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Five Key Components of a Successful Construction Bid

Submitting a construction bid to a government agency can be a long and exhaustive process. If you’re going to take the time and effort to put your hat in the ring for a state, local, and education (SLED) project, you might as well put your best foot forward. It’s common for government agencies to award contracts to vendors with whom they have worked before. After all, these frequently used contractors know the work, and re-engaging them might be the easiest path forward for government procurement agents. In order to catch their attention and gain consideration, your bid will need to be exceptional. Keep these five components in mind for a successful submission to a request for proposal (RFP): 

1. Do your research
Before submitting a bid, it’s a good idea to research the government department posting the RFP and past construction projects. What you learn will provide valuable information and insights to help inform what strategies you’ll use to complete the requested project. 

2. Look up regulations
Government projects may have different regulations than private sector projects. Make sure you look up all regulations for not only the specific government agency but for the city, county, and state. It’s important that your bid take all regulations including state-specific EPA guidelines into account since obviously, a government procurement agent won’t be able to move forward with your bid if the final product will be out of compliance.

3. Provide a detailed scope of work and schedule
Read the RFP carefully and then provide a detailed scope of work including a realistic timeline. This will communicate that you understand the project and are able and prepared to take the necessary steps to complete it properly and in a timely manner.

4. Be upfront about cost
Provide a thorough estimate that includes costs for materials, labor, specialized equipment, and if you require a deposit. By communicating clearly about the cost you allow the government procurement agent to determine if your bid fits within budget and compare its competitiveness with other bids.

5. Provide examples
Even if you haven’t done government work before, you likely have examples of similar construction work. Provide samples that demonstrate how your experience in other similar projects will be an asset to the upcoming work. 

Let the bidding begin!
Government procurement agents have a lot on their plate. In order to make your bid stand out, it’s important that it completely addresses all aspects of the RFP, communicates scope and costs clearly, and establishes your competencies in the specific area of construction. Making sure your construction bid includes these five key components will increase the likelihood of getting through the selection process.  

Ben Vaught is president and CEO of e-bidding software company DemandStar. He founded DemandStar as an independent firm to continue growing a network of government buyers and suppliers. Previously, he was director of government initiatives at Onvia, a public-sector business intelligence firm. He holds an MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business and dual bachelor’s degrees in English and government from Georgetown University.