Estimating Materials and Labor Costs

To prepare a great bid that guarantees success, you must accurately estimate materials and labor costs. Firstly, note down all the material required for the project. For instance, check how much and how many wires, fixtures, or any other items are needed. It depends on the size of the area you cover and the electrical system requirement at the site. Then ask yourself, how much quantity of each is required? How many wires are needed, measured in meters or any other relevant unit of length or weight? Secondly, you need to calculate the cost of the labor as effectively as possible. Plus, include their wages, compensations, miscellaneous expenditures, etc.

Accounting for Overhead and Profit Margins

Another piece of information your client wants to know is any overhead cost, including insurance costs or any other indirect expense. Likewise, the client is interested in knowing the profit margin they will have if they assign you a bid.

Factoring in Contingency Costs

Uncertainty looms over, no matter how secure and well-planned a construction or electrical project is. Thus, it is always wise to anticipate sudden changes in costs or plans. For instance, due to a surprising market shift, prices of any material hikes or any accident at the site result in material wastage. One can also change the scope of the project after mid-construction evaluations. Such changes are covered in the contingency budget. It is around 5-10% of the total project cost. In short, contingency planning satisfies the client, that the bidder is well-prepared. So never take this part lightly.

Developing a Comprehensive Cost Breakdown

Transparency in your bid is essential. Create a detailed cost breakdown, enabling you and the client to understand precisely how the budget is allocated. A comprehensive cost breakdown should encompass materials, labor, overhead, profit margin, and the contingency budget.

Maximize your client’s satisfaction by enhancing transparency. This is possible by giving them a detailed cost breakdown. It must enable them to thoroughly understand where their money would be going. However, keep the format of the documents reader-friendly. It must have nitty-gritty details of the budget allocation, like:

How much would be spent on each material and labor?
• What portion of the budget will be for contingency issues and why? Etc.

3. Developing a Project Schedule

Estimating Project Timeline

Give a realistic timeline to your client, as it adds to your credibility as a bidder. Avoid giving over-optimistic timelines because your client has a rough idea, and they would instantly catch exaggerations since they have several other bids to compare. Henceforth, carefully check all the project phases and give a breakdown of the time allocated to each one. Besides, try to be as close as possible to the deadlines the client prefers, but be transparent about any potential delays you are foreseeing.

Creating a Gantt Chart or Project Timeline

Create a Gantt chart or project timeline to give visual timeline details to your client. The chart is a graphical illustration of a project’s progression. It shows the project’s milestones and deadlines. Also, parts of a project, like planning, design, implementation, evaluation, etc., along with their start and finish dates, are clearly shown in Gantt charts.

4. Assessing Risks and Challenges

Identifying Potential Risks

No client wants to see their project hampered due to risky factors. However, several risk factors need keen attention and mitigation strategies. The factors can be different, e.g., technical, environmental, supply-related, or alterations in the project. Bidding can only be smooth if you know the risks and prepare for them beforehand.

Developing Mitigation Strategies

Want to avoid risky business, or at least minimize the risk? Prepare mitigation strategies for your project’s potential risks, without being over-optimistic.

5. Find Subcontractors

Identifying Subcontracting Needs

It is not right to be a jack of all but a master of none. There are always some tasks that are beyond your scope. Thus, while preparing a winning bid, assess the tasks that need a subcontractor.

Outlining Subcontractor Responsibilities and Scope

Don’t forget to mention in your bid:

• What tasks are you going to subcontract?
• What would be the exact responsibilities of the subcontractors?
• Are they genuinely qualified for the job?
• How much will they be charging?
• Do they have the necessary licenses or permits to work?

Giving this information to the client would enhance your bid’s credibility. Plus, the more a subcontractor is reliable, the better your chances of winning a bid.

Get More Info: How To Bid On Electrical Jobs By Square Foot?

6. Crafting the Bid Proposal

Introduction and Project Overview

Now, it is time to write an impressive bidding proposal. Start with an introduction in which you brief about the information coming up next. The intro should have an overview of the project scope, specifications, objectives, and vitality. To make it appealing, align it with the client’s mission or vision (if it is a company).

After the introduction, discuss the technical approach and methodology you would use to complete the task. It is the perfect place to tell the client about the unique solutions you have to offer. Therefore, take it as a chance to magnify your competence. Moreover, explain how your service would be different from your rivals. The main goal is to meet and exceed the client’s expectations most efficiently. Highlight and justify the methods and approaches that save them the most money and get the best results.

Cost Breakdown and Justification

Write the cost breakdown and justify that for your client’s satisfaction. The justification’s rationality will determine the fate of your bid proposal. It is because factors you may or may not take seriously are silently building your credibility in the eyes of the clients.

Project Schedule and Timeline

The client expects to see the project schedule after the information on what approaches you will be using and the costs. They want to know how much time you will spend on each project phase. The timeline needs to be realistic and clear to establish a relationship of trust between you and your client. Your language must reflect that you are capable of meeting the deadlines you are committing.

Project Schedule and Timeline

Risk Assessment and Mitigation

Mention the potential risk in a thorough risk assessment. It must follow the mitigation strategies and their impact. Show a proactive instead of a defensive attitude and your eagerness to make this project successful.

Subcontractor Collaboration

Write all the above information about the subcontractors involved in the project. Their qualification, needs, credibility, history, and advantages must be elaborated.

Contact Information and Communication

End your bid proposal by clearly mentioning your contact information. Appear approachable and welcoming. Also, give an impression to your clients that you are great at communication. Nevertheless, it is essential to give different communication options to the clients. It depends on their choice, but from your side, ease the communication process for them.

7. Submission and Review

Proofreading and Refining the Bid Proposal

Proofread and refine the bid proposal now. Give it multiple reads after several 1-6 hours breaks. If you have enough time, you may take a few days in this process. The objective is simple: the proposal must be error-free. Even grammar mistakes can ruin your impression. Be careful!

Double-Checking Calculations and Estimates

Double-check the facts and figures to ensure accuracy. In addition, make sure they are consistent as it will make you look reliable and professional.

Ensuring All Required Documents are Included

Include all the relevant documents, e.g., licenses, insurance plans, certificates, permits, etc. Missing a document is a “no-no”.

Submitting the Bid Proposal within the Deadline

All is well that ends well. End well. Submit the deadline in time!

Streamline Your Bidding Process with Expert Assistance

You deserve to win your commercial electric project bids. Don’t you? But you have a lot to take care of. Don’t take pressure! Electrical Estimation is here to help you prepare bid-winning proposals. We have been doing this since 2008. You can trust our professionals with your valuable bids. We believe in maintaining long-term relations with our clients. Client satisfaction is our utmost priority. We use the latest software and techniques to give you a leap in the construction world. So, elevate your bid quality with our professional services. Call right away to discuss your concerns!

James Oliver

With over 10 years of dedicated experience in the electrical estimation industry, I have honed my skills and developed a comprehensive understanding of the nuanced requirements that drive successful electrical projects.

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