Winning your next job can usually be boiled down to three deciding factors: Equal parts networking, pricing to the market and a sprinkle of good luck.
This guest post by seasoned estimator Clint Hewish from Concept Electrical Estimating explains how to maximise the chances of winning your next tender.
Before you read on
If you're a trade business looking to outsource your estimating, it's important to do your due diligence first.
Before you decide to invest your valuable time, money, and emotions with a prospective builder, I strongly suggest you make yourself known to them. Coffee and muffin deliveries are always a winner.
Okay, so you've decided to keep reading.
Of course, the end goal is to win profitable work.
Regardless of the driving force behind wanting to win the work, remember to stay focused on the end goal.
Sure, we all have our own agendas, whether it be the joy of the industry, personal pride, or the drive to succeed. However, if you aren't profitable, nothing else matters. So, as well as working hard, you need to have been awarded work to bring your work ethic into play.
You're better pricing four projects to five appreciative clients than submitting one project to twenty clients who don't know who you are.
Earlier I mentioned the importance of doing your due diligence. Below I've included some examples of how to go about it. It's far from foolproof, and you will need some luck. However, let's just hope you have backed the right horse because it's better than spending endless time, money, and energy back in the field.
Find out who makes the calls
Get in with the decision-makers, and build a relationship with the estimators. They are the vessel but don't fire the cannons.
Estimators are integral in providing opportunities, pushing your name and other valuable information. However, the project folder gets handed to the project team. This is the team that makes the decisions. They need to know you!
Investment tendering is when you have decided this is a client you should pursue.
You have spoken with them, and they have given you the time of day. They've told you all you want to hear. Now that you've given them your number, will they honour their word?
At least by providing them with the support, you have an angle when they do have work.
"Hang on, I've been supporting tendering to you for ages. Where's some love?"
Think outside the box
Look for opportunities where you can find smarts (ie: savings). It's unfortunate, but the market is all about "where can we find savings".
Smarts allow you to stand out but be savvy about how and to whom you distribute this information. There's a big chance it will be shared with your competitors.
The final siren & chase
If you’ve submitted your quote and received an order, a contract, or a letter of intent too soon after submitting your number, I highly recommend double-checking your submission. If it feels too good to be true, it likely is. This is particularly true if you’ve had no contact with this client before or if you’ve had the squeeze put on you.
On the flip side …
If you haven't received the order via email, it's time to chase.
Get on the phone or the road, don't be a pest but do offer the opportunity to run through it with them when the time is right. e.g. "Can we help you get some temporaries to site?" That's always a good tactic to get a foot onsite.
Price gets you to the table, relationships get you the job.
Invest equal time in pricing to the market and equal time in building professional and personal relationships with the people you are looking to work for. Look outside the square. What do they drink? Who do they follow in the footy? Do they like their coffees with an extra shot?
As I mentioned, it takes equal parts pricing, a dash of schmoozing and a sprinkle of created luck.