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Discussion Starter #1
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Awhile back i posted about a commercial roof i was bidding on 400 square 2 buildings. My final price came to $163,000.00 i was underbid at $152,000.00 by another competitor. I did a search on the company they looked legit. I wrote it off as experience and my competition just has less of a profit margin maybee cheaper labor. (Due to volume)

I got a call from the project manager early last week he asks how much i would charge him to install 175 pipe boots on these buildings i bid. I told him i would prefer not to flash any detail areas of a roof that some other company has installed. He says i will be honest with you this company wants to charge me $150.00 per boot extra ( one of the first things i did call the mechanical contractors even met on the jobsite with the plumber all of wich i included) i told him $50.00 per boot and a letter of recomondation explaining this situation. Have not heard back yet.

My profit would have been approx 12% on the entire job 3 weeks time to complete about 2% extra for overhead.

I have about 20 hrs tied up into this bid. I asked him more than once are you sure this guy is including everything does he have copies of the plan and drawings.

this company ends up after all said and done $16,000.00 higher than me.

This is why i tend not to deal with general contractors, builders, real estate agents. Lowest bid gets job. I also do not understand how a person can come back and say oh i forgot to tell you we are almost done with your project but there are $26,000.00 in extra charges.

One more thing the project manager says you had the best presentation can i keep it? WTF?

All in all i guess he got what he deseved for not reading the contract. i just wish their was something i could do about the company who won the project without doing their homework. I am sure they came out smelling like roses.
 

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Commercial Roofing
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Happens all the time...I am beginning to think it is better to screw people and then charge for extras instead of being thorough and knowledgable. I dont get it.
 

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Pisses you off doesn't it? Makes me want to bite walls! You kinda think to yourself "what could I have said or done"? answer... not much, you don't want to join that bunch of weasels.
 

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Soomethign I learned from a union carpenter while on a prevailing wage job... bid to spec and as soon as you are officially awarded the job submit your change orders to bring the spec up to standard. He claims it's the only way to get work, since we all know there are mistakes on the plans that cost extra to correct.

I always did it the other way. I would write my own specification correting those errors and submit it as my bid, and make a note of the differences between my spec and the spec on the print. I never got any of these jobs except from small GC's who actually did care about quality and appreciated my honesty.

It's all just a matter of playing the game. Do you want to play the Residential Remodeling game which has much less string atatched, or play the highly organized new construction game which has lots of rules, but plenty of loop holes to make money if you are tough and know the loop holes.
 

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Commercial Roofing
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Im always up for a challenge, and I guess I will have to go throught the hard knocks to find the loopholes. I am disliking residential more and more each day.
 

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Grumpy, I hear where you are coming from. At a recent NGPP workshop, I chatted with a guy who owned a painting/paperhanging company in San Antonio. I aked him how he scored these large commercial/industrial jobs, and he answered just like you stated. Everybody wanted to look knowledgeable, and bid the job according to how it should be done. He would bid them exactly how they were spec'ed to be done. He would always be low bidder, and was awarded the job. Soon after, change orders would start churning out, usually by the end his price had doubled. Its all about playing the bid/proposal game. Let go of your thoughts on quality, and give them a price for exactly what they ask for. Make damn sure there are provisions for change orders in the final agreement.
 

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seems like killing em with change orders is rule in commercial work. i run into similar thing in residential work.quite often i find im bidding fixed price against guy using allowances ,or time and materials.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Believe it or not i bid it to spec first time around $186,000.00 60 mil reinforced epdm, foil faced ISO, aluminum flashings, garden roof, this roof was speced out good. Project manager wanted Value engineering. 60 mil Unreinforced, Steel flashings, regular ISO, Planter boxes. I even dropped some off my profit maragin. All of which i recomended no sense in having 60 mil reinforced totally adhered. why aluminum flashings, whats up with foil faced ISO? both sides for that matter. I told him he did not need it. I dropped the garden roof to planter boxes.
 

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being the roof was fully speced .i still do not see how this guy was able to charge extra for pipe boots.was this left out of specs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The mechanical was design/Build this is why i met with plumber and got a copy the drawings he had designed. The other guy must not have included anything in his contract about pipe boots. The project manager overlooked this not being in his contract.
 

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minnesotaroofin said:
The mechanical was design/Build this is why i met with plumber and got a copy the drawings he had designed. The other guy must not have included anything in his contract about pipe boots. The project manager overlooked this not being in his contract.

When bidding, always check the listing of related sections in the spec book. If there is a reference to another trade to coordinate with, then you are usually on the hook to perform that related work.

As for spec raping, if the designer/architect does'nt have their act together, then tough. Bidding to spec is the name of the game. The construction firm that I am now employed targets this type of work, and I've seen them bid at cost knowing they will reap the harvest in extras and change orders. Its smart bidding.

Several years ago, I bid the reroof of a local school. The bid was for labour only, as the school was supplying the materials on a GAF warranty. The spec was terrible. The roof had three layers on it, but did not mention tear off. There was no spec for underlayment. There wasn't jack squat about anything, but the usual bonding and PW requirements. So, I bid to roof it. Of course, I was awarded the bid and signed the contract with the district. When they called to schedule the roof when school got out, I asked them when the tear off company was going to start. ?????? To make a long story short, I got away with charging them for the demo, the felt, and loading their shingles, all of which was not in the spec, and, was included in some of the other bidders scope of work. When I got my ass reamed at the school board meeting, I just played it dumb and told them to learn how to write specs because I cant read the minds of my competitors.

It's the wave of the future.


Best regards,

DE
 

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Discussion Starter #12
well i see now. i know how to aproach next time. I will bid to there spec anything not spec'ed out is their responsibility. i will tell them this up front. One more thing i learned is i will try to be their last bid. Thanks for the Input.
 

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minnesotaroofin said:
not spec'ed out is their responsibility. i will tell them this up front.

I would'nt even go that far. If you miss something in a bid, then tough titties. We've all done it, and did anyone ever feel sorry for us or offer to share the wealth? I certainly can't remember. A good architect will ask questions from a specialty contractor before he puts it to spec. If he missed it, then tough titties for him. The key to the whole thing is being gentle with the architect, or he will make life miserable on your project with a magnifying glass.

Been there, done that, been humbled.


Best regards,

DE
 

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Ten years ago I bid on a comm steam boiler replacement in a nursing home, never got the job but I do have a maintance contract with them for plumbing only.

Funny thing is the bid I gave them was for an entire system, including demo and removal of the old boilers.

The low baller just installed a new boiler in the same room as the old boilers, and left them behind. They never asked if the price included for the removal.

His price was just 2500.00 cheaper than mine, and still today they have a mess,

BJD
 

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I don't see it as a problem or a game. If you are asked to bid off a defined spec then bid it as asked and submit the change orders. That is what you were asked to do and it doesn't make sense to bid the job differently unless you are just looking for practice filling out the paperwork. The only time to submit the bid differently is when you are asked to look at a job and you create the specs that you end up basing your bid on. Seems to me they are two completely different and defined methods and trying to mix them means you are wasting your time and really should be spending your time pursuing the type of work you really want anyways.
 

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Mike the reason I say it's playing a game is because you, as a bidder, are ignoring obvious mistakes. I don't believe that's ethical. I believe I am a professional and I should do things the right way and bring those mistakes to the attention of my customer or potential customer.

I think it is unethical to bid to a defined spec, which is flawed, then be awarded the contract and tell the customer "Ah hah! Now you are screwed. You are locked into doing business with me and this existing spec isn't up to code and I am going to charge you double what any one else would have to do it the right way, and there is nothing you can do about it! Muahahaha!" After all that's the attitude of some of these guys.

I almost always change the spec when I bid. In most cases the spec as defined by the architect or designer isn't up to my standard... and the last thing I want to do is get stuck installing something I am not confident will last. That's my name getting the bad reputation.

When I do change the spec I not only write out my new spec, I also make a note explaining the differences between the original spec and my improved spec and why I think mine is better. Like you said it's alot of paperwork and mostly a waste of my time which is one more reason I don't do much new construction.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Grumpy I agree It seems unethithical to ignore the obvious. Another thing i would be stressed every day of the job thinking about the extra charges i know i will have to charge. I mainly do residential work so my selling technique is to find the particulars on a roof that can potentially be a problem. Also my sales pitch is for a complete roofing system. Everything is itemized on my bids. i write change orders quite often but the homeowner knows there are going to be extras involved. I give them a per foot charge and tell them the maximum number of feet that may need to be replaced so this is the High And low.
I believe this is the reason this contractor loved my presentation. I put the same time into it as i would a residental job. Now i know better. I will tell them up front i will submit bid according to your specs. Then i am going to bill you for anything you guys missed on your specs. Maybee next time i will ask do you guys always go with the lowest bid then pay for change orders or would you like to have me bid your project and know the bottom line up front. Maybee i should stay away from it.
 
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