Sending out RFPs and receiving quotes from contractors is a pretty common task for technical managers, but it can be extremely time consuming.
To make sure you end up with enough quotes, you often need to contact a large number of contractors.
Contractor quotes often come in many shapes and sizes, and range from the general and unspecified to very detailed and complex. For most technical managers, making sense of these quotes and comparing them takes much more time than it should.
Let’s have a look at why that is.
Common Problems with Quotes Received from Contractors
There are three most common problems we see with quotes received from contractors:
1. Lack of standardisation
Different contractors use different standards and systems to set up quotes. To make them even vaguely comparable, a lot of extra work is required – usually this falls on the plate of the technical manager.
2. Hard to compare
Because quotes aren’t standardised, you can’t compare them.
3. Lack of overview
Because you don’t have quotes that are easily comparable, you can’t set up an easy-to-use overview.
Lead the Way By Asking Contractors to Use Your System in 3 Steps
The solution is to ask the contractors to use your format and your system, rather than the other way around. Most contractors will happily oblige – as long as your system makes sense to them.
And it should, as long as you implement this simple, 3-step process:
1. Bid Form Templates
Why use bid form templates?
You’ll have transparency and know what is being charged for what and can compare bids to each other. You’ll know which quote is the best out of all quotes received.
All your bid form forms should come in a standard format, and should be:
Templatised: All contractors who provide quotes will complete the information in the same way
Digital: By having them in a digital format, you can easily work with them
Easy to work with: The bid form should make sense to contractors. That means making sure it’s structured in a way they can relate to and can easily fill out.
Once you’ve received all bids, you can compare them like for like and select the best quote based on objective factors, such as cost, quality and time frame.
2. Save Bids in A Database
Why save bids in a database?
You can compare your best quote to previous quotes, noting any differences in price and challenging the contractor, e.g. when a certain item costs more now than you were charged in the past. Then, you can negotiate a lower fee with the contractor.
As soon as you receive a completed bid form, save it in a folder or database that you can easily search for. You’ll be building up a reference library of bid forms – something that will come in handy for future projects.
After you’ve done this for a few months, you’ll have created a database containing invaluable information.
For each project, you should take the bid you selected in step 1, and compare key line items to previous bids you’ve received.
3. Create Reports and Overviews
Why create reports and overviews?
Because you can easily compare bids, you can show the asset manager that you performed due diligence and selected the best quote based on objective factors.
With all bid forms in a digital format, you can easily create reports and overviews for yourself, or to share with other parties.
Automation is Key to Better Project Management
Project requirements in modern CRE projects have become increasingly complex – as such, more and more time is devoted to things that are not inherent to project management, such as chasing contractors, setting up overviews and comparing quotes.
By automating quote collection and comparison, you’re saving a huge amount of time and energy that can then be used to visit sites, have discussions with specialists and meeting with contractors.
In case you don’t have time to set up your own quote comparison system, check out Proprli – it has bid sheets and templates built-in and ready to use.