Some enquiries require more upfront time and resources during the tender stage than others. More often than not, tendering for a package requires an investment of time, and it’s usually not chargeable.
The dilemma that we then have is, how much of this unchangeable free time should we put into the tender. The normal response is that we put more time into the projects that we’re really keen to win. The less eager we are to win the project, the less time we are prepared to put into meetings, pricing and surveys.
There are a few problems with this approach. Firstly the less time we put into a tender, the more we commoditise our work and the less likely we are to win the project. Compare the following two approaches, in the first approach, a tender comes in for a refurb project on a roof from a client. We visit the property to meet the client.
We carry out photographed surveys by drone, including thermal photography to identify any cold spots in the roof. We also conduct an integrity test on the roof to identify the problem areas causing a leak. Then we put a report together, print it and bind it. We deliver this together with a professional quotation document. The cost of doing this work is baked into the price of the works.
The second approach is that the enquiry comes in, and we simply run a takeoff of the property from images taken on Google Earth. We then submit a quotation for the works on a new roof system.
The quotation for works in Option A is more expensive for the client. But, they’ve had an upfront taste of our professional approach before committing with the order. They trust our business and they understand how good the interactions with our business will be if they go with us.
With Option B, we blend in with the crowd of the other roofing subcontractors that priced for the works and they have nothing to measure us against other than price.
If we offer Option A and they go with another cheaper contractor, that’s fine. We’ve learned that our business is not for this client and we don’t price for them again. If we offer Option A and they accept our quote, providing that we deliver on our promise, our business grows with this customer and others through word of mouth as we’ve put ourself in a class of one.
If a tender isn’t worth pricing with Option A, it’s not worth pricing at all.