Construction Monkey

Construction Monkey Blog

Improve Estimates With Productivity Data From the Field

It appears as if the market is recovering (at least there are more projects out there to be bidding on), so how can you win that work to turn it from an opportunity to revenue?  There are three factors that weigh heavier than any other when it comes to winning new work and if you are bidding many different projects (which I would bet you are), you should be looking at which ones fit this criteria first so you can focus your energy.  What are the three factors?
  • Team available for the Work
  • Past Successful Experience as A Company
  • Passion/Desire by Estimating and Sales Staff
I will grant you that there are a lot more factors than these three, but these rule the roost when trying to win work.

Remember that as contractors you are in a Service based business, thus you are selling qualifications.  We are not heart surgeons, but then again we are not far off.  Building a data center, or hooking a deep fryer so it doesn't catch fire is a skilled craft and the people that are hiring us want it done right.  For the most part we are "operating" on their dreams and aspirations and they cannot afford a mistake.  Ensure that you have a team that is qualified to do the work, not just in your mind, but in the minds of client.  If you have a great team, don't be shy to showcase it.  Send over resumes, do a quick pre-bid meeting with the client.  When they feel comfortable, your chances will skyrocket.

This may appear to be a duplicate of the last one, but it is distinctly different.  Your company has a brand name that means a lot more than the name itself.  When they hear your company's name it creates an image in their head on the type of work, the price level, the quality level, among other things.  Keep this in mind as you decide which projects to go after.  TGI Friday's and Morten's Steak house both serve food, but have very different brands.  It doesn't matter what they think of themselves, we as customers think of them differently.  Each has its place.  If you see opportunities that you know your client will say "they would be perfect for this" then you should focus your energy on it.  Even if you think you may do better on a different job, they are making the decision and you should listen to what they think.

Nothing sells like desire.  Projects that make you feel a little giddy and excite the soul become the best ones sometimes to chase.  For each estimator or sales person this is a different type of project, but everyone has one.  During the course of a year an estimator may produce 50-300 estimates with a win ratio of maybe 1 in 10.  That repetition can become boring and lead to "just another day at the office".  Interesting and exciting projects (i.e. new space vehicle launch facility) can get the blood flowing.  When the blood is flowing, ideas and innovation leak out and that can win you projects.

I wish I could give everyone the magic bullet, but there isn't one.  It is not even price.  Price especially in a market like this does not win work, it just qualifies you.  Given the tightness in the market, don't you think someone else will meet a really low price?  It is now the other factors that weigh in and if you capitalize on them, you can start to convert some of that pipeline work into backlog.

About the Author

Craig Pierce

Craig Pierce has been working in the construction industry for the past 25 years helping subcontractors master their trade. Currently he is President of Atalanta Enterprises which provides consulting services to contractors And software solutions through