Not all jobs are created equal! Even with a good customer, some jobs you can win and others you will not. Take time to identify the good ones before you start doing take-offs or entering information into your electrical estimating software. Before estimating projects it is a good time to play 20 questions with yourself (and the bid requestor) to determine if you have a good chance of winning the job or not.
Consider who you are bidding against (consider your competition).
1) Have you bid against them in the past?
2) Can you compete with them on price, delivery time or quality service?
3) Do you have any advantage over the competitors?
4) Any disadvantages?
Example Scenario 1: Sometimes you are asked to estimate electrical jobs, when the bid requestor is only shopping prices to keep their favored contractor at a lower price. They may have no intention of awarding the contract to anyone else. They will get 3 or 4 prices from different contractors and then beat their favorite contractor up to get a better deal, giving them the last look.
This practice is not necessarily ethical, but it happens every day. It is called a check bid. It is really hard to make a profit when you specialize in doing check bids (and cannot get the job)!
Example Scenario 2: You are asked to bid work in a facility when they have used the same contractor forever. They may be honest-to-goodness willing to award the contract to the lowest bidder but, the contender contractor staff knows the facility inside and out. They know that there are certain empty conduits that they can just pull wire into. Since you are not familiar with the facility, you think that you need to install the conduit. Your bid ends up higher and you bid for nothing.
Often times you can ask a lot of questions and get a gut feeling about if you are disadvantaged from the git-go. If you think you have a slim to none chance of winning the bid, take your electrical estimating skills elsewhere.
Answer these other questions prior to bidding:
1) Do you have the manpower capability to start and finish the project?
2) Do you have the foremen or staff capable of running the project?
By pre-qualifying jobs prior to bidding, you focus on bidding jobs that you have a higher likelihood of winning and avoid unnecessary bidding.
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