How to price projects, submit
bids and close the deal
[Note: This is post #4 of a 6 part series on how to find construction
cleanup leads–to read the whole series click here]
Let’s quickly recap the whole process so far – condensed into just TWO steps because, why not?
Step #1 –
You’ve built a list of local lead sources by searching construction company websites in your area for new projects, following these companies on social media, and checking their profiles/webpages regularly.
Step #2 –
You’ve established contact with these companies by asking them “can you add us to your invitation to bid list” and/or “do you have any active projects in need of cleaning bids,” and/or “can we make a site visit”.
Construction companies require vendor pre-approval to be awarded projects, you can bid without being a qualified vendor. Once you are on the vendor list, you will receive Invitation To Bid (ITB) emails, sent directly to your email and fax by the construction companies. For 80% of these ITB’s you are quoting the job before you can see the building and before any General Contractor has been awarded the contract to build. Building Contractor Leads list projects for bidding close to completion of building construction
If all has gone well, some local contractors have invited you to visit the construction site now.
Tips for the site visit:
#1 – Schedule the site visit as close to the project completion has possible.
If you walk the site too early, you will not get an accurate picture of how much work they involve in the cleaning stage, because you’re only guessing what the site conditions will be.
There will be other tradespeople finishing their scopes towards the end of the project (painters, electricians etc.) and they can leave behind a real mess.
You’ll want to factor that mess into your bid.
You’ll be scheduling your site visit with the site superintendent.
In order to get the most accurate picture of site conditions and job scope, just tell the site super that you’d prefer to walk the site and submit your bid close to project completion, when the other trades are finishing up their scopes, or “when the finishes are installed” (glass, flooring, paint etc.) They will understand what you mean.
Pre Bid site visit with the superintendent allows you to see the conditions of the project, maybe the building is already neat, and your proposal price can be lower. Site visit is not necessary, but highly recommended by the project manager.
Site. The site visit allows you to meet the superintendent face to face, which increases the chance of being awarded. In construction cleaning you want to visit the site closest to project completion to view how the site will look when you clean.
#2 – Always walk the site WITH the site superintendent.
This is critical to making an accurate bid and protecting yourself from losing profits.
Walk with the site super and take detailed notes of exactly what they expect from you. Sometimes they’ll mention something that doesn’t need to be done, “My painters promised me they’d clean up the floors, so don’t worry about that.”
Other times they’ll mention something that you may miss if you walk the site yourself, “See all the dust on those windows up there? We’ve got to get rid of that.”
#3 – Keep an eye on how organized the site is.
This is an advanced tip to protect yourself from risk or bad clients. In my experience, a good indicator of how easy the contractor is to work with is the level of site organization.
If tools and equipment are scattered all over the place, if the trades are tripping over each other trying to get their jobs done all at once, etc. It probably means the project isn’t running as smooth as it could be.
It’s hard to make a judgement about whether you should take the job based on this (especially if there’s a lot of money involved), BUT… just remember to keep an eye on how organized these sites are, and you’ll eventually develop a “sixth sense” for projects that might be a pain in the butt.
After you’ve made the site visit, time is of the essence to submit your bid.
You’re fresh in the superintendent’s mind, and the details of the project are fresh in your mind.
In our years brokering these deals, we’ve won about 70% of project bids for our cleaning partners. This is a very good win rate, and one of the reasons for it is that we submit bids FAST.
Like, “wow”, fast. Often before our cleaning partner leaves the parking lot on the site visit.
I’d recommend you submit your proposal no later than 24 hours after the site walk.
How to speed up your bid submissions and win more projects:
In order to turn around bids quickly and accurately, you’ll want to prepare a “rough draft” bid based on the floor plans and your best estimate of the amount of work involved.
You’ll get better at this over time, but a good place to start for construction cleanups is 25 cents per square foot. So a 10,000 square foot office space would price at about $2,500.
Best sources to find construction pre award bidding opportunities. The General Contractor has not been awarded yet and needs subcontractors to submit a quote based on the Architectural Drawings (high chance GC will not win their bid):
Blue Book, LDI, ISQFT, Gradebeam, BidMail, ProjectConX, New Building permits, (public). Building Contractor Leads
only provides projects in which the General Contractor has already been awarded
and the project manager accepts the submittal of a construction clean price.
Prepare your bid in advance with all the contractor’s information put in the proper place, the expected job scope and task list, and the price estimate as outlined above.
This makes your site visit a lot easier, because now you have a baseline bid to work from.
When you see the actual site conditions and confirm the exact cleaning scope expected from the superintendent, you are adding or subtracting from your price estimate as needed.
Two things to look for specifically when setting a final bid price:
Windows above second story – these will require a lift rental, adding to the bid cost.
Any other equipment rental required, or other material costs (example: floor wax can get expensive)
How to submit a professional bid:
First, submit your bids in pdf or word document format. A common mistake I see cleaners making is submitting their bids within the email itself.
This is sloppy and unprofessional. It makes your proposal hard to print, share, and keep track of. Don’t do it.
So what does a professional bid look like?
Well, you’re in luck.
Just click HERE to download the exact proposal template we use (right click and select “save link as” to download)
Now you know how to find the leads, you know how to make contact and get bid invitations; you know how to walk the site and submit an accurate and professional bid package.
Don’t forget to follow up after you submit your bid.
As a broker we follow up at least 5 times, until the contractor tells us they’ve awarded the contract to someone else, or they accept our bid.
They’re busy so don’t be shy or expect them to remember you.
By keeping on their radar you’re making things easier for them.
Don’t be annoying, just gently remind them you’re waiting on their response and are excited to deliver what they need.
So, you’ll either win the bid or you won’t.
If you lose the bid, don’t sweat it.
You’ve at least established a professional relationship with the contractor and will have a good chance of getting bid invites and awarded contracts.
And if you WIN the bid? What to do after that?
90% of General Contractors will pay you full contract value. As a cleaning company, you are last to be paid on the job site, because you are the last required subcontractor to complete your scope. Money can be tight and stress levels can be super high due to being behind schedule. Cleaners get taken advantage of because they are usually smaller companies with less experience. So how do you know which GC’s to do business with, make sure you do not talk to companies with bad reputations, busy builders usually do not screw vendors.