Tackling Bid Day Like a Pro

In preconstruction, bid day has often been compared to game day. It’s a time where your entire team comes together, assumes different positions, and strategizes to analyze the proposals and choose the ones that you feel will get you closest to the estimate you’ve forecast for your project.

Five young men in blue American football uniforms on a grassy field You can't have a successful bid day without getting your team together!


Bid day is so intense that one industry magazine has described it as “a combination of a military headquarters, math professor’s office, psychological counselor’s office, and casino all rolled into one." Bid day doesn’t just end at analysis: you need your project managers to double check numbers and then it’s time to get into the difficult business of haggling with suppliers to see if they can come down at all on their prices. It’s not hard to see why this is one of the most stressful days of any estimator’s career!

So how can you learn to tackle bid day like a pro? There are three ways to ensure that bid day runs as smoothly as possible to reduce your team’s stress.

  • Assign roles
  • Communicate effectively
  • Prepare information ahead of bid day

Assign Roles

Although bid day requires all hands on deck, it’s important to spread out the workload so no one becomes too overwhelmed and to ensure that you move through bids as quickly as possible. At Clark/Sullivan Construction, they split their team up between the lead estimator, estimating department, and project managers.

The lead estimator views all of the incoming numbers and addresses technical questions around the project. Meanwhile, the estimating department takes on a scope spreadsheet to guide them as they speak with subcontractors and dissect their proposals. Lastly, project managers fill in the gaps, helping out in the lead estimator role or alternatively bringing assistance on scope spreadsheets.

However, preconstruction doesn’t live in a bubble. It’s also important to remember that you can rely on outside help from other departments like accounting and marketing. Marketing is especially critical as they can shoulder most of the burden of reaching out to subcontractors and preparing materials so that they submit their bids appropriately.

Communicate Effectively

We talk a lot about communication here at Beck Technology because it’s the lifeblood of all successful preconstruction initiatives. And that’s especially true when it comes to bid day.

It’s critical to make sure that your preconstruction team operates in one ecosystem and understands what channels to send bid day-related conversations and requests to, whether that’s Teams, Slack, or email. It is just as important to determine ahead of time how you’ll screen incoming bids from subcontractors and who to relay them to as they move through the process of analysis and negotiating.

Last but not least, always confirm that you’re all on the same page when bid day arrives. Time is of the essence, and everyone has to understand that the team can’t afford too many interruptions or delays.

Prepare Information Ahead of Bid Day

One of the best ways to make bid day flow smoothly is to get ready before it even arrives. Construction Work Zone recommends getting all of your bid day-related information together and having it waiting by bid day. How, you might ask? By creating a spreadsheet of all of the cost items several days in advance.

Additionally, have one of your estimators pull together concise, written instructions for subcontractors submitting bids that include the unit price and any alternate bid information you’ll need from them, as well as any questions you need answers to by bid day.

The Best Way to Tackle Bid Day

DESTINI Bid Day Ready to get your hands on DESTINI Bid Day?

We believe all of these tips are extremely helpful, and we hope you’ll find benefit from them too. But in case you missed it, you’ll notice a lot of these tips rely on creating some pretty extensive spreadsheets. They also rely quite a bit on your team being able to view the same data.

It can be difficult to juggle so many bids and so much data all in one place. That’s why we’ve come up with an innovative solution known as DESTINI Bid Day, which will allow you to view and compare all of this data in one place.

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