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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ive had this happen several times over the years

a builder asks me to bid the plumbing on project after project....and never gives me any.....yet he just keeps sending projects to bid...over and over....typically i cut them off after 4 or 5...(all depends on how much time is invested)

i had one today that im up to 10 bids.....i won ONE 6 months ago....but havent got a 2nd one since....they just sent me a new home to bid and i turned them down....ive probably got $1,000 worth of my time bidding for them...ive visited jobsites for 66% of them.....i figure they are using me ...they tell the customer they will get 3 bids for each trade....they are either never intending to use me or my prices are always too high....either way they are wasting my precious time....i wrote a blunt letter to them asking why they are giving me projects when i never win?

as a sub. how many projects do you bid before you say no more?
 

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3 strikes is usually my magic number. Not always, but by then I can usually tell if I'm getting price shopped or used for my numbers...:rolleyes:
 

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Just make sure that the jobs are indeed happening and they are not getting bids in order to quote jobs and then not getting the jobs themselves.

I have had to get a few quotes lately from my local glass company for shower doors and some cabinet shelves. Thus far those jobs haven't went through. In that situation there isn't much I can do about asking for quotes repeatedly. Sound like your situation is different though.
 

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I avoid GCs so it is one at the most. Very rare for me to do a site visit. If I do get a project with a GC I would bid another but if I didn't get that one I would figure price is more important than loyalty, so maybe one more at the most.

I worked for a GC several years ago and it was the majority of my business. I knew having one large client was a mistake so I expanded the residential service. About the same time someone came on the project and "won" a bid. I saw the guy in the big box store later and he said he lost money on the project and would have to raise the price.

Not long after, the GC asked for a new bid. I let it go. I'm big on loyalty. Maybe it seemed stupid at the time but the economy took a turn for the worse and the bank ended up owning that project. Usually subs get screwed when a project goes bankrupt so I may have been the lucky one. I've worked for 3 GCs over the years that went bankrupt and none of them owed me anything.
 

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It depends.

If it is a GC that I have already worked for, I will play it bid by bid. People go through slumps sometimes and work doesnt come in. If they did the job, but used someone else, that is different. For a new GC, I would probably say only 2 or 3. I got better things to do.
 

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huggytree said:
i figure they are using me ...they tell the customer they will get 3 bids for each trade
If I found out that's what he was doing then I'd tell him there would be a charge for my next bid, assuming I was giving him free bids before. If he's going to pay me a fair price for my bid then I'll give him as many bids as he wants. Once I gave a guy a free bid for doing some repairs on a mobile home, he never gave me the job and sent me another email two years later to give him a bid on another one. He was flipping them and getting multiple bids on each one. I told him there would be a $50 charge to come out and give him a price, never heard from him again. I'll fall for it just once, not a second time, definitely not five or six times. But there have been times when I've gotten free bids from subs and never used them because I didn't get the job myself, if that's what happened I'll usually follow up and tell them that though.

You make the call, it's important to protect your time whichever way you want to look at it
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i got 2 phone calls from one of the expediters....telling me how he wants to work with me still...no real explanation of why i havent won any bids....he sent me a small kitchen plan and i DID bid on it...i spend 5 mins...also sent him my pricing lists, so he can see how i bid out jobs.....i DID NOT bid on the new home they sent me.....it would take 1-2 hours and its not worth it to me...

the kitchen will be the last bid i do for them....

i will see the owner at my next builder association meeting...i may get in his face about this issue....its not a legit way to operate a business....i know they have work....i drive past their projects.......if they are losing all the jobs im bidding on then it means they suck at screening customers....which is another reason to dump them...

i told them id have to add $1,000 onto every job to cover my bidding time for the 10 jobs i didnt get....$1,000 was about the profit i made on the only job ive done for them..
 

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If the GC doesn't get the job it doesn't count, but if the GC is getting your price and giving the job to someone else I'd tell him to fvck right off in a real hurry.
 

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I get this from gc's and developers alike. I've started to turn down bidding some of them. You can tell after a few when there is no point. I can pretty easily figure who is getting the work and then you can figure out what the customer is up to. Most of the time it's low man wins, once I know this I can figure out who not to bid the work to. They will still send or ask you to bid, doesn't cost them anything.

On occasion if I have the time and think the job is worth it I'll throw a number at something. It's part of the game especially in commercial work, sometimes you have to play to win. But you do get to a point that it's not worth the time. I've got a few that I won't bid for anymore waste of time, I know they bid to either one of the cheapest guys around or a huge company that make there own asphalt and I can't compete.

If you find someone you think would be good to work for though it could be worth the time, repeat business with a good company that pays well and are looking for quality and someone they won't have to babysit can pay off.
 

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it sucks finding out someone is better than you doing a work and can make more money than you bidding lower,
As to tho OP, I'd bid them all, some of my best jobs came from repeat bidding,
And writing down a quote really doesn't take all that time when you know what your doing,
It should be elementary
 

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If the GC doesn't get the job it doesn't count, but if the GC is getting your price and giving the job to someone else I'd tell him to fvck right off in a real hurry.

Pretty much the way we do it. We don't work for a lot of GC's though. Usually deal directly with the client.
 

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If the GC doesn't get the job it doesn't count, but if the GC is getting your price and giving the job to someone else I'd tell him to fvck right off in a real hurry.
Wow, I give a copy of the bid that involves subs to 3 different companies of subs i trust, most of the time the lowest gets the job, but their schedule for when the job is to be completed is a major factor,

There are none of the hard feelings that I'm getting here,
I bid every job offered, and am not the slightest upset if I dont win them all.

Its part of the job, live with it.
 

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It is part of the job, but it depends heavily on the type of work you are looking for. If you want GC work you need to do a lot of bidding. If you can do the amount of business hand picking who you want to bid to then by all means do so. I don't envy the smaller one/two man shows that have to do the actual work and all the business side also. If you are doing a good bit of revenue the paperwork/office work could get to be a bit much. I'm lucky enough that my partner takes care of the field work and that leaves me to do most of the office/bidding. If we were to do too much more work I would have to have someone else full time in the office.
 

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Let me just say that we rarely( virtually never) work as subs- it's just not a good deal for us.........

however- I will look at ONE job for just about anyone- homeowner or contractor.

If they don't hire us for that job----- don't bother calling us again, because I won't be interested in wasting my time.

Stephen
 

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I shoot to to win(low bid) my share, Four bidders, one in four, seven bidders, 1/7,--if you're getting the other subs bid # and matching names, isn't that info almost worth the effort? Don't service GCs that want to Mushroom you on compeditor's bids.

I charge all my bidding time against the jobs I win... I aim for ~one percent of the gross for estimating costs per bid, thus if I'm bidding against six others, 7% is my estimating costs on the job I won...

I never reveal anything more than Labor and material, and will have different # for differing levels of different GC skills and integrity.

Bill your bid labor as Division Zero or one item on your schedule of values, due on signing, along with other client required, but out of your division work products(submittals, shop drawings, bonds, & etc..) or expenses up front to ease the pain/cash flow.

One should consider what if your go to GC dies, retires, or goes Bankrupt, will you have relationships with other profitable GCs?
@ 7 % of my gross, I try to spend about 2.5to 3.0 hrs a week year around bidding work. More of course during slow times.
 

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I think it depends on the trade. I have unit pricing for residential structured wiring so doing a bid for that type of work takes a very short period of time. But when it comes to more custom work like home theater and AV systems where I have to pick out equipment, determine locations, etc. I would expect at least that the GC has the common courtesy to tell me "NO" rather than to ignore me after they selected the one that they wanted. They don't owe me an explanation as to why I didn't get it but that goes a very long way with me.

I also continue to bid on GC jobs that lead to other work. e.g. if they say, "I am not going to award you with the project, however, can you do "XYZ" for us instead?

And I'll do unlimited bidding for those GC's who tell me what they are up to. Some are shopping, some are competitors doing comparables, and I have one that keeps my info in case he has to fire the sub that's currently working with him.
 

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....telling me how he wants to work with me still...no real explanation of why i havent won any bids....
Can't tell you why ? Not a good way to build a working relationship. Blowing sunshine causes sun burn where the sun don't shine.

They need to give a little effort/info also.

No bids until you know the why, period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
it sucks finding out someone is better than you doing a work and can make more money than you bidding lower,
As to tho OP, I'd bid them all, some of my best jobs came from repeat bidding,
And writing down a quote really doesn't take all that time when you know what your doing,
It should be elementary
this builder wants me to show up at jobsites for the bids

so its not an easy 5 minute bid...+ all his projects are difficult

the latest one is a new house...it takes me 1 hour or so to bid a house...its a custom house w/ some special features....

these projects arent simple bath gut and redo's...they are additions and large renovations on houses from the 1920-1940's....they are complex projects
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Can't tell you why ? Not a good way to build a working relationship. Blowing sunshine causes sun burn where the sun don't shine.

They need to give a little effort/info also.

No bids until you know the why, period.
im talking with 1 expediter....not the owner, not the other expeditor

ive done bids for all 3 of them.....the owner makes the final decision and he decided not to call me on it....guess he doesnt care
 
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