Post Bid Communications – The Difference Between Winning And Losing a Bid

Post Bid Communications
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Most of the time clients, after receiving bids or quotations will talk to some contractors who have submitted their bids for the construction project most of the time with the help of an online construction bidding software.  This communication is commonly known as post bid communication, and these discussions can have a big impact on whether the contractor will win or lose the project. With this said, mistakes at this stage can also cost the contractor a lot when they are awarded the project.  

The communication that takes place in post-bid can be in several forms: written, email, or formal meetings with the party involved, usually with the contractors.

There are several reasons why the client would want to initiate post bid communications. Typically, these reasons are, but, not limited to :

  1. Post Bid communications are initiated because the client wants to make sure that the contractor understands the project and all the nuances that come with it. The client also wants to make sure that the contractor has the resources and the necessary qualifications to undertake the project.
  2. Post-bid communication is initiated because the client wants to clarify some of the information that is in the bid which usually includes the price and the scope.
  3. Post-bid communications are initiated because there are some conditions with the price in the original tender that the client doesn’t want to accept and wants to negotiate these.
  4. Post-bid communication is initiated because the client made changes to the original bid documents and these changes require the contractors to change the prices of their bids.

Best Practices in Bid Communication

Whether the client initiates the post-bid negotiation because they are interested in a specific contractor’s services or if they initiated it because of a price change that needs to be addressed by all the bidders, post-bid communications should be handled professionally. Here are some best practices that are used by successful contractors.

  1. Use A Construction Bidding Software.  Contractors nowadays use web-based construction estimating software to submit their bids because this kind of software package makes the bidding process easier especially when you’re making material takeoffs. In addition to this, cloud-based construction estimating software uses usually provides a central location where contractors can pull up and view all the tenders.

This is especially useful because post bid communications are sometimes not instantaneous and can occur months after the bidding has occurred, and by this time contractors have moved on to the next bid. Having the bid stored in an online construction bidding software means that all your previous bids are organized properly and can be pulled up anytime that you want.

  1. Assign a point person.  To make sure that there are no misunderstandings, assign one person to handle and coordinate one specific bid. This will make sure that the client will always receive an answer, and the bid will have the full attention should there be any questions.
  2. Include contact details in your tender. When you submit tenders, make sure that you have included the details of the person that the client should contact should there be any questions. Make sure that whomever you assign will be able to answer any correspondence or at least provide someone who can. Remember that in the real world, clients don’t really respect industry breaks when they want a question answered. Unanswered or sometimes ignored questions will usually put off clients from pursuing your bid.
  3. Do your research well.  While clients expect an answer to any questions right away, there are instances when you have to do some research in the form of contacting subcontractors, suppliers or you might have to do some recalculations. In this instant, you have to ask the client for more time, and while doing so, try your best to explain why this is so. Remember that while you need to be fast in answering questions, you also need to be accurate.

Guidelines For Answering A Post Bid Communication

When you have to answer a post-bid communication, here are some guidelines that you should take into consideration:

  • Format your response properly.  If the client hasn’t asked for any specific format or structure, try to keep your answers clear, logical and well organized. Make sure that you have a clear and convincing introduction.  Use the same format in all your responses so that you look professional. The easiest way to do this is to use online construction estimating software because these software packages usually have templates that you can use, and you can be sure that all the responses will be uniform.

You might also consider using visuals and diagrams in your response. This can be an effective way to communicate complex ideas to your client in a way that’s easier to understand.

  • Be accurate in your response. When you write a response to a client question, make sure that you delve into the specifics and the impacts. These impacts may include some changes to the schedule, increased overhead costs, and all other impacts on the project. Sometimes what appears to be a small change in scope can have a major impact on several aspects of the project. It helps to be thorough.
  • Always frame the response in a positive manner. When you answer a client’s query, try your best to frame the response in a positive manner.  If the answer to any of the questions is no, provide alternative solutions to the problem, or explain thoroughly why it’s not possible to do so.
  • Proofread your response. It seems trivial, but spelling and grammar mistakes can make you look unprofessional. Use spell and grammar check on your document, or ask someone outside of your department to give you feedback. The ideal situation would be to get a professional copy editor or a proofreader to do this, but if this is not possible, there are a lot of software online that can help you carry out this task. If the response took several people to write, make sure that you assign someone to read and edit the entire document for consistency.
  • Make sure to file everything together.  Make sure that all the documents whether they be in paper or digital form are filed together in a neat and organized tender file. All the supporting documents, calculations, and information should be included in this file. This is important so that, in the later stages, if the need arises, you and your team can come back and understand how the revised bid sum was arrived at.