What a Fisherman Could Teach Us about “Catching” Bids

I spent a great deal of time fishing with my Dad as a child. Sometimes we caught fish and sometimes we didn’t.  However, because my Dad was an excellent fisherman, we usually caught fish. One of the things I remember most about fishing with my Dad was how he always had all the correct gear for every type of fishing. Our car was often full of equipment for deep sea fishing, bay fishing, fresh water fishing, or the ice fishing, but never at the same time. Another thing I remember about his fishing methodology was that when one thing didn’t work, he was ready with a back-up plan that included a new, more effective method to tackle the more specific details of the particular fishing environment. So whenever we weren’t catching fish, I knew that he would quickly tweak something in the day’s fishing strategy. The new plan was designed to win over the weather, the location, the water current, or whatever fish seemed to be biting in someone else’s boat.

Just like different fishing environments require different equipment and techniques, your system for winning or “catching” bids, RFQ or RFPs needs to be adapting as the construction market changes year after year. Just as you may or may not catch a fish based on where and how you drop your fishing line, you may or may not win projects, if you don’t know where and how to bid in today’s market.

Fishing Tips

Knowing where and when a particular type of fish was biting was always first on Dad’s fishing agenda long before he planned his trip. Similarly, knowing more about your current market will tell you where to look for projects to bid on. For example, is the population in your state increasing in certain areas and making traffic unbearable? Find out if a major public transportation plan is on the horizon that will lead to projects? What about the ports surrounding your state?  Will they be in need of construction projects to accommodate changes in ocean transport? For example, how will the 2016 Panama Canal expansion project affect the port growth and port construction needs in your area?

Once you know what new markets to target, you need to be ready with your more effective, perfected methodology for “catching” the project. Let’s face it!  Everything happens faster in the construction arena the 21st century, so you need to be ready to get your bid, proposal, RFQ or RFP out fast.  Just as my Dad always had the proper fishing gear ready to throw in the car at a moment’s notice, you need to have your proposal, resume and any form information ready and up-to-date at all times.

In today’s marketplace, your bid also needs to be very competitive but still make you money. Engaging your client in great communication early on can help assure that complications are minimized or avoided and your project estimate will work for both of you. Just like my Dad tweaked his fishing strategies to tackle the days environment head-on, starting your proposal with open communication and a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities will benefit all parties involved and result in the desired product.

Similarly, with information always just a click away in today’s marketplace, we are dealing with educated consumers who are used to getting all the facts before making any decisions or purchases.  For example, think about how much analysis goes into the purchase of a new car today before someone even steps into the car dealership. So how much more do your clients want assurance that the cost of their expensive commercial property is in the right hands? Therefore, in addition to being fast and competitive, your bids need to provide assurance to the prospective client that they will get what they want on time and within budget, which is difficult in a competitive market that leaves little room for margin.

One of the best ways to give owners assurance that their project will meet their expectations at the price they want to pay (without fear of hidden costs) is to add an experienced and established cost estimating team to your team. Cost estimators with great accuracy records, who are trained in the best cost estimating software, may help seal the deal by providing insurance of accuracy. A cost estimator can also help you determine if your bid is on target before you submit it, protecting you from loss or disappointed clients. To learn more about Zaxon’s more accurate scientific approaches to cost estimating and project scheduling and the assurance they provide our clients, visit our website at www.zaxonusa.com.